Baby’s First Birthday

So Aellyn’s first birthday is around the corner and I’ve been thinking about what to do to celebrate her milestone birthday.  I’m kind of shying away from a big party for several reasons.

  1. It is expensive.
  2. It is more about the parents than the child (and worse the “status” of throwing the best party ergo being the best mommy).
  3. It just generally feels egotistical to me to have big birthday parties.  I’m uncomfortable with Aellyn receiving tons of gifts which overshadow the true meaning of the day.

When I was a kid I only had 2 big birthday parties:  6 and 16 years old.  That is the way my Mom did it.  Other years it was a simple cake and ice cream family affair. My husband on the other hand had parties every year (according to him, Terry, is he full of crap?).  We have a tiny house so even a smallish party would require us to rent someplace.

I really don’t want Aellyn’s birthday to be about getting gifts.  I’m wary of excessive gift giving anytime because I think it focuses on “me me me” and results in too much crap.  I think a single, special gift is more valued than 20 gifts from family and friends.  I also don’t want Aellyn to grow up having so many toys she doesn’t know what to do.  I want her to develop a strong sense of appreciation for the things she has and of charity for those less fortunate.  Birthday parties don’t help with either of those things.  Am I being a crazy hippie?

I do think birthdays are special and important.  I’m not saying I don’t want to celebrate Aellyn achieving another year – I really do want to make it special.  I just don’t think that matching balloons and plates and tons of gifts is how to do it.  So my idea is that her birthday be a special day for her to choose an activity.  This year I think I’d like to go to the Infant Workshop at COSI in Columbus.  As she gets older she can decide what she wants to do and with whom (invite a friend or what not).  I would much rather her end the day with a memory than a Fisher Price Musical Hunk of Plastic.

(As a side note, I think this is a theme with me.  When my parents asked what I wanted for High School graduation they were thinking in terms of jewelry.  What did I ask for?  A vacation to Washington DC.  I wanted my dad to see the vietnam memorial and the memories of a family vacation sounded better to me.  I was right.  That vacation is one of my greatest memories!  (Remember the Blue Ridge Mts. after boiling in DC for 3 days?)  Much better than a necklace I wear every now and then.)

(As another side note, this is not to be construed as meaning I don’t like to get jewelry.  DH.)

I can get the requisite cake on the face pictures on my own time.

What are your thoughts on Baby’s First Birthday?


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2 thoughts on “Baby’s First Birthday

  1. I agree — there is too much emphasis on material things; and a “big blow-out party to top other mommies’ parties” is just competition for the moms’ sakes. [Plus, if you have a big party for this birthday, you’ll feel more pressure to have a big party *every* birthday.]Growing up, we mostly just had family parties — the birthday boy or girl got to choose what we ate for supper (usually pizza), then we had cake and ice cream for dessert, opened presents, and the birthday boy or girl didn’t have to help clean up. Occasionally we had friends over to spend the night, but the overall theme was the same, and all very low-key.That’s what we’ve done with my kids, as well — just a family party (with cousins, since they live close enough) with cake, ice cream and presents.

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