If you have school-aged children, you’ve probably seen your fair share of birthday party invitations coming home in their backpacks. I’m always happy to see an invitation because it means that someone considers my child their friend, and they want them to be at their party to celebrate their special day. I also like seeing invitations because my boys get so excited when they get to go to a birthday party for one of their friends! They love them!
So naturally, kids associate birthdays with birthday parties and presents. And while I have no issues at all picking out a gift for their friend and sending them happily on their way to a birthday party…it’s just never been something we’ve done for our two boys. It’s simply not our thing. I mean, we had family birthday parties for them when they were really young, but neither of our boys have ever had a birthday party where they invite a bunch of their friends from school. It’s not that they haven’t asked (repeatedly), it’s just not something I wanted to start. Because once you start…it’s hard to stop.
To me, the most important thing about birthdays is to make them feel special. It’s THEIR day. So instead of a big party with presents and cake, we’ve always tried our best to make them feel REALLY special on their birthday in other ways.
If you’re looking for different ways to celebrate birthdays in your house, I’ve put together a list of great ideas I’m sure any kid (or adult for that matter!) would love.
Dinner Out - Our birthday tradition every year is going out for dinner as a family. As soon as they were old enough, we told them they get to pick which restaurant they want to go to for their birthday dinner, and afterwards we’ll go play a round of mini-golf and get some ice cream. (Their birthdays are in September and June, so nice weather!)
Experiences – Wrap up something you can all do TOGETHER instead of a toy. We surprised our youngest with a trip to LegoLand one year, and we’ve surprised our oldest with a Jays game as well. If you have little ladies who love to be pampered, surprise them with a birthday mani-pedi!
Decorating Their Room – I have yet to do this one, but it sounds AWESOME! While your child sleeps, decorate their room or doorway with balloons, streamers, or confetti so when they wake up on their birthday – they’re super surprised! What a great way to wake up on your birthday!
Honking Fun – I saw a van driving around town one day that said “Olivia turns 6 today! Honk for Olivia!”. A whole bunch of cars started honking around us and I’m sure little Olivia was just beaming inside that van. It’s an added way to make your child feels super special on their birthday.
Scavenger Hunt – Hide their birthday present somewhere in the house and make them hunt for it. If you’re creative enough, write up a bunch of clues on post-it notes that send them all over the house before eventually leading them to their gift.
As you can see, there are so many ways to make your child feel special on their birthday without having a big party. Honestly, just giving them the gift of your time and full attention is probably worth more than any present.