Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fabulous (Yet Frugal) Birthdays

It is the middle of birthday season around our house. The three oldest kids all have summertime birthdays; Olivia in June, Alex in July, and Isabelle in August. (Gracie kicks it off a little early with a March birthday, but that's okay!) So every summer we find ourselves pondering ways to make sure each child has a fabulous birthday.

One thing we've noticed, and I know we are not alone in this, is that our kids are excited with most toys they get as gifts for about a week at most. Yet what is a childhood birthday without some fun presents to open? Here is how we handle presents:

  • We only buy unique toys, or toys that we know will be specifically special for that particular child.

  • We set a price limit ($20) on all birthday presents, and we keep that limit across the board for each child.

  • We have found wonderful deals in the clearance section of toy departments. For Alex's birthday this week, we bought him a remote control Hummer. Regularly priced, this cost around $40. However, we found it for $15 on a clearance shelf because the packaging was torn. That was the only problem with it. The truck runs perfectly.

  • We tend to buy seasonal gifts for birthdays. We find that those toys are much more likely to get played with throughout the summer because we all want to be outside anyhow. And by the following summer, they are just as excited to play with last year's present as any other outdoor toys.

  • We like to buy at least one toy that guarantees recipient extra time with mom and/or dad. Alex's RC truck fits the bill perfectly as the ticket to extra one-on-one time with dad.

Our overall goal for the children's birthdays is to make sure the day itself (and usually the surrounding days also) are special. We fill this time with lots of good memories that will be cherished and remembered much longer than the fad-of-the-moment toy. We take lots of pictures also. As a family, we really enjoy looking through our pictures together and reliving special days. The best gift we give our children for their birthdays is our time. It may not come wrapped up in pretty paper (which will just get thrown away anyhow), but it does come wrapped in love.

Another birthday treat we make sure to include is special meals. The kids start putting in their requests at least a month before the actual day. And each child gets to help in the preparation of their special meals also, which is such a treat for them (even though they do it almost every other day too).

I was going to say that our children would be the first to tell that their birthday's are fabulous without all the expensive extras. But you know what? That's just not true. They wouldn't say that because honestly, they just don't realize there is any difference. Their birthday's are fabulous - that is all they know and all they care about.

Visit Biblical Womanhood for more Frugal Friday.


Anonymous,  7:56 AM  

That's awesome, Kate. We don't spend much on birthdays, either. We're almost on your same b-day schedule here... May, July and August!

Brooke 10:47 AM  

time with family is often more special than any expensive gift that one could buy. :) glad your kids realize that.

ahorne 1:20 PM  

That*is* great. We do the same - and of course, our birthdays fall in a cluster too (September and 2 in October).

Laura 3:45 PM  

I love keeping things simple with birthdays, and that our kids love them anyway!

Audra Krell 10:39 PM  

I want to celebrate my birthday at your house! It sounds really great. Truth be told, my husband has taught our three boys very well and they make me a queen most days of the year. On my birthday they get me a lot of small, very thoughtful gifts.

Totallyscrappy 9:57 PM  

I really enjoy celebrating birthdays. I never knew how stressful and complicated birthday celebrating can be until I had children.
I love the simple ways you make each child's birthday special.

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