Party or Pass? The way we celebrate birthdays in a family of 12.

We have chosen to celebrate what we consider “big” birthdays for only certain years in our family. Why you wonder? The obvious answer would be…”Oh, with so many kids, I can see why you wouldn’t plan parties for each child for every birthday…the expense, the time…”

But that is just not the case. Each of our children is celebrated and appreciated fully on their birthday and every day in between. We just have come to realize that some years fare better than others when it comes to extending invites and hosting parties.

So, like I said, we do the parties for “big” years, milestone years, we go all out, we invite the list of friends. We let the kids pick out the food and entertainment and we enjoy those times just like everyone else likes to do just less frequently and here is why;  It’s not just the expense or the time, it is simply that over the years we began to focus on enjoying the day rather than having parties just to have them. We started to look at the big picture. And we thought that certain years are just generally easier and more beneficial to celebrate with a big party than others. The rest of our birthdays are still always celebrated with cake and whatever that kid picks for dinner…so still not a bad deal.

Our “big” years for birthdays look something like this;

  • One. Baby’s first birthday! One whole year of growing and learning and being loved by all of those around you. So much happens in the first year- definitely a great time to host a party and reflect with loved ones!
  • Two would be similar to the first birthday again…so we decide to skip it, outside of immediate family.
  • Three. Baby probably has some friends, either through mom and dad, or maybe daycare. But a third birthday party helps parents socialize and get to know each other- PS parents, these are the people you will likely spend most of your parenting years with, laughing and struggling together as your kids grow up.
  • Four.  Similar to three – so we skip it.
  • Five. Kindergarten! Either your baby is starting soon or it’s already begun. Once school begins, parents realize that they feel a little more out of the loop. You still try to volunteer and help in class, etc. But most of your child’s day is spent in a separate world from yours. Five is a good age to meet other parent friends again AND BONUS! -activities for five year olds become more fun for everyone else too.
  • Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine parents spend LOTS of money on these years for parties that would be just as well spent at the playground. Just my opinion.
  • Ten. Oh the years pass by fast! All of sudden baby turns ten and now the party invites extend to kids with similar interests, not just class mates…. Dance class, Football teams, Boy Scouts…another good year to meet with other parents (some will stay, some will drop off) and you start to notice your child will gravitate to other kids with those similar interests… This is a fun year to enjoy those new things!
  • Eleven. Twelve. Can be awkward and moody- we pass. Cake and dinner plans sound much more appealing.
  • Thirteen. We host a slumber party. It’s no longer about the parents… it’s about your child’s friends. And a night with all of them will teach you all kinds of things you couldn’t imagine. 😉
  • Fourteen. Fifteen. Can still be awkward, a little less moody. Thirteenth party sleepover will hold us for a few years- at least!
  • Sixteen. The last of party plans made by mom and dad. Kid’s choice. So far the DJ and tons of fried food and renting a hall seem to be the key but who knows what the rest of the kids will come up with. We make sure that this is a big day! Because after 16 I think the kids will come up with fun all on their own and at least for the next few years their ideas of “fun” likely wont include us.

So there it is, birthday planning in our house. And why we do it the way we do- How do you celebrate?


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