My cousin suggested recently that I write a blog post about how we spend birthdays and Christmas so here goes... This is simply what my husband and I have decided to do based on what we value and what's best for our kids. I'm in no way trying to say that my way is better- it just works for our family. The basic ideas below are not new as I've heard many other mamas talk about it, so I'm just reiterating what we've done thus far..
Each birthday we celebrate is special but making it special has never depended on how grand or how much money we've spent on the occasion. Both my girls 1st birthdays we drove out of town to spend it w/ my husband's family. I did all my own decorations (thanks Pinterest!!) and it was a fun time... mostly for the adults and photo opps... because lets be real my one year old could have cared less if we were standing in our dining room alone w/ a cupcake and a lit candle. After stressing over decorations for a couple weeks, packing up kids, taking them out of their routines, etc, I honestly think if we have a third child I'm keeping everything much more simple, staying home, and saving my sanity along the way.
Second and third birthdays so far have been easy and sweet. I dropped off cookies at school and later in the evening we had Auntie and a neighbor couple over that my girls adore and just spent quality time together over homemade cupcakes. Malachi's third birthday we took her to her first movie after we had cupcakes w/ grandparents and Auntie at home. She loved it and still talks about. One day they will have an actual party with friends but trust it will still be simple AND small. We will definitely discuss their likes and wants as it pertains to birthdays as they get older.
I really want my girls to understand just how much quality time is a gift. We get birthday invites frequently but we just can't go to most of them because my life cannot revolve around kid birthday parties. People's time is valuable and sometimes hard to come by so I want my girls to always know that whether its two of us celebrating or twenty they are special and loved either way.
Any parent out there overwhelmed or maybe even annoyed by all the lost toys all over your home, I know I am. I promise I am not anti-toys, I just prefer experiences for my kids when I have a say. A Zoo or Adventure Science membership outlives most of the toys we get. Last Christmas the girls played w/ their gifts for like an hour and then moved on. Wes and I limit the amount of toys we buy the girls going for more quality than quantity. As for extended family- cash to apply to needed items and/or experiences, sports/dance fees, gift cards, and even next size up clothes and shoes are perfect! These are all gifts that keeps on giving unlike the mini toy shop hiding under my couch right now collecting dust.
Call me the mean, un-fun mom by this post but surprisingly my girls are very happy and content. They are blessed and happy with what they get and the way I see it I seriously have plenty of time before they really start making lists of wants so I'm not going to rush it. They are only two and four! We spend the holidays decorating, baking cookies, building gingerbread houses, praising God, spending quality time together, checking out all the cool Christmas lights shows, serving others, and yes opening up gifts too. This is all done without breaking the bank and keeping family time high priority!! What are your birthday and holiday traditions? I'm always looking for interesting, new, and simple ideas.