Happy birthday to my littlest guy. He turned one over the weekend. And the funny thing is that I feel like I’ve come a long way since my oldest son’s first birthday party.
I remember planning for months and going way over the top for his birthday. I was raised in Hawaii, where first birthday parties rival weddings – sometimes costing almost the same with high-priced entertainment, catered luncheons at 5-star hotels, and elaborate gift bags for guests. I tried to pare down my oldest son’s birthday a wee bit. We still hosted it at a hotel, but we had it in the lawn and I rented chairs, got an expensive cake, catered the food, invited like 40 people… on and on. It was huge.
We must have spent about $800 on that birthday party. And my son could care less. He didn’t even like the birthday cake that I spent a small fortune on. He was my first so I just went over the top (though by Hawaii standards it was a bargain). But I was so stressed after that, and vowed I had to change.
It took me a few years of over-complicated parties at Chuck E. Cheese and indoor play structures to figure out that simpler is better (and usually cheaper).
Fast forward to my youngest son’s party. We just had it out our house. I ordered Costco pizza and invited only three families and a couple of single friends. It was small. It was quiet. And it was perfect. There was no stress. My older boys had a great time playing with their friends. And my youngest son had a ball. He loved his cake and enjoyed hanging out with his friends. My total cost – about $150.