Why I Throw My Kids Over-the-top Birthday Parties

It’s birthday party season in the Holland household. Griffin's birthday is May 16th and Amos's birthday is June 3rd so the party planning has begun in earnest. Every year I spend a ton of time planning (and designing and crafting and baking) for two big parties to celebrate these awesome little guys. 

I go big and I'm not going to apologize. 

Recently, I’ve noticed the over the top birthday party has gotten a bit of a bad rap and part of it is well-deserved. Thanks in part to the Real Housewives and their like, parties became a spectacle of overindulgence. On top of it all, the celebrated child at these lavish affairs often didn’t seem like they were having a good time. I mean nothing says people are done embracing a trend and ready to judge it quite like a TLC reality show.

And while I would never belong on Outrageous Kid Parties, I do not and will not apologize for my parties. I spent almost a year planning Griffin’s first birthday party. I scoured every corner of the Internet for ideas and spent hours turning those ideas into reality. We had over fifty people in our backyard for barbecue and cake and it was one of the happiest days of my life. I gathered with all the people I love and celebrated this amazing creature that had entered my life.


That experience only gets better as Griffin and Amos become more involved in the process of celebrating. They love to look through Pinterest pages and pick invitations and cakes and activities.

Honestly, keeping them involved in recent years has also helped me keep my motivations in check. The first year the party is for the family and the guests to celebrate the precious life of this little baby. However, as the years go on, I always try to remind myself that the parties are for the KIDS.

So, I've scrapped the water bottle covers because they don't care. I let it go when Griffin wants to add hand-drawn pictures to my perfectly designed invitations. I don't try to talk Amos into a theme that would be more fun to plan.

Amos wants Turbo the Snail. Amos gets Turbo the Snail.

Doing it all again never seems like a chore. (Although I am glad Felix was born in the winter so to spread out the effort a bit!) It seems like a gift. I figure if I’m lucky I’ll get ten birthday parties with each of them before they become too cool for a “kids party” and I’m going to make the most of every one of them. 

The parties and the memories they create are my gifts to them. If God forbid something happens to me, I hope my boys can look at all the effort I poured into these parties and feel my love for them. Not because parents who don’t throw crazy parties don’t love their kids. That’s absurd. I love entertaining and I love creating and every year I get to do what I love to celebrate who I love.

So, my labor of love continues. Now, if you excuse me, I have to hot glue a birthday banner.

What is your labor of love for your kids? Do you hand sew Halloween costumes or cook homemade meals? Does your toddler already have college paid for thanks to your frugal living? Or do you carefully record every milestone in beautifully bound journals? Where do you go above and beyond?