Having kids born four days apart (you can see my whole journey to motherhood over on the Listen To Your Mother Boston blog, hint hint) has worked out well for our family. Obviously, we don't know anything different, and celebrating more often over the course of the year is probably fun, but it's worked out okay for us. We get through the extended holiday season by adding in birthdays, and so long as we try to purchase any "hot" toys in advance of Christmas that they might want for their birthdays, we haven't had many issues over the years. Last year we threw both of their parties in one weekend, and we're doing it again this year.
So far, we've done a lot of "big" parties. Maybe I'm compensating for times when I was left out of things as a kid, but I hate limiting a guest list and try to include as many people as we reasonably can. Sometimes it's been a bit chaotic, but honestly, I've thought every party has gone well. There's only one side effect of a big party that I don't enjoy: party favors.
I'm not creative and I'm always low on time. Other than the pregnancy-induced hysteria of buying expensive prepackaged goody bags for Hannah's party two weeks after Max was born, I've always managed to find some things to throw together and hand out, but it's an experience that always leaves me stressed. There are so many factors involved. I hate having silly clutter in my own home, so the idea of passing it out to others has never felt that great. Some years we've done one bigger item, but those can be hard to find and are usually not much better than the silly clutter. My kids don't want to pass out books, despite having happily received them at other parties. I don't mind including some candy, but it has to be individually wrapped and nut-free. And then there's the quantity. Do you plan for only the kids that RSVP'd? Or all of the kids who could still potentially show up? What about siblings that might end up coming as well? Ugh. I end up thinking about it all way too much. But when I think of cutting them out, all I can see is disappointed kids at the end of the party. Including mine.
This year, the favors aren't going to be that great. I feel like I'm toeing the line between something my kids will consider passable, and my desire to to keep things simple. There are no cute gift bags, but there are also no noisemakers, so you have to give me some credit. The candy meets my guidelines, and the toys are small enough that they shouldn't add much clutter to a home.
I'm already thinking ahead to next year though. I'm hoping this is our last year of "big" parties. The kids are getting older, and they don't look like this little girl anymore. Because I definitely didn't have the willpower to deny this child a noisemaker.