We celebrate birthdays big time in our house! But most of the time it is in nontraditional ways. We make birthdays special without having a big party. And there's something sweet, intimate and special about doing it that way. We can get into this mindset of “if you're not having a big party then you didn't really celebrate” and that's just not true. You can totally make birthdays special without the big party! There's nothing against having parties, just keep it simple so that you enjoy it. It’s a big day. It's the celebration of the day you became a mom, either for the first time or the fifth time. It’s the celebration of a new life and it matters. We don’t need to perform or impress, we need to celebrate!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
How celebrating birthdays in simpler, nontraditional ways are just as special.
Ways to simplify parties so they are less stressful for everyone (especially you!)
What it means to have a no gifts birthday party.
The significance your child's birthday has on you as their mom.
Mentioned in this Episode:
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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey, beautiful! Today we're going to talk about how you can make birthdays special for your kids without the huge party.
This episode is coming out of questions that I get, like every other episode, but I also just recently had a birthday party for my son. We had gone a while without really doing a birthday party and it was nice; I enjoyed it for sure.
I also think there's something to be said about birthdays without the huge party. There's something sweet, intimate and special about it. I think we can get into this mindset of “if you're not having a big party then you didn't really celebrate” and that's just not true.
I really love birthdays. We celebrate them big time in our house, but a lot of the time it's in nontraditional ways. It might not look super big on the outside, but it's really special to us and to our family, whether we are having a big party or we're not.
I wanted to talk about some ways that we've made birthdays special without having a big party.
First of all, do something that your child really wants to do, or go somewhere that they really want to go. This can be something big like Disneyland, Legoland, the zoo, or whatever. A theme park you live around. It could be something as simple as going to the movies. Or going to their favorite park for the whole day and bringing a picnic lunch and cupcakes and just having a fun day. Kids remember those types of things.
Number two is to create simple traditions like waking up to balloons all over their bedroom floor, streamers hanging from their door, or birthday cake pancakes the morning of their birthday. Something like that.
By the way, we've done all three of those things and they're all super special. We switch between different things for different kids, but the most popular thing in our house is balloons and streamers when they wake up. They love it. It's super exciting. The door is closed the morning of their birthday and when they open it streamers are stuck to the wall above their door. It's like a streamer curtain. There are balloons in the hallway leading down the stairs and we're all there ready to wish them Happy Birthday in the morning. It's just super sweet. It's those little things that make kids feel really special.
Number three is to have some really nice focused family time. Maybe dinner out or dinner in where you make their favorite meal, get their favorite takeout, go to their favorite restaurant. Have a family game night, play their favorite video game all together. Let them teach you how to play. Play board games or watch a movie at home together. Bake a cake. Just hang out and have family time.
It can feel like you're not doing enough and that's just ridiculous. It doesn't have to feel like that. Birthdays can be so special if they're super simple. It doesn't have to be blown out of proportion.
Number four is to celebrate with just close family members. This is simplifying it for you in a way that it's like you're not hosting the big party and dealing with all the people. And I know it can get complicated. If I invite this person, then I have to invite this person, and that leads to this person – it starts feeling really out of control.
And sometimes for a child's birthday, you want to celebrate them. You want to love on them. But honestly, it can come at a really bad time. I've had birthdays come when I was having a miscarriage. When we were moving. When we found out some really difficult news about Brian's job. It was just a really hard time.
It's okay. It's not selfish for you to adjust and act accordingly to the season that you're in, where you're at in life right now. If you need to keep it to close family members, ask everyone to come over, order pizza and just hang out. Have a cake and some ice cream and sing to your kid for their birthday. Let it be a nice family night.
Number five is have the party. Just keep it simple. Let go of these Pinterest-perfect, super, super themed parties that are inconvenient and draining for everyone involved.
I had a birthday party for Leland’s first birthday. Leland's my second born. So, this was like six years ago, seven years ago. It was superhero-themed.
