Birthdays are always a great way to start off with a new year. Appreciating life one year at time. Most adults may roll their eyes as that time approaches, but for children, its a special time. It is their day to shine and during this self absorbed time period, they sparkle like the sun.
When giving your child a birthday party, the first thing you should focus on is where the party is going to take place.
Locations and their pros and cons.
Home: You might think this is the cheapest idea, but that depends on what you have to entertain the kids already, verses what you may have to rent, ie pony, clown, character appearances etc... can be pretty pricey.You also must make sure you have enough room or this is not an option.
However if you can you swing it, it gives you a lot of room to decorate and cook the way you or your child want.
Park/Playground/Beach: Children love fresh air and local community lands such as theses can be even less costly than your home. You may have to get a permit, especially if you want to save a location like the picnic area. However this will not apply if your party during unseasonable months.
If you are in an area where the season change, it would be winter and if you are in the tropics that would be summer. Be prepared if mother nature starts raining. Make a rain date or have covering and other activities to do for the party.
Entertainment Location: Often the easiest route, but one you have least control and often they provides the least healthiest food. Having a birthday at restaurant/entertainment place, will mean no cooking, no clean up, just stand back and watch someone else run the show.
Though some places are flexible and will allow you for example to bring your own cake, which could cost extra. However if its in your budget and are willing to disregard a day of less quality food so your little one can go up and down an indoor slide, then this may be the right choice for you.
Libraries, Community Centers, Churches, YMCA's: Certain public options are available. Some Libraries will allow you to celebrate a kids birthday there.
Many Community Centers and even Churches will rent out a room for you to host the party, which is often cheaper than the entertainment places, but you will have to do your own decorating, take cook, cater or just get pizza and you are responsible for clean up.
Alternative to Parties
Trips/Travel/Vacation: Rather than throw a party, take a trip to Disneyland if you can, or go take a long car rid to go visit family and friends the child request to see. If your kid wants to see his friends at his or her old town for example, take the trip and arrange play dates with the kids.
Sometimes reconnecting is better than a party. Sometimes going to a place they have been drilled into wanting to see all their lives, such as amusement parks and other more promoted entertainment, birthdays can occasionally be switched with a trip.
An expensive outing with minimal to no friends attending. This will be more popular as your child grows older and definitely preferred by teenagers, offering an alternative to a party. Maybe theater tickets to see a play, flying lessons, go to the stadium to watch a game, a concert, etc..
An expensive gift in lud of any celebration. Large gifts such as car, an expensive toy the child heart is set on that cost more than you make in two weeks, or any other material item that would cost too much to provide and throw a party. However I suggest doing this the least of all. Even if you don't invite friends do try to honor the day, even with just a cake.
The Cake and Candle
The cake is rather an important part of this ritual. Home made cakes or cakes made a good bakery, really add a special touch for any birthday,(party or not.) It doesn't necessarily have to be a cake, but any kind of food often a dessert as gift to the person.
What is special about the ritual is that it carries the last spark of the persons former year, which they blow out, initially creating them a year older. To some this sounds silly, but to children, this is a serious part of the ritual. The ritual has its roots in pagan traditions, including the idea of the wish.
Birthday's aren't just for Children
Whether you are three years old or a hundred and five, your life does matter and should be celebrated. Be mindful of other peoples birthdays and try to make those days special for them. When your birthday comes along, even if no one seems to notice, make sure you do something nice for yourself.
Remember this year, make every Birthday count!
Dedicated to my cousin who's Birthday already past!