An Even Lower-Key Toddler Birthday

IMG_4462Little Brother is two years old today. And we’re moving halfway across the country in ten days. Is it any wonder that throwing a birthday party even on my usual modest scale didn’t quite make it into my radar screen?
Fortunately, he’s two, so he doesn’t have any expectations. Here is the sum total of what Little Brother got for his birthday from his parents:

  1. A hand-drawn birthday card. (There is a reason I don’t call myself the Artistic Paragon or the Frugal Artist, but I looked up a tutorial and gave it a shot.)
  2. Homemade sugar cookies, with sprinkles, for a special daycare snack to share.
  3. A trip to the zoo, funded with birthday money provided by other relatives.

The last was his big present. With a move coming up, we’re trying to get rid of toys, not add more! Fortunately, he really, really 020liked the zoo. After about three hours, even with a