Shared Birthday Parties

Kid’s birthday parties: What they are … and where they’re headed.
When I was growing up and that special time came around, my mom would throw a heartfelt birthday party for me in my backyard. There were hot dogs, games like pin the tail on the donkey, a homemade cake, and presents that were actually opened in front of the guests. That’s all changed.

Elaborate parties……
When my eldest child turned one, I celebrated by throwing her a magnificent birthday party that she would never forget (or at least I wouldn’t). The fact that her birthday lands on St. Patrick’s Day made it even more fun! I hired the local children’s Irish dance troupe to perform. A traditional corned beef and cabbage feast was served to the adults, and there was an amazing spread for the children, which, since it was all over their faces, was mostly lost on them. For the pièce de résistance, there was a huge Shamrock cake. All of our friends in the neighborhood were invited. It was a celebration to remember!
The days of elaborate parties are over……
Fast forward 8 years, and the days of elaborate kids birthday parties are over, for the most part, at our house. I’ve changed my ways and become more “practical”. In fact, with my friends, we have started throwing “shared” birthday parties.
Even my hubby is on board……
It all started when my husband started to realize the number of birthday parties filling our weekend. He would ask (because he’s usually clueless about our weekend plans), “What are we doing this weekend?” My reply seemed to always be, “We’re going to a birthday party.” He’d reply, “Another one? I just saw those people last week. Don’t we have any other friends? We’ve got to get a life.”  You see, we have three children, and each one has around 20 kids in their class. Do the multiplication, and you’re looking at something like 60 parties per year, more than one per week every week of the year.

The goody bags……
No offense, but most of the parties were essentially the same. They were held at huge venues, gifts were collected in a box and never opened in front of the guests, and a pre-written thank you card was handed out in the goody bag as we left. Isn’t being invited to a party gift enough? And, do we have to hand out candy in a gift bag after giving the kids high fructose corn syrup fake juice (sorry), cake and ice cream to say, “Thanks for coming!” More like here’s your fattened, hyper, overtired youngster to deal with for the next two hours. He’s your problem now (thank God). I’m like thanks a lot! See you next week!  Once my child even received a basketball as part of an elaborate gift bag! A really nice one too! Actually, that was a score (no pun intended) but my kids have also received gift cards. Am I the only one who thinks this is too much? My Mom wouldn’t believe the extravagance that goes on nowadays.
What to give?……
For gifts, I either go to Amazon to buy another $40 birthday gift for a child who already has everything, or (don’t tell) I, sometimes, go to the attic where I hide away the presents my children have received that were duplicates of ones we already had, and find one to re-gift. Come on, you’ve all done it! They’re perfectly good toys! Right? Moving on . . .
A lightbulb moment……
One day, the other savvy chick and I were discussing birthday party ideas for our soon-to-be 5 year old boys. We analyzed all the possibilities and dates to have these parties when, at the same time, a light bulb went off in our heads!
Let’s throw a “joint” birthday party!……
Not the adult kind some parents need after one of these triple birthday party weekends, but one that celebrates our sons birthdays together! Since our sons were born only 4 days apart, it made total sense! We figured we were saving the rest of the class the rigmarole of another weekend dominated by another lame kid’s birthday party (the party, not the kid)!
Ok, do the math!……
On average, I shell out around $500 for each child each year. The first birthday parties were more. Hmmm……3 kids X $500 = $1,500 per year on birthday parties! Now let’s really get into tricky math and base this on 8 years of birthday celebrations! $1,500 X 8 = $12,000. Now that’s some serious cake!
I know what you’re thinking……
Before you start thinking, “Oh, I get it, they spend half the amount and receive 100% of the gifts!” WRONG. We make it clear on the invitations, “No Gifts Please”! We find most people adhere to that request.
An end to popularity contests……
Sometimes parents aren’t sure if the people they invite will come. They don’t want their child to be hurt and embarrassed so they decide not to throw a party at all. By including all the moms in the class in this planning, every kid will have a birthday and no one will feel left out.
Benefits to Shared Birthday Parties……
1) Cost savings! You can spend half the amount! Or share with a couple of people in the class and save 2/3rds on your birthday budget!
2) You get your time back on the weekends!
3) You don’t have to rush around and spend another $40 on a generic gift! (Or search through your cob webbed attic!)
4) Every kid gets a birthday party.
5) The best benefit of all is the relationships you form while planning the parties. You make friends and get to know the parents and kids better!
6) Finally, less sugar….less sugar….less sugar….. If you are a mom like me that watches your children’s sugar intake, you have just reduced the amount of cake and harmful food dyes they are going to consume this year.
The idea has caught on……..
These 2 savvy chicks were thrilled with the success of their idea. And this might shock you. Neither child complained or felt cheated! My son loved his party! So much so that we are having it again this year with 4 other kids who’s birthdays are also in the Spring; including our brainy chick’s son! My son actually shares the same birthday with a boy in his class. (May the 4th be with you!) Now two other moms with children in that class are hosting a shared birthday next month!  Don’t forget that each child still gets their own family party. That’s important. It’s when our kids can open presents and get attention from those closest to them.
In conclusion……
We haven’t done this every year for every child. Some years we still want to throw a party just for our little darling. Other times we allow our child to have a party that brings only a few friends together for a special experience, either because it’s an expensive activity, a long drive away, or it’s an all-day experience. Those are great and memorable too.
Key to Successful Shared Birthdays……
1) In order for this to work well, you need to include all the moms who’s children have birthdays the same time of the year. Depending on the class size, maybe 3-5 shared parties a year. Inclusion is the key. Offer it up so everyone has the opportunity to participate if he/she would like.
2) Be flexible! Work with the group of women on finding the venue, time and date.
3) Divide up the responsibilities! You need one person to “coordinate” the master list and start assigning responsibilities! This is best handled by the “spreadsheet” mom. You know who I’m talking about!
4) Make sure each child’s name gets into the Happy Birthday song. It’s funnier the more kids you have sharing a birthday.

