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Best Bets for Birthday Bashes That Don't Break the Bank

It seems like kids’ birthday parties are getting out of hand these days, with parents trying to top each other for some non-existent ‘Most Elaborate Party’ award! It can be difficult – if not impossible – to keep up with the intricate and often highly-structured parties that are thrown by our child’s friends and classmates. Whether your child is in school, is home schooled or is not yet even in preschool, the politics of birthday parties affect everyone. Save your sanity by considering some of the options and tips below.

1. Realize that you don’t have to invite the whole world to a birthday gathering. One of my favorite parties growing up consisted of about five friends and an ice cream parlor. Every few years, you could save up for something special and a little more costly, like a moonwalk in the backyard or taking five friends to a theme park. If you’re having the party in your spacious backyard, by all means invite your child’s entire class. But…

2. … if you have a small home or apartment, you might invite guests to a park shelter that you reserve in advance. Bonus: You don’t have to clean your home before or after the party!

3. Of course some of the kids in your child’s class may get their feelings hurt if they aren’t invited, but we all have to get used to rejection sometime, right? The unspoken rule in most classrooms is that kids just not talk about upcoming birthday parties so those who were not invited won’t get their feelings hurt. Don’t make your child feel like they have to invite kids to their party just because your child attended their party. Either set a limit on the number of invitees, or have your child really think about who their friends are and who they want at their party.

4. When my son turned eight this year, we let him have three friends sleep over the night before his at- home birthday party. We had invited close family members and a handful more of his friends to the party. This way, he got to play with his pals while his grandparents got to watch him open gifts and have a blast. And if you have tweens, Jennifer Wood, mom of two, thinks pizza and a movie at home, followed by a sleepover, is a great bet.

5. Tresa Cope, mom of three, suggests baking cupcakes yourself and letting the guests decorate their own with colored frostings, sprinkles, gumdrops and other candies.

6. To kill some time and get some kid energy out on the cheap, consider a piñata. Otherwise, kids don’t need every minute of their day scheduled for them… running wild is what they are best at, especially at a birthday party!

7. If you’re tired of your kid receiving so many gifts that you can’t even find a place to put them all, Melissa Hile, mom of one, says her son sometimes asks guests to bring canned goods for the local food bank instead of gifts. Or you could have every guest bring a book from home they don’t read much anymore, and do a book swap.

8. Take your child on a special Birthday Date and talk about the day they were born. Write a letter to your child every year letting them know how they’ve grown as a person and what you love about them.

Dear _, I’ll never forget the day you came into my life. You are so _ and _. I am always amazed at the way you _, and you are great at _.  Right now, your favorite friends are _, and your favorite food is _. Your hobbies are _. When you grow up, you want to be a _.I love you!

Kerrie ( throws five birthday parties a year at her own home. The kids and guests always have a good time!


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