Friday, April 23, 2010


My twin boys are about to celebrate another birthday. Number 4. It's hard to believe they are already 4 but at the same time, I'm glad to watch them become more and more independent.

Growing up, birthdays were a big deal in my family. It was a big reason to celebrate, the fact you had been born. I grew up loving birthdays and loving celebrating them.

I have a vague memory of my 3rd birthday party. I remember the 20+ kids from all over the neighborhood, and their parents all in the front yard of our tiny duplex. It was a celebration of my birth! We had music, food, cake, and even a giant pinata shaped like a rabbit.
I don't remember the details, but I have seen the pictures of me crying, holding on to my pinata as if it was a lifesaving device. My older sisters like to tell the story. Apparently I did not want to share my rabbit with any other kid. Well, pinatas are meant to be hit with a stick until they burst and the candy come out. Imagine being 3 years old and being told the kids in the neighborhood are about to murder your giant bunny.

The fact is we always celebrate birthdays in a big way. As I got older and money became scarce, mom always made sure we had at least a cake. I learned to appreciate the gesture of a birthday rather than the decorations, pinatas and gifts.

I'm now a mother trying to figure out the correct way to celebrate my kids' birthdays. Have you hosted a kid's party recently? You will spend a small fortune in a simple birthday party. I've read articles about parents spending up to $10 grand for a kid's party. Seriously? Are we teaching our kids that putting on a show is more important than having a good time, celebrating with friends and family?

It's a hard balance between being reasonable and wanting your child to be happy. Kids want to have a bigger and better party than the one "Joe" had, a more exciting party. Having a party at home, in your own backyard has become the exception, not the norm.

I'll admit I'm one of those parents who has parties away from home, mainly because I work outside the home, and hosting a party means cleaning the house before and after the party, and trying to keep kids out of the laundry room, my room, or the bathrooms.

I just wish there was a more affordable way to celebrate birthdays. Parties have become exclusive, most places will quote you a price for X number of kids, and you have to pay extra for each child over than number. Depending on the child's age, most kids have more than 8 friends, they want everyone in their class to be there and celebrate.

Affordable celebrations should be fun without a huge price tag, and should bring happiness to the child and to the parents without breaking the bank.

I'm getting ready to plan my twin's party at home. They are too young to go skating, and such; so for now I'll enjoy the savings of hosting the party. And the "joy" of cleaning the house.

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