I was a totally different mom back then. I went crazy, way above and beyond. I built a cardboard city. I had cut out strips of comic books to make a banner - actually out of comic books - we decorated it like crazy. We went way outside of our budget and really financially hurt ourselves that month.
And I was a mess. I was a psycho, you guys. I was in such a bad mood. I was yelling the whole morning of the party. A couple of close friends come over to help me set up. I was on the verge of tears. I was snapping at everybody. I was just not myself. And that's what I remember about my son's first birthday party. It really wasn’t fun.
He doesn't even remember it, thankfully. It really sucked. It wasn't fun.
I don't know if you guys can relate to that story, but I never wanted to repeat that again. That was actually right before my minimalism story kind of started. So, I decided, “You know what? I think simple is better for everyone.” And so, I started to keep things simple.
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We just had Hudson's birthday party and it was great. It was super simple. He wanted a theme.
And on that note, while we're talking about this, we have been out of doing birthday parties for a while. We haven't had an actual big birthday party in a few years. It's been a really nice break. We were traveling. We had lived out of state for a little bit. We weren't really around friends and family. We took a nice break from the traditional birthday parties and this is how we came to have all these different ways to make birthdays special without parties. It was just a really nice break.
But this year Hudson just said, “You know, mom, I really want a party. Is it okay if I have a party?”
And I said, “Of course, what do you want to do?” He wanted to have a Ninjago-themed party. For those of you who don't know, Ninjago is a Lego thing. It’s a movie and a show. It's these little Ninja guys. The boys (Bella too) just really love it.
And so, he really wanted to have a Ninjago-themed birthday party and I said, “Sure.”
And it was actually really fun. We ended up doing a “no gifts” birthday party. I haven't done that since Hudson turned one. There's a blog post about that. I'll link to it if you want to read about how to do that the right way without seeming like a jerk. Why you would or wouldn't want to do it. Why we never really do it; we did it this one time and haven't done it in five years.
It was just really simple, really good and wholesome. He had a really great time. He knew about the “no gifts” thing and had just wanted one or two things. My mom got him one thing and I got him the other thing. It was really great.
We did do a themed party. I ordered a couple of themed decorations from Amazon ahead of time. They came in the mail and were hanging out in the closet way before his party, which is really not stressful for me. We ordered a simple-colored, themed cake at Target and put a couple little Lego Ninja guys on the cake to decorate it. It was super simple.
We hung lights in the backyard and had some balloons. The kids jumped on the trampoline, played games and ran around while the adults hung out and talked. It was a really good time for everybody.
I think if you stop thinking about it as a “birthday party” and feeling the need to provide all of this entertainment, candy, gift bags for the end of it, piñata, and amazing Pinterest-worthy cupcake tower and all of that performance anxiety that comes with it (just let it go), and think of it more like hosting a barbecue in celebration of your child being born, it kind of shifts your perspective. That's what we do now.
So, we grilled, had food, drinks and punch. We didn't really have anything “themed” in terms of games and stuff. We just let the kids play. They were allowed to show their friends the Nintendo Switch and they played video games for a little bit. They played outside a ton on the trampoline. They ran around upstairs. They built Legos at the table together. We had cake and food and everyone just played.
The kids were creative and played together and the adults talked and hung out in the backyard. It was just so fun. It was just like having a summer barbecue. It was really wholesome and good.
I think sometimes if we step outside of the “birthday party performance anxiety mom mentality” and just let ourselves plan a good time, it's different and it's better.
There's nothing against having parties, but just keep it simple so that you enjoy it.
It’s a big day. It's the celebration of the day you became a mom, either for the first time or the fifth time. It’s the celebration of a new life and it matters. It's big. Somebody new was born into this world. A World Changer was born and we're celebrating that. We’re not performing or impressing and I think that's the key.
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Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, and get step-by-step help from me, head to alliecasazza.com. There are free downloads, courses, classes, and ways to learn more about what the next step might look like for you and to focus on whatever you might need help with in whatever season you are in right now.
I am always rooting for you, friend!
See ya next time!
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