My Love/Hate Relationship with Kid Birthday Parties


As soon as I get the Evite, snail mail or text, I have mixed emotions. “Aww, I can’t believe he is already 4!”…”What does a 4 yr old boy want?”…”Wait, he probably doesn’t need anything — let me ask his Mom.”

Maybe that is just me being too much of a thinker, but in our own family, we stopped doing big birthday parties after the first kid. I remember staying up until 1 am for my first born’s 1st birthday party. Fluffing poms, scrapbooking photos for a sign and preparing food. My husband was deployed and I didn’t sleep much back then anyways, but I remember talking to myself. “Is he going to remember any of this? Who is this really about?” And after I thought for a little while, I pretty much decided…never again. 
It is not that I love my second through sixth children any less, I just decided to pick the milestones that were most important to us and celebrate them in various ways and at various times. It was not going to mean a big birthday party every year for every kid. After several moves and changing friend groups, our “parties” have gotten even smaller, but they are still memorable for everyone in our family. 

Kid birthday parties these days are simply over the top. The pressure to have a Pinterest style event before the child is even walking on the earth is unreal. Your kid wants cake…that’s all. But us adults, we want fancy cake, and fancy decorations and a lot of friends praising us. Is the party really about the kid, or is it about you? 

Don’t get me wrong…I love parties and I love celebrating life. I just prefer people over production. Sure — have a massive party, but can we keep it simple and invite the whole crew. The more the merrier, but it’s hard to invite everyone in town because you can’t gift a handscripted favor to 20 families. What happened to the days of “We’re gonna grill hot dogs and hit a pinata?” I like those days and if my family extended the invite outside our basketball team, that’s what we would do. 
In our family, you pick your food for the day. The rest of the siblings celebrate you, give gifts to you, tell you everything they love about you and let you reign supreme for the day. We look at baby pictures, sing and ooh and aww over how cute you once were, and still are. That’s about all folks! But it’s memorable because it is what we’ve picked as a tradition for everyone in our family. 
Kids birthday parties don’t have to be a massive event. You can shower your child with love and affection in a zillion ways, but spending $300 for a party doesn’t have to be one of them. If you got it like that, know I am not here to knock you! I really love a good party and I promise I love your kid, but you won’t find me sending out hand written invitations anytime soon. 
Do you go over the top? More power to you! Do you keep it simple and quiet right at home? Keep doing what you love and don’t look back! 
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Johnna King moved to Waco in January of 2017. She met her husband in college and after 9 years in the Marine Corps, they prayed for place to settle down and raise their family. She is the Domestic Engineer of Team King which currently consists of eight littles. Her oldest is 11, then 9, 7, 6, 5, 4, 2 & 16 months . She is due with their 9th in the summer of 2022. Motherhood is one of Johnna's many passions. She equally enjoys growing in obedience to Jesus, homeschooling the kids, running/weight lifting, photography, interior design, holistic living and writing. There is usually a half-read book on her nightstand. She runs their family blog You can always find Johnna looking for new places to eat, planning a date night or taking another picture.


  1. I use to be a Mom that wanted to go over the top but didn’t have the funds to accomplish it. I also combined the parties because my 2 boys were 4 days from exactly 4 years apart. It worked for me. Now that I have a new little guy, I find his birthday is our excuse to go on vacation. His birthday is at the end of June. We agreed as parents that we will take him to do something new, a different location every year, but all within driving distance. We’re moving away from gifts to more experiences. Anytime we can celebrate life with the whole family, without breaking the bank, and stressing ourselves out, I feel we’re winning.

    • I love this and completely agree with finding what works for you! I love experiences too! That’s awesome. Thanks for sharing!

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