Josie Croll, Savvy Chick
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  1. Hugo Muneton-Aparicio May 3, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Miss Savvy Chick,
    Let me tell you how amazing this idea is. Growing up with a huge family 83 first cousins to be exact and atleast 80% of the familu getting together every weekend for birthday was also a typical weekend for me. It was fun when I was 5 up until 17! My weekends in our short summer in Chicago consisted of bday parties got old after a while! Always so nice to be able to celebrate peoples birthday and it’s a very happy ocassion but after so much you need other memorable moments with your loved ones. This idea would be perfect for my family. I had to forward this article and share it with a couple family members and friends. It’s a win win situation, yet it’s drill special and celebrated! I love your blogs, keep them coming!!!! Xoxo 🙂

    1. chicksandsalsablog May 4, 2017 at 11:13 am

      Hugo, thank you for your kind words. You are so blessed to have such a large family. Any excuse to get together is a good one. Happy celebrating!

  2. Tiffany May 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    I love this blog post of shared birthdays!! I’ve also been doing it for my kids and they love it just as much as having their own single party. Heck, they’re kids they just like a party! Thanks for writing this, I truly hope this becomes the standard and not just a trend. All of your ideas listed above are fantastic!!

  3. Gina May 4, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I love the idea for shared Birthday parties!!! With all the social and work obligations time is limited it makes sense to delegate responsibilities amongst friends and family. If you’re inviting the same families, it’s a no brainer. Great Post Chicks and Salsa.

    Exploring your site and loving your mommy posts.

  4. Judy May 18, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I think it’s an amazing idea! Kids birthday parties cost a fortune these days and it’s such a waste of money. People should be saving money for their child’s education not spending it frivolously.

  5. chicksandsalsablog May 20, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Great to know!!! Let’s get #sharedbirthdayparties trending 🙂

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