Birthday Parties -
- Throw a Blowout Birthday Party
Party Resource Guide
Presented by Event & Wedding Planners
Throw a Blowout
Birthday Party without Blowing the Budget
(ARA) - Americans spend more than $10
billion each year on birthday gifts alone according to Hallmark. That
doesn't include the costs for birthday parties. Billions more are spent
on parties, especially those for children.
From inviting the entire kindergarten class for pizza and a petting zoo
in the back yard, to extravagant Sweet 16 parties with limos and belly
dancers, parents feel pressure to give their children the best birthday
party imaginable, every year. However, parents don't have to blow their
budget on parties or gifts to create a meaningful and fun birthday
experience for their kids.
"Birthdays provide a time for families and friends to come together and
celebrate an important time in each other's lives," said Sam Goller,
author of "Yes, You Can… Afford to Raise a Family." "But if you are not
careful, your generosity during these occasions can also cause you to
overextend your budget, making a joyous time stressful."
However, there are ways for parents to avoid the financial and emotional
traps birthday parties bring. Stowers Innovations, Inc., publisher of
the "Yes, You Can..." series of books, suggests the following 10 tips to
increase the meaning and decrease the cost of birthday gift-giving and
1. Set a pre-determined budget. Determine a specific budget in advance
for gifts and parties to avoid a financial crunch each year. Share this
budget with your children to avoid unrealistic expectations.
2. Limit the number of guests. Keep parties manageable by limiting the
number of guests your child is allowed to invite. A good rule of thumb
is one guest for every year. So a 5-year-old could invite five friends.
Children cannot connect with very many people at one time and often
connect most with family. By limiting the number of guests, you create
an environment in which your child can form more meaningful connections.
3. Involve your child in the planning process. Give your child a major
role in organizing the party. Talk about what is important about this
party and how the money budgeted for the celebration will be used. Help
them pick out games, food and decorations. Sit down with them to write
party invitations. Years from now, when your child remembers his or her
birthday, they'll remember the experience, not just the party.
4. Team up. Share the cost of birthday parties by joining with other
parents whose children have a similar birth date. This allows children
to have parties that feel extravagant without straining your budget. If
teaming up isn't an option, consider throwing a big birthday party every
other year for your child.
5. Keep it simple. Plan a party around a simple and inexpensive activity
your child and their friends enjoy, such as baking and decorating
cookies, hosting a talent show or playing dress-up. If your child is
interested in dancing, host a dance party and allow your child to create
a dance for everyone to learn. Or create a play based on their special
interests and have party guests put on a show.
6. Build connections. Create activities that build connections and allow
enough time for the activity to be meaningful. Young children have
shorter attention spans and an hour and a half party would allow them
enough time for a meaningful experience without losing interest. Older
children, however, may find a longer activity more meaningful. Consider
allowing your older teen to invite a friend on a weekend family trip, or
to a concert or theme park.
7. Celebrate family birthday traditions. Invite children to take part in
a family birthday tradition. Serve breakfast in bed or allow children to
choose the dinner menu on their birthday. Bake special treats the child
can share with the class at school. There are many ways to build
traditions, which make the day extra special.
8. Consider alternatives to traditional birthday gifts. Give your child
a non-material gift, such as an experience or new privilege. Take the
day off from work to go to a museum together or recognize the importance
of getting older by extending a curfew or allowing young children to
stay up later.
9. Teach the art of giving. Incorporate giving into your child's
birthday celebration. Instead of bringing gifts to the party, ask guests
to bring something that can be donated-books, money, new toys or
clothing-to a charity your child chooses. Send thank you notes to guests
giving them specifics on the total contribution to the charity.
10. Make gift-giving and receiving more meaningful. Set aside enough
time during the party to allow the gift exchange to be a special
experience. Let each child explain why he or she chose their gift and
allow time for the recipient to open it. Many parents set up chairs for
the gift-giver and recipient, so they can sit next to each other while
the present is being opened.
"Including your child in all aspects of the birthday experience, from
planning to creating a scrapbook after the event, helps create a party
both you and your child will remember for a lifetime," said Sheelagh
Manheim, Ph.D., co-author of "Yes, You Can... Find More Meaning in Your
Life." "A great party is not about the money spent, but about the
connections formed and the memories made."
The books "Yes, You Can... Afford to Raise a Family" and "Yes, You
Can... Find More Meaning in Your Life" are available by calling (800)
234-3445 or online at www.stowersinnovations.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content