I’m always looking for ways to make a birthday special, but the idea of throwing a kid birthday party makes me break out in sweats. Many people can throw spectacular birthday parties and love doing them.

I am not one of them.

I believe that being a great mom looks different for all of us. We should play to our strengths and drop what doesn’t make us happier or better moms.

So, lets give up the mom guilt! I’m perfectly happy attending beautifully crafted parties, but I understand that throwing them just isn’t my thing. For several reasons…

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unforgettable ways to make a birthday special




Thank you for the beautiful ideas, Pinterest, but I’m not going to spend hours getting 50 origami flower napkins just right. I’m not that crafty, and I have three small kids.

I already spend a good chunk of time trying not to be overwhelmed with my to-do list.

Three separate parties every year making just the right favors and games is a TON of work. And it makes me panic just thinking about it.


My kids already have a bazillion toys.

Some toys are great, but too many and my children don’t appreciate what they’re getting. I get overwhelmed by a lot of stuff, so the thought of adding a bunch to my house also gives me enormous anxiety.


So, what are the alternatives to highly detailed parties if they make you perspire as I do?

Only throw birthday parties for special birthdays. We do throw a first birthday party, and I know some that do it when children reach certain specific birthdays so that they are spread out.

Low key birthday parties are a great possibility. We have been to a few where kids just play at the park, gym, or pool. They have been super laid back, and are essentially playdates.

And we have received quite a few invitations for kids to bring donations instead of gifts, which is a brilliant idea. It gives the birthday child the thrill of delivering donations to an organization that needs it.

At our house, we enjoy one big summer party (instead of birthday parties) as a way to still get friends, family, and neighbors together once a year.


BUT it’s still extremely important to me that the kids feel special on their big day! So here are all of the things we do to make their day feel just as important WITHOUT a big party!

birthday special


We have reusable banners that we hang around the house as well as some balloons to blow up. All of this gets put out the night before, so they see it as soon as they walk down!

A Special Dinner

Just because there’s no party doesn’t mean we don’t have a special celebration!

On the night of the birthday, we have grandparents come for a dinner of the child’s choice. Being kids, it’s usually pizza. We then celebrate with cake and presents!

Birthday Coupons

Guys, I’m a big lover of coupons! They take up no space in my house and don’t make my kids crazy from sugar. For birthdays, they get a coupon for 30 min extra TV, 1 extra hot lunch at school, and to stay up late for 15 minutes.

Love You Letter

Every year I write each kid a letter on their birthday about the special things they loved, have learned, and have accomplished throughout the year.

They often have me re-read them because it just makes them feel special, and it’s an extra reminder that they are loved.

I try to keep a copy of each letter on the computer so that one day I can give them all of the letters!

birthday special

Measure Them On The Ruler

We made a ruler when our oldest was little and we make sure that we measure every birthday!

It has been SO fun to see how tall they are each year and compare how tall the siblings are at different age points.

Get Together With Friends

We have two pairs of friends that have kids a similar age and our children see often.

We like to do a birthday dinner together with them around the special days. That way the kids still get to “invite friends” over, but we’re not overwhelmed.

Date With Mom or Dad

Every birthday we have a one-on-one date with mom and date at a separate time. In the past, we’ve gone to the book store, bought tools, gotten a treat, etc.

This tradition is close to my heart, but it has become much less feasible with three kids and tighter schedules.

I’m thinking that instead of an outing, we simply spend one-on-one time at home doing whatever the child wants to do on his/her birthday.

birthday special

Read “The Night You Were Born”

Our children received this book when they were born, and I adore reading it to them on their birthday to remind them of how unique they are.

In reality, sometimes I remember to do this one, and sometimes not, but it’s a sweet sentiment!


My daughter is turning 5 soon, and we have a few special traditions to celebrate this special milestone as well!

birthday special

The Q & A Book

This is a three-year book to do with kids. It’s meant to promote meaningful conversations between parents and children. Every day has a different short prompt to discuss.

My son and I have talked about the questions in this book for the last two and a half years just before bed. His little sister just got hers!

Check it out HERE.

The 5-year Photo Book

I am the WORST at printing pictures out. It’s one of the reasons we use Chatbooks (an inexpensive automatic printing service).

Yet, I try to make an effort to give them each a special book of their first 5 years of life on that milestone birthday.

At least when they’re older they will have something to look at that isn’t from a computer!!!


What are your special birthday traditions?

And, if you love doing things that bring your family together, check out my ebook! It has 257 up to date tradition ideas to build a remarkable family bond. – And includes more birthday ideas!

Find it HERE!

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