what do you do for birthdays?

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pico83's picture
Joined: 09/06/06
Posts: 3014
what do you do for birthdays?

DS3's 1st birthday is rapidly approaching and I'm stumped. We have everything. I don't really want to add to our clutter of toys. He definitely doesn't need clothes. We can always get more books, but we already have almost every well-known children's book ever published (and a few more besides). I don't want to skip gifts because I feel like that would be cheating him (even though he probably wouldn't care much).
Any advice?

MrsSchepp's picture
Joined: 12/30/06
Posts: 496

We try to make birthdays really special! For breakfast I will do pancakes in the shape of their initials. Then the birthday kiddo gets to pick out what we have for dinner and I make a special cake. Also, the birthday kiddo gets to go and do something with mom and dad by themselves. We do 1 small gift and that's it. It's more about the traditions than anything else for us Smile

-Asha-'s picture
Joined: 02/08/12
Posts: 173

We have traditions as well. The birthday kiddo gets to go on any errand with mom or dad, they don't have to do chores, mom goes out with the Bday kid on a date and then dad goes out during the two weeks closest to their Bday. I make a Bday breakfast where the bday child gets a waffle with whipped cream and a candle , usually we have a party with their friends or a family party for the little kids.

Toys that I like are art sets and such so when they are used up, they can be thrown away. A one year old, though usually doesn't receive much stuff, they won't remember the party anyway. I would just make a cake and have a fun time with balloons and such, I wouldn't go over the top at all!

lby_mommyof3's picture
Joined: 11/12/07
Posts: 644

I had a hard time this year with our baby as well. We usually do special birthday dinner and whatever cake the BD child wants. I just picked a cake that I wanted to make this year. We have family over and that is their special night. For gifts this year I ended up doing a few new outfits (she is off-season with our last DD and the clothes from previous DDs are getting worn out). We did one toy--it was the Leapfrog picnic basket because it was something she could play with and would last for a long time.
Heidi--I love that your birthdays are more about the traditions--such great ideas!

Oh, for the others, we do a family party for each birthday and they get a big "friend" party when they turn 5, 8, 12...that's as far as I've gotten. And when it is an off year, just a couple friends to come play.

Joined: 07/20/08
Posts: 40

Like everyone else, we have our traditions that we've formed. We have little sign on the fridge all day where the daily schedule usually is that says something like "Isaac is 1!" or "Happy Birthday 3rd Birthday Ethan!", and then the birthday kid gets their favorite foods for dinner, and we have cousins over even on a school night. Cake and ice cream are a must, gotta have that frosting face photo. I do one nice present for their first birthday and then that's it. They won't remember, and like you said we have everything already anyway.

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

We basically get our kids one present. For the older kids, we get something they want and have been asking for. For the younger ones (even a 1-year-old), we take them out to the toy store and let them pick something they want, then when their birthday comes around, we wrap it up and give it to them. We make a cake or buy a cake or pie (depending what they like) and do a small family party. The older kids (5 and up) have friends over, but the younger kids it's just the family. The birthday kid gets to decide what to eat for their birthday, whether it's making something special at home or going out to a favorite restaurant. We also buy Little Debbie snack cakes on their birthday for them to take and share at school and/or daycare.

brennahsmom's picture
Joined: 08/26/06
Posts: 20

We, as many others also have standing traditions...For our older ones, because there are so many, we let them choose a party or a present...most of them choose parties. If they choose a gift, it's within reason-no more than about $100. I also let them choose what they want for dinner and I cook that on their special day and also make a cake for them. For their party it's a store bought cake and again, food of their choice. When all of ours turned ONE we have rather large parties, as we feel that this is a major celebration! People are going to buy them gifts, even if you ask them not to. If they ask us what to get them (we have way too many toys as well) I ask for PJ's (I feel like you can never have too many-you can always exchange for a larger size too) If they receive an abundance of toys, I put some away in the top of the closet and will pull them out at a later date. For our toddlers many times we just have a "Family " party and take all of them to Chuck E Cheese. They love it! Even the bigger kids! Hope that helps!

mandi04's picture
Joined: 08/10/03
Posts: 2272

We probably do way too much for birthdays. First birthdays for my girls were big events, and we had a big event planned for DS1 but alas a blizzard had bigger plans WinkLol We'll probably not go so big for DS2, his birthday is only a month after DD1's and it falls right around first week of school which is a hectic time anyways. Presents I usually just do things we need anyways, at least before they know what they are getting. Like DS2 got a convertible car seat for Christmas, since his birthday falls right at the end of summer we'll probably do fall/winter clothes for birthday presents and maybe one small, meaningful gift.
Presents for the older kids have varied, this past year it just so happened all the kids needed new bikes so we did those, I got DS1's on sale on Black Friday for $25, and the girls bikes were only $50-ish each.
I was just talking to dh about how I want to start the tradition my parents, which was they let us pick a restaurant to go out to eat the night of our birthdays. I might see how the girls feel about doing that rather than a big party?

