Just as my husband was flipping out over the down payment I made on the 2nd birthday party that we "weren't having," I heard a phrase on the radio while listening to SoJo 104.something while driving on I-95: Birthday Party Circuit. As in, "if you are on the birthday party circuit, we have news for you about how to find the best gifts that won't leave you taking out a second mortgage on your house." I believe I was on my way, little guy in tow, to a karate birthday party for a little dude named Noah that lives 5 states away (if you count DC and cut through PA).
I like the phrase! And it makes a lot of sense to me now that I am perhaps over involved in planning birthday party #2 as well as getting started on #3 for April 22, 2007 - an Earth Day birthday complete with tie-dying and (fake) worm hunts through potting soil. Vegan birthday cake anyone?
I am facing the facts, I am a planner. I planned all of the Spirit Weeks and Proms in high school, I planned events for my sorority, I planned my wedding in about 2 days flat...I like planning! And now that I don't get to go anywhere, I don't get to plan extravagant brunches, I don't get to so much as enjoy an away weekend wedding (because half of the time it is much more fun to hang out with the little dude) I may as well have fun planning parties for Harry and the children of my friends.
At Noah's birthday last weekend, I had a blast not just watching the kids, but also hanging out with adult humans in a party atmosphere while the little people could have cared less what we were doing. They had cake and other people's toys! Often, it is an opportunity to see family of family, whose company I enjoy but we aren't close enough to make plans together on our own. This weekend I got to see peopel I hadn't seen in 13 years. It is also nice to chat with people you suddenly have so much in common with!
The trend now in our area for some kids is to accept charitable donations instead of birthday gifts. Perhaps this has caught on from the same idea in lieu of wedding favors. I think this is great for kids who understand the concept, and I already planned to do this with the tooth fairy money (some of it). I think for Earth Day Birthday, this would also be a great idea, so we can start that next year (can't wait to see what my family has to say about this one!).
While I won't ban gifts this year, my true focus is the favors to give to the other kids. I know for some this may seem extreme, and I suppose in some instances this can get out of control (anyone read White House Nannies? We won't be getting signed first additions for anyone, or even autographed hockey pucks for that matter). I am just thinking a mix CD for each kid, some Barrel a Monkeys to go with the monkey/gym theme. What's wrong with that? It makes me happy, and I will use the money I could have spent on Bloody Mary mix for the brunch we've put off or Apple Martinis for that Morroccan Night that I am too tired to throw!