Birthday parties sure have changed since I was growing up. It seems like cake, ice cream and presents with family and friends are no longer enough. We often feel that there has to be a theme with matching activities, food, a bakery cake and goody bags.
I fell into this mindset recently as I planned my son’s third birthday party.
It started out simple: a backyard BBQ where he and his little friends could wear their superhero costumes (which they do most days, anyway). But then I got on Pinterest and went to town pinning ideas for superhero games, decor and food. I looked at the fun photos and sat impressed with all of the little details people had come up with.
I started to think this is what birthday parties had to be like – specially printed labels, extravagant balloon drops and fancy cakes.
Don’t get me wrong, I think those things are so fun and love to attend parties where the host has taken the time to design all of the little details.
But if I’m honest with myself, that’s just not me.
I’m not crafty, I’m on a budget, and I’d rather spend the little free time I do have on other things. As I scrolled through Pinterest, it was hard not to feel like a simple superhero backyard BBQ was “special” enough for my birthday boy.
Still for the most part, practicality and exhaustion won out. Sure, I can buy silly string, and let the kids pretend they are shooting spiderwebs like Spiderman! But I don’t need to print a special label for them or design a crazy spider web. I don’t have to spend a ton of money or time decorating when a few balloons and party horns can do the trick. As for the food, when entertaining adults and toddlers the simpler the better.
As the big day approached, I decided I could at least make a fancy cake to make things feel special. But as the days got closer, the more stressed I became. I can’t draw a straight line, but I can frost a spiderweb, I told myself. Then my husband asked, “Why not just keep it simple with a chocolate frosted sheet cake and sprinkles?”
“What?! That’s not enough, it’s a big day!”
And my husband responded, “He’s three, he only cares if there’s a cake.”
It was that moment that I decided, no offense Pinterest, but yes it’s okay to keep things simple. Big picture, those little details don’t matter. What does matter is making sure my little guy understands how much he is loved. Having some of his favorite people over to celebrate him with cake, ice cream and presents was just enough.
It may not have been extravagant, but based on the amount of fun everyone had, it couldn’t have been more perfect.