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

We go out to dinner for someone’s birthday as a family at the restraint of their choice. This usually happens 3x a year, because DD and DS are too small for that – DD will be 3. DSS will be 13 and has an attitude of expectation for everything, so I feel a little less generous with him. He is all about “things” and not so much about “experiences”, so we try to do something special, and he gets a gift or two.

DD’s birthday is much more fun. Last year we combined DD and DS’s birthdays (10 days apart) and went out to their uncle’s “farm” and had a combined birthday party with cousins and aunt and uncle, and an Easter egg hunt. That ended up being about 10 people which is a fine size, and cake was tons of fun, especially since it was DD’s first big cake (she was 2). Personally, I much prefered this special event to tons of gifts.

We have more toys that anyone needs, so I try to avoid that, but maybe some clothing items that she would need anyway, or a really nice item that promotes an activity that the child does/would enjoy. Last year we got DS a week at a climbing summer camp. This year I was also thinking of getting some water-colour pencils, but maybe I’ll wait for another year or two.

gardenbug's picture
Joined: 03/12/07
Posts: 2025

Nana has already bought THINGS for the little ones and is still mystified as to what to do for the 13 year old. He knows I love to give books as gifts, so I may do that. (He no longer appreciates knit things.) I also want to give something in Haiti to the school in his name as his birthday will be on arbor day... I won't know what until I get there. I'd love to be there to play with the toys along with Ivy and Leo, but it just doesn't seem to work this year... Maybe in September?

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

We do more than we probably should because birthdays were so little in my house. We never ever had friend parties (maybe 1-2 ever, maybe). And it was just the immediate family. Every birthday is a celebration. That said, we don't go over the top either. Each child gets 3 gifts, same as they do for Christmas. They can be anything, no set dollar amount and I usually find things on clearance through out the year. 1 is a hard year to find things, and my boys birthday is 3 days after Christmas, so toy overload. Maybe a rocking chair, something that will last a long time? I can't even seem to remember what we go them when they were 1, so its not only them that will not remember. lol. We do a friend birthday party every other year, starting at age 4. And we always have a family party with grandparents, cousins, etc.

oh and the birthday child gets to pick what we eat for dinner. We haven't gone out to a restaurant for bday dinner yet, just something at home, thankfully usually simple, sloppy joes or chicken nuggets. Smile

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

"gardenbug" wrote:

Nana has already bought THINGS for the little ones and is still mystified as to what to do for the 13 year old. He knows I love to give books as gifts, so I may do that. (He no longer appreciates knit things.) I also want to give something in Haiti to the school in his name as his birthday will be on arbor day... I won't know what until I get there. I'd love to be there to play with the toys along with Ivy and Leo, but it just doesn't seem to work this year... Maybe in September?

An iTunes gift card is a great gift for a 13 year old. Or, since you like the book idea, maybe a Barnes and Noble gift card? I don't know what he likes to read, but a lot of the young teens I know would love a Far Side comic strip collection or Fox Trot, though that's probably not the kind of book you're thinking of.

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

"rachelrazzle" wrote:

oh and the birthday child gets to pick what we eat for dinner. We haven't gone out to a restaurant for bday dinner yet, just something at home, thankfully usually simple, sloppy joes or chicken nuggets. Smile

I kinda wish I had your family. Patrick is already planning his birthday dinner. He wants to go to a restaurant where he can get salmon and crab legs.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

Lately we're in the same boat with toys and such for all of the kids, so I've just been getting them two or three things that they really want and then letting them pick somewhere to go out to dinner as a family, or go bowling, to Chuck-E-Cheese, to a movie, or something else fun that THEY want to do!

Joined: 01/25/02
Posts: 2023

Wow Deb, Patrick has some expensive tastes! lol. Smile

Joined: 12/01/05
Posts: 1000

"rachelrazzle" wrote:

Wow Deb, Patrick has some expensive tastes! lol. Smile

I know. The funny thing is he doesn't like hot dogs, mac n cheese, anything with American or cheddar cheese on it, or chicken nuggets. He can barely tolerate a hamburger or pizza. He loves hot wings, shrimp (not fried), crab legs, lobster, baked salmon, bean burritos and anything with jalapenos.