Do Kids Need Huge Birthday Celebrations?

Great Discussion on the Pros/Cons of Big Vs. Small Birthday Parties for Kids
Great Discussion on the Pros/Cons of Big Vs. Small Birthday Parties for Kids

We’ve all been to birthday parties that range from small, intimate gatherings to huge, extravagant events.

So what kind of best?  More specifically, what is best to plan for your kid?

Are big parties the best option?  Are there advantages to smaller functions?  Don’t worry, The Moms At Odds is here to talk you through your decision.

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Jo says | “The More the Merrier!”

I LOVE big parties to celebrate my children’s birthdays.

Sure, it’s partially selfish – my husband and I love to entertain.  But I truly believe my kids enjoy every moment of it too.

Let me tell you why we always have huge, blow-out birthday parties for my kids.

Kid Birthday Parties Big vs. Small


Kids Love to Party

My son, even at only 3 years old, excitedly talked for MONTHS leading up to his birthday.

He wanted everyone to be there – his friends, his class from preschool, the church, family… pretty much everyone he had ever met. As the RSVPs came in he was so excited with everyone who was coming to his party.

He picked his theme (this year it was space, last year was dinosaurs).  I decorate the house, make snacks, and even dress in an outfit Ms. Frizzle would envy.

Kid Birthday Parties Big vs. Small


Then he spends the days (and weeks!) after the party reminiscing about it and looking forward to next year. It’s absolutely adorable.

Plus, to top it all off my kids go to their friends’ birthday parties. They see the big house parties with all their friends, or the large events at an indoor play area, or maybe a casual bbq at a park.

Then they ask me for their own party, and I’m a sucker who can’t say no.  But that’s mainly because of my next point…


Kid Birthday Parties Big vs. Small


Parents Love to Party

So I’ll admit it, my daughter didn’t necessarily ask for a “Breakfast at Lily’s” theme for her first birthday (picture above).  That was all me.

Kids birthdays are a great excuse to connect with old friends and enjoy watching your children be social!

My mom once told me that “you can never have too many people who love your child”. Now I’m pretty sure she stole this from Ann Landers, but the point is still a good one.

It means the world to me to surround my son with people who adore him. It sends a powerful message of love and support.

Sure it’s crazy, fun, and fast-paced.  But it’s also a great moment to take a time-out from everyday life and celebrate.

Related Post: How Many Presents Should you Buy for your Children?
Related Post: Celebrating With Toddlers – Should You Keep Them on a Strict Schedule?

Rachel discusses

Aren’t big parties expensive?

Jo discussesIt can be.  But can also be done relatively inexpensively.

My son’s last birthday we had over 50 people at our house and the entire thing (food, decorations, invitations, etc.) cost less than $300.

We had a simple menu of baked beans, coleslaw, grilled barbecue chicken, and macaroni and cheese. I made all the decorations myself by printing them out at home and laminating then with my favorite laminator!  Check them out:


Kid Birthday Parties Big vs. Small


Now of course you can do it very expensively too.  I admittedly spent crazy amounts of money on the “Breakfast At Lily’s” party…

At the end of the day I love making their birthdays as magical as possible.  We have a lot of play dates, family gatherings, dinner parties, etc. I want their birthdays to be extra special.

Related Post: Should you be Strict with a Toddler’s Diet During Celebrations?
Related Post: Is Decorating for Toddler Holidays Worth the Time and Effort?


Great Discussion on the Pros/Cons of Big Vs. Small Birthday Parties for Kids


Rachel says | “Small is fun too”

Rachel discussesWe like to keep the birthday parties on the smaller side. We celebrate, eat cake, and open presents, just without a big crowd. Just family is plenty big for us.

I like a good party as much as the next person. I just don’t think it needs to be huge to be special.

We still have fun! We have birthday traditions like reading ‘Happy Birthday to You!’ and we try to find an activity to do as a family.

So here’s few reasons you may want to consider downsizing the birthday parties:

1| Saves Money

Big parties can have big bills.

Just feeding a large group can be expensive, let alone the cost of decorations and party favors. All of it can really add up quickly.

We stick to a strict budget, so I don’t have much extra to spend on an extravagant celebration. I have to really prioritize how much I want to spend on birthdays between party, presents, and any other activities. Keeping our party on the smaller side definitely helps keep the cost down.

Less people eat less food, smaller cakes, fewer cupcakes, and they drink less too.

Kid Birthday Parties Big vs. Small


2| Easier for mom

It definitely feels like there is an expectation to throw huge, elaborate, Pinterest-worthy birthday celebrations with professional-looking-homemade decor and perfectly coordinated themes. That’s a lot of pressure and a lot of work.

Throwing a big event can be stressful.

How many people are coming? Why haven’t they RSVP’d? Do I have enough food? Do I have enough activities?

And that’s just the planning part, actually hosting is also stressful with mingling and trying to make sure everyone else is having a good time. I can’t be the only introvert mom out there who feels like this.

This is a special day for my baby and me. I want to be able to focus on my little one on their birthday.


Great Discussion on the Pros/Cons of Big Vs. Small Birthday Parties for Kids


3| Little kids don’t care

This is especially true for first birthdays, but honestly the first few years little kids really don’t care about big parties.

They don’t understand that 30 of their closest friends came or that all of the themed snacks have cute labels with puns. Nor will they remember any of it.

Even keeping our parties small, I must admit that I have fallen into the Pinterest-party-planning hole. What did my little one care about? Not the layered jello cups I spent hours pouring or the coordinated plates, cups, tablecloths, and decorations I was was up half the night crafting.

He liked the wrapping paper.

My son has been perfectly happy with our small parties. He is surrounded by his favorite people. That alone makes him happy. Add a balloon, a present, and a cupcake and it’s pretty much his best day ever.

There will come a day, perhaps soon, when he’ll understand enough to tell me who he wants to invite and what type of theme he’d like. I’d rather save the big parties for when he can really appreciate them.

Jo discusses

Do your children get
jealous of other kid’s larger
birthday parties?


Rachel discussesSo far this hasn’t been an issue, but I’m sure one day they will notice that their friends are having bigger parties than them. I am open to throwing bigger parties when they really understand and can ask for them.

This may also be an important lesson though on how people do things differently. We are not going to be able to keep up with the Joneses so my kids will have to accept that reality.

Here at The Moms At Odds we LOVE to debate different styles of parenting.  For more discussion and some fun times too, be sure to follow us on our Facebook page.  If you’d rather get us delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.  

About Author

Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.

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