My Son’s Not Having a Birthday Party This Year

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In one week, Tripp turns 7. We don’t have a birthday party planned. When I first realized that a party was impractical, I felt so guilty I cried. But then, the more my husband and I talked about it, the more I understood my feelings. I felt guilty for the wrong reasons. I always see these social media posts about kids’ gorgeous parties, and those pictures are great! We go to several birthday parties each month and have a blast. I have nothing against birthday parties. I thought that if we deprived Tripp of the same sort of birthday party his friends were having, he would feel bad. He’s had a birthday party every year. How would he feel when we all of a sudden skipped a year? I thought he would object strongly. I was shocked when he didn’t.

Why We’re Skipping

I am in an accelerated nursing program, and my schedule is really hectic. My husband just started a new job, and his schedule isn’t any better. Plus, Tripp’s birthday is the week school starts. Our schedules are just too crazy to coordinate this year. Yes, we know his birthday is coming every year. We’ve had plenty of time to plan and coordinate. We could have moved it forward or back a month. But we didn’t. Additionally, with only one of us working right now, we have to be careful about what we spend. A birthday party he would want at one of those trampoline places starts at least $325, and that’s before invitations, cake, refreshments, decorations, party favors, etc. We could use some of that money for a more intimate celebration and still have some left over that it doesn’t stretch us too thinly financially. Again, we knew his birthday was coming. We could have put money aside in the months leading up, but we just didn’t.

Tripp’s 3rd birthday, a pirate-themed swimming party complete with a custom cake, a treasure hunt, and pirate-themed foods.  

How We Got Tripp On Board

We made it feel like it was his choice not to have a party. We gave Tripp an attractive alternative, explaining that if we skipped the party, we would give him some money to spend on a big gift. We would still have a small cake and sing with just the family, and he could pick the restaurant for a special dinner. We also let him choose a fun activity for the day. So, next weekend we will celebrate with beignets for breakfast, lunch at Superior Grill, and a trip to Sky Zone with cousins. Tripp is trying to decide whether he wants to spend his money on a few smaller gifts or one giant Lego set. We told him if he tries it this way and regrets it, it will be a lesson learned and we can have a party next year.

I’m Not Sorry

I feel absolutely no guilt over our decision. In fact, I’m relieved. We don’t have to pick a theme or plan anything or buy anything last minute the night before. As much we love our friends, we don’t feel pressure to entertain and be overstimulated with hosting a party. Tripp will get to celebrate with people who love him, and my husband and I will be able to be 100% in the moment with him on his special day.

Alyson Haggerty
Alyson lives in Metairie with her husband, Patrick, their 7 and 4 year-old boys, and their Morkie, Beignet. After teaching for almost ten years, she left a career in education and is now a full-time nursing student. In her hypothetical free time, Alyson would enjoy flipping furniture, writing, and dancing. She is always looking for a racquetball partner and loves streetcar rides and playing board games with her family. A good cook, she is constantly on a quest to answer the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” but has thus far been unsuccessful.

1 COMMENT

  1. This is great! Kids do not have to have elaborate birthday parties every year. You are trying what will work best for your family at this moment. Who knows, this may be preferred by your son for future birthdays. Good for you! Good luck with school!

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