Life Motherhood On a Budget

How to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday Without Throwing a Party

If you’ve followed me since the way way back, or you know me in real life, then you know that I LOVED throwing birthday parties for my littles. I liked the themes and having everyone over to make them feel special. It wasn’t always a perfect execution – but I’m a Pinterest Party Mom at heart. Since moving to Colorado though, we’re miles and miles away from both of our families; and what used to be a big group of friends with kids of the same age, is now a much smaller group here in Denver. I still really want my children to know that their birthdays are special so for these past two birthday seasons I’ve tried really hard to celebrate my children’s birthdays without throwing a party.

It’s not particularly easy in today’s world. My kids are finally to an age where they’re pretty socially aware, and they notice when their friends get to have parties and they do not. But I still think it’s important to make them feel special and to teach them that a big to-do of a party isn’t the only way to celebrate a special occasion.

How to Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing a Party

I’ve put forth considerable effort when it comes to getting them pumped for their birthdays. We’ve still found ways to make them memorable (I hope.) Also, I won’t lie… I really don’t miss the party clean up or the 8 million new toys that I have to find a place for. You know exactly what I mean. 😉

So here are some of the ways that I have been celebrating my children’s birthdays without throwing them birthday parties, and you can too.

How to Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing a Party

Bring Cupcakes to Their Classroom

Yes, that’s still exciting. I remember that I loved doing this as a kid. Although, you’re not allowed to bake them yourself anymore (eye roll), but it’s still a special occasion for your little when mom shows up at school. Embrace this season of life while it lasts. I’m sure we’ll reach a time when my presence isn’t the highlight of their entire day. I’m dreading it…but I’m sure we’ll get there. 

Besides, half the excitement when it comes to throwing a party is letting all of their peers know that it’s their special day. Check that off the list with classroom cupcakes.

Bring extras for the teachers. 😉

How to Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing a Party

Bake Their Cake Together

While we’re on the topic of birthday sweets; my kids get hella excited about baking pretty much anything. (Perks of life before your weight is even a thought.) But if I let them choose what flavor we’re making, and let them crack the eggs, and turn on the mixer, and choose the food coloring for the frosting (all without losing my cool once) just because it’s their birthday!!! They about damn near lose their minds.

My children, would rather bake a cake than buy one. They just really like baking. But they also just really enjoy doing a fun activity with me. And I hope it’s something that will make their birthday memories special. If you’re kids don’t like baking so much, I’m sure you could find a comparable activity, you know your babes best.

How to Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing a Party

How to Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing a Party

Talk Up the Big Day

I spend a lot of time leading up to their birthday contributing to the anticipation. Letting them know that I’m excited too, and that growing, learning, and “getting bigger” is totally worth being pumped about. Their birthday is what’s exciting…not just a party.

Still Surprise Them with a Present

You save lots of money not throwing a party!! haha! Use at least some of those savings to buy them something they’ve really been wanting. And honestly, I’d rather them have one toy they’ve had their eye on for a while than 15 nicknack type toys that I’ll be stepping on for months to come.

Do Something/Go Somewhere Fun Together

I’m all about trying to teach my kids that experiences are more valuable than objects. We live in a society of consumerism so it’s not always easy. I have to consciously fight to remind myself of this sometimes too. Somehow we’ve taught children that their birthdays are exciting because it’s a day for everyone to bring them gifts. And gifts are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But they’re not why birthdays are special. 

Last year, it was as simple as a family night at Chuck E Cheese and honestly they still talk about it.

How to Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Without Throwing a Party

I promise this photo is relevant. All three of my kid’s birthdays fall around Halloween. 😉

Throwing a party to celebrate your child’d birthday just isn’t always feasible for everyone. Whether you moved away from your family, you’re on a tight budget (kids parties are so damn expensive I always said I could have purchased the gifts myself for the price of the party,) or hell, you just don’t feel like it… there are other ways to make your child feel celebrated on their special day.

Have you celebrated you child’s birthday without throwing a party? Let a momma know she’s not alone!


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  • I should totally share this with my sister, she just had a baby and her 1st birthday is coming up!

  • These are such great ideas! We’ve only thrown a party for my kids on their first birthday. The succeeding years, we only went on a family trip and we plan to keep it that way except for their 7th birthday which is a milestone birthday for us Filipinos!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  • My brothers and I grew up celebrating with only a few “big” birthday parties—on our 1st, 7th, 13th, 18th (mine), and 21st (theirs). All other birthday celebrations simply involved having dinner with family or traveling locally, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • It’s hard to throw birthday parties every year for every child. These are such great tips. Thank you for sharing!

  • Sella

    it need extra idea to throwing party each year actually, do the simple things like you said it’s more cool 🙂

  • Christina

    I can’t imagine throwing a party every single year! These tips are so great because they’re such sweet ways to make your child feel special on their birthday and I think that’s the most important part.

  • Justine Y

    Yes, we don’t throw our children a “party” (with friends) every year but we always make a big deal out of their special day!

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