The Anti-Pinterest Party

October 16, 2017

When I think back to my childhood birthdays, the things that stand out in my mind are getting to choose my favourite food and finding money in my cake. There was never any elaborate theme, decorations, activities, or fuss. What mattered most was that I got to enjoy my special day, eating my favourite food with my family.

Somewhere in the age of social media, parties have grown into elaborate affairs. I’m guilty of spending too much money on the perfect decorations and party favours for a kid not even old enough to know what’s going on. It’s definitely fun to go all out for a party but I think sometimes we lose sight of why we are doing it. Are we doing it because we feel like we have to in order to keep up with everyone else on social media? Are we doing it to show off on social media?

This year, for Liam’s 5th birthday, I didn’t want to bother with keeping up with the brag-worthy, Instagramable, Pinterest-inspired party. I wanted Liam to be able to celebrate his special day simply, with his favourite people. I wanted his birthday memories to be about who was there and how he felt, rather than what theme he had and how pretty everything looked.

At the end of the day, does he really care that all his food matches a theme? Nah, he just wants to eat an acceptable amount of food so he can eat cake. Does he care that you spent $80 on custom decorated cupcakes? Nope, he just wants a cake. Is he going to notice if there are decorations or not? No, he’s going to be too busy tearing apart his gifts. So why would I stress myself out and shell out way too much money finding the perfect venue, matching decorations, and theme appropriate food?

This year I said forget it.

I decided I was going to order in pizza, make a simple cake with money hidden inside (just as I got as a kid), let the kids open presents and entertain themselves. I didn’t curate the guest list, I let Liam decide who he wanted to invite. There was no fuss and nothing that produced beautiful, inspiring party pictures to post on the internet.

And you know what? It was perfect. He had the best time.

He woke up on his birthday to the annual tradition of balloons and gifts waiting for him at the kitchen table. We spent the day at the zoo as a family, and with his best friend, before coming home for pizza, cake and gifts with four of his other closest friends. The kids loved finding coins in their cake, they worked together to build a new Lego set Liam was gifted, and ran amok having a blast until bedtimes were lingering. It was not fancy, but it didn’t matter.

At the end of the day, snuggled up in bed on the verge of sleep Liam said, “Mom, this was the best birthday.”


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  • Reply
    October 17, 2017 at 8:08 am

    That sounds like a fun day. I totally don’t understand these elaborate, expensive, instagram worthy parties, either.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2017 at 8:20 am

    This sounds like a perfect birthday. It sounds like the birthdays I had as a kid.
    Plus… money in the cake is the best!!

    • Reply
      October 18, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Right? I need someone to make me money cakes for my birthdays, but with like $100 in it lol

  • Reply
    October 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

    First of all I love this and I am so glad he had the best birthday. It sounds like a great day and I LOVED money cakes as a kid too! So fun. I need to do that for the kids.
    I also feel like this post was so directed at me! ha ha But I will say I did elaborate baby showers before pinterest was thing and have always loved going all out for parties. It’s a passion of mine and I look forward to it. I don’t do it to show off or to brag on Instagram, hopefully I don’t come across as that kind of person. Sure it was ridiculous to have all those details for their parties when they were too young to enjoy it but like I said, it was for me. I do it for my enjoyment and now Delainey loves it just as much as I do. She helped with every single detail of her party and was so excited about it. I also don’t spend a lot, I make budget and do everything within that budget and as cheap as possible, making everything myself. But anyways that’s just me.

    • Reply
      October 18, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      You know that this was in no way directed at you. I love how beautiful your parties are. <3

  • Reply
    Jo @ Living Mint Green
    October 17, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Right?! Why do we even do the things we do. My sister is a total Pinterest Mom… and I get it, because she likes crafts, but I feel like it’s more about the parents than the kids.
    I’m definitely going to make money cake for my future kid! That was always a highlight for me growing up as well.

    • Reply
      October 18, 2017 at 5:11 pm

      Yeah, if you have the time, patience and money to go all out, go for it. But it’s totally ok to say no when that kind of thing just isn’t for you. The internet shouldn’t define how we think we need to be as a parent (or human in general).

      I feel bad for kids who didn’t have money cakes!!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    So glad that Liam had a great birthday! We never did the money in the cake thing, but friends did growing up. My mom sometimes had themed parties for me because I was born so close to Halloween that it made it easy.

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