Double Up on Birthday Fun
Let’s face it: Birthday parties are fun, but the stress and cost of planning and throwing them can be overwhelming for parents. One solution is to have a joint birthday party for siblings, cousins or friends who have close birthdays. Joint parties are great for kids who have many of the same friends and can reduce the workload for parents.
Here are some things to consider in planning a joint party:
Kids who are several years apart might not fare well with a combined party; separate interests and friends might hinder planning a party that pleases everyone.
Keep in mind that the older the children, the more guests they can handle. Young kids tend to get overwhelmed easily, so having a joint party for 4-year-olds and inviting 30 guests will probably result in overstimulation for the kids (and parents, too!)
If you are collaborating with another parent, make sure you have a similar budget in mind. Planning a simple party with a couple of games and cake, while the other parent wants to bring in ponies and clowns, will invite trouble.
Make a budget and stick with it, regardless of whether you are the sole party planner for your own kids or teaming up with another family.
One theme or separate themes? That depends on the birthday kids’ preferences and possibly gender. Theresa, a Belton mom, has one party for her twin 8-year-old sons and 5-year-old son so her out-of-town family has to travel only once. “I create separate themed invitations with the same date/time and I customize the treat bags for each theme. I do this so the boys feel less cheated.” Shanna, another Belton mom, says, “The key to a successful combined party is finding a common thread and intertwining it... I have heard of friends doing a theme of fairies and pirates, for example.”
A neutral location, such as a bowling alley, petting zoo or park will ensure that one family is not doing all the prep work and cleanup. www.KCParent.com has a “party guide” section if you need ideas on local party venues. Throwing a bash somewhere besides your own home also eliminates the stress of feeling that everything must be spotless before guests arrive. Of course, if the birthday kids are siblings and you have the space and patience to host a party in your home, go for it!
Most parents who have planned double birthday celebrations recommend separate smaller cakes. That way, each child can have a hand in choosing the design and flavor and can have his or her own candles to blow out. Singing Happy Birthday to each birthday kid will also make everyone feel special.
Some parents are hesitant to throw joint birthday parties because they don’t want guests to feel obligated to buy gifts for both kids, particularly if the kids have separate friends who may know only the child who invited them. However, parents who have experience with double parties tend to agree that giving a gift only to the child who invited you is appropriate. Theresa adds, “I have also taught my boys that their parties are about having fun with their friends and not about whether people bring gifts, so if someone doesn't or can't bring one, they are okay with that!”
Tisha Foley and her husband have separate birthday parties for their kids, but often have one big cookout to celebrate all the adults in their family who have summer birthdays! They live in Belton.