Why I Stopped Buying My Kids Birthday Presents
I remember when my birthday consisted of a store bought $20 birthday cake of fluffy, sugary frosting and a big playdate with friends. There was no expectation of a super party, no goody bags. It was all about good friends, them watching the opening of presents and just simply having fun.
Now I look around the parties and I see bounce houses and ponies and grand cakes, which is awesome for other families, but for mine I decided to put a hold on things. I am taking our birthday parties back to the old school. I want to help our daughters realize that life is not about ‘stuff’. It is about the people that you love and that love you. Here is what I learned along this journey of focusing on making memories, not the ‘things’.
1. When my kids asked me what we got them I answered “amazing memories”! On their real birthday, we took each child out to lunch or dinner by themselves (which was a complete treat with a 6, 4 and 2 year old in our house) Let’s face it I can’t be the only mom that sees our kids play with a new toy and then a few days later it is old news. More toys is definitely not something they need, thus I have actually never bought them toys myself in years.
2. Then when it came to the celebration day, seeing the girls enjoying a fun playdate with friends was amazing. Their giant smiles said it all! As they laid down to sleep that night we focused on the fun memories they made, not the presents they got (although we appreciated our friends kindness)
I hope in re-calibrating our birthday parties and helping my kids to recognize that true fulfillment in life comes from the people we surround ourselves with that love us, and the memories we make. When my mom died last year, it became immediately evident to me that I did not remember one toy I got or one item she bought me. What I cling to remembering about her is the times we went to football games together, seeing her face as I blew out my birthday candles, shopping for books together at the bookstore and the quality time we spent together. Even as I write about our time together my heart fills with joy and perhaps a fond smile crosses my face still. I can only hope I will be half the mom she was to me and I hope this decision was a step in the right direction for my own kids.
What has been your child’s favorite birthday memory?
Would love to hear!