The Birthday Standard


The Birthday Standard

Like with most things when it comes to parenting, it seems like there are many opinions on the size of the birthday party for children. It seems like parents fall on a spectrum from minimal celebrations to large Pinterest-inspired parties, and anywhere in between.

I admittedly am an “over-the-top birthday mom,” and yes, I get made fun of by various members of my family. But, I don’t feel guilty about that. As a stay-at-home mom of a child with special needs, I am often told I need to find things to do that make me happy. Well, with birthdays being a mixture of theming, crafting, organizing, planning, and seeing my son smile, they are a perfect storm of all the things I love to do. With my husband being a carpenter and having a past in set design, it is always a (mostly) fun way for us to work together on something for my son. I also feel like I probably overcompensate for all the things my son misses out on — at least I know he can have a killer birthday party. This year is his third birthday and as I prepare and make decorations, I am noticing it is the first year he is getting excited.

Some of my family’s birthday traditions:

  • Golden birthdays are always something special. I realize not everyone celebrates golden birthdays (when you turn the age that your birth date is; for me, it was turning 24 on the 24th).
  • No matter how many people attend, I usually throw a party with lots of decorations (mostly made by my husband and me).
  • I always make my own cake. I have also purchased plain store bakery cakes and redecorated them.
  • We use my son’s birthday as a reminder to record his height on the ruler in our kitchen.
  • Growing up, we always got to choose a restaurant to go to for our birthday, even if the siblings didn’t like it.

I asked other Knoxville Moms to share their favorite birthday memories, traditions and money-saving hacks, and here’s what they had to say:

  • “Backyard flashlight scavenger hunt. Kids look for their labeled gift bags at night in the yard. The bags have mini flashlights in them. The first kid to find their flashlight has to help other kids find their bags by shining their light around.”
  • “My cheapo birthday hack is to remember to get as many decorations/serving dishes etc. from the Dollar Store. Hobby Lobby also has table cloths for $0.99.”
  • “My dad used to scare us every year at my birthday slumber parties. One year he put pantyhose over his head and climbed on our roof in order to hang outside our bedroom window. We all peed our pants and my friends still remember that from 35 years ago.”
  • “We have a party tote for all left over plates and napkins. I’m using his second and third left overs this year. The colors fit the theme!”
  • “I did big crazy parties for five years, then I took the money I’d spend on one party and did a trip instead. They still get a few gifts on their actual birthday but mainly we just go somewhere. I let them pick where, who goes (bring a friend, just me and bday boy, etc.), except last year when I took the bigs to NYC to see Hamilton and Hadestown as a joint birthday gift.”

    A special happy birthday to my little man as he turns three and heads off to preschool this August.


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