Have a Happy Birthday (Without the Party): Budget-Friendly Birthday Ideas
The day your child was born is a day to celebrate and make him feel special. Birthday parties are fun, but they can be a lot of work, and the costs can quickly add up. If you decide to skip the birthday party, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate big. Here are some ideas to make sure your child’s birthday is special.
As the birthday approaches, build anticipation by talking about it and planning what the day will hold. You can create a special countdown by making a paper chain and tearing off one chain per day, or even just counting down the number of days on a chalkboard in your home. Explain that although there will not be a big birthday party this year, there will still be a lot of fun things planned.
Make the cake.
A great way to save money on a birthday celebration is to make the cake yourself. Choose flavors and colors or themes your child loves, and get siblings involved in the preparation. Kids typically don’t care about whether the cake is perfectly decorated; they are happy with a cake that is made just for them.
Create a balloon avalanche.
When your child goes to sleep the night before his birthday, decorate the house with balloons or birthday decor. Another idea is to try taping a disposable tablecloth to the outside of the door jam, then fill the space between with balloons. When your child opens the door to his room, he will be greeted with a balloon avalanche that is sure to put a big smile on his face.
Make it kid’s choice.
When you are planning the day, consider your child’s favorites. Plan the day’s meals around your child’s favorite foods. Choose things that you typically do not serve to make the day more special for him. If you will go on an outing, or if you will be dining out, let your child choose the location.
Document the day.
Create a list of questions to ask your child on his birthday, such as, “Who is your best friend?”, or list TV shows, songs, or foods, etc. Record the answers in a safe place and repeat each year. It’s fun to look back and see how your child has changed and matured over the years.
Tell their story.
Kids love to hear stories about the day they were born, the cute things they did as a baby, or how you prepared for their arrival. Spend part of the day telling your favorite stories about your child; they are sure to love it.
Have others reach out.
Ask friends and family to wish your child a happy birthday with calls, texts, or cards. Consider talking to family members via Skype or Facetime. This will help your child know that others are celebrating him even if you aren’t hosting a big birthday party this year.
As parents, we often feel like we have to spend a lot to make our child’s birthday special when this is truly not the case. With a little extra planning, your child’s day can be just as special as any expensive party.
More Ways to Celebrate
- Go to the movies.
- Visit an amusement park.
- Have dinner out at a favorite spot.
- Go bowling.
- Take a day trip to a neighboring town.
- Attend a sporting event.
- Be a tourist for the day in your hometown, visiting the zoo or other local attractions.
- Let your child pick a place he would like to visit. ■
10 Tips to Hosting a Charitable Birthday Party for Your Child
By Denise Morrison Yearian
Charity birthday parties are a fun way to encourage children to use their celebrations in a philanthropic way. Consider these tips if you're thinking of having a charitable party.
1. Proceed with Permission. Ask if your child would like to have a charitable party. Move ahead with party plans only if he is in total agreement.
2. Consider the Options. Ask guests to participate in the charitable giving, create a project to be donated, or opt out and make a personal contribution.
3. Choose a Charity. Talk with your child about the nonprofit he would like to work with. Find one that taps into his interests. Or, adopt a family with children the same age as your child.
4. Contact and Confirm. Contact the organization, and ask what type of donation is needed.
5. Invite and Inform. If you choose to have guests, include a note with the invitation explaining your effort.
6. Go the Extra Mile. Create a party theme with activities your child will enjoy doing. Focus on friendships and having fun.
7. Give a Few Gifts. Even if guests aren't bringing gifts, wrap a few items from your family, so your child has something to open.
8. Deliver the goods. Once the party is over, include your child in the final gift-giving transaction. Take his picture with the donated items, and have him go along to deliver them.
9. Offer Accolades. Give your child praise for sharing his birthday.
10. Live it Out. Set an example by integrating giving throughout the year. ■