Parenting Hack: Why A Birthday Fun Day Is The Best Gift Ever
Birthdays can be hectic. Life is hectic. So when it comes to gifts for your kids, give them the gift of memories.
My son is turning 17 today. And again, for the 15th year in a row, he will not be opening presents from us. We haven't bought presents for him or his sister for years now.
And they love it.
Where the "Birthday Fun Day" came from
Years ago we did what every many parents do every year for their kids on their birthday. We would plan a huge party to get together with family and friends. We'd buy the cake and the presents and people would come to celebrate with more presents. There would be a whirlwind of wrapping paper and cards, then everyone would go home. The kids would pick a present or two that they really liked to play with and the rest went in the playroom. A couple years later we would donate those toys for someone else's kids to enjoy.
Don't get me wrong, we were incredibly blessed to have so many people that wanted to get together with us, but it was there and gone and felt really cookie cutter.
Instead, we decided that we would spend our kids' next birthdays planning what we called a "Birthday Fun Day." It was a day that we would always spend together as a family. We would let them choose the activities, and we would do just about anything they wanted to do. But we would do it as a family.
What kinds of things can you do on a "Birthday Fun Day?"
We have done just about everything! When they were little, we went to the zoo a lot. We have spent days at trampoline parks, and going to the Lego Store, even when it was only in Rochester. We've gone ziplining at Riverworks. We try new restaurants and new foods. We've done escape rooms and just watched movies.
There are really just two rules
The first rule is that we do it together. We all take the whole day to be with each other.
The second rule is that the birthday kid gets to choose just about everything we do.
That's it. It's all about spending time together.
Don't think it's going to be cheaper
If you're thinking about a cheap way to spend a birthday, this isn't always it. But it doesn't have to be ridiculously expensive either. You could just have a picnic on a beach, or play a sport all day.
People always think I'm nuts when I tell them that we don't buy presents for our kids on their birthday. But this way, we both get something out of it. Because before you know it, they're all grown up. It happens faster than you know.