Large family birthdays are a wonderful way to celebrate each individual child.
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I know some large famlies choose to do big “family birthdays” or keep individual parties small and simple. While these are perfectly fine options, I prefer to embrace the opportunity to celebrate each child as an indiviual. For me, this is something I love pouring my time and energy into.
In our large family, we have a very definite birthday season. We have ten months solid of birthdays May-February. For years I have considered March and April my “months off” to recharge.
Years ago when Chuck and I were just starting our family we knew we didn’t want to focus of Christmas to be the gifts. We decided to give our children stockings only (filled with an orange, candy cane, candy, and a small gift). But birthdays? Birthdays we would do BIG. We would take the opporunity to celebrate each child God blessed us with.
When we came up. with this plan, we had no way of knowing we would end up with FOURTEEN children. In 23 years of parenting, we have never regretted this decision. We have had elaborate birthdays and simple gatherings. We let the individual child lead us.
Why We Go Big on Birthdays
I was at a birthday party last week for one of Apollo’s best friends. As I saw each guest (many of them adults) go up to her and wish her a happy birthday and tell her how much they loved her, I reflected on our own birthday traditions. This little girl was positively glowing! One day a year to celebrate the life of a child? To let them know how much they are loved and valued (not with money or gifts, but with your presence)? Yes, please! THAT is why we go big on birthdays.
Let Your Child Choose the Theme
In our large family, we have had big elaborate birthdays and small, simple celebrations. We have had Star Wars birthdays, Napoleon Dynamite, Elvis, The Office, Minecraft, LEGO, Rainbow, and more. The sky is the limit as far as picking out the party theme. This year because Apollo’s birthday fell just days after my arrival home from New Zealand and on the day of Judah’s graduation from Trooper Basic I suggested we skip a theme and just have a birthday party. Apollo, however, was not on board with this. A few days after I made the suggestion he came up to me laughing and said, “Mom, remember when you suggested we not have a THEME for my party?”
So, a theme it was.
Remember: Shortcuts Are Okay
I was able to design these cute LEGO-themed birthday invitations in less than five minutes on basicinvite.com. They have a huge selection of birthday party invitations for kids. Sometimes I have the time to create from scratch and sometimes I am more pressed for time, like when I spend my summer bouncing back and forth between New Zealand and my home.
Basic Invite offers almost unlimited color choices and forty different colors of envelopes. They are one of the few sites that offer printed samples before you place your order. And, to keep things as simple as possible they offer an address capturing service. This means you simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process.
To Keep Costs Down, Use What You Have
And remember: big and detailed does not have to mean store-bought and expensive.
Depending on your theme, you can keep costs down by using what you already have. For our last-minute LEGO party, we used our own LEGO bricks for decorations (as we did with Apollo’s party this week…post and photos coming soon).
For Hezekiah’s Napoleon Dynamite Party, we printed a few quotes and pics off the internet. You can see here I printed (on regular paper) pictures of Hezekiah and Apollo dressed as Kip and Napoleon. We made Kip’s LaFawnduh sign and used brown paper for more classic quotes from the movie.
Remember: Birthday Parties are a Celebration of Life
Remember through all of your planning and prep that the entire point of a birthday party is to celebrate your child, not to impress your friends, neighbors or to keep up with the Kardashians. Keep the focus on your child and his or her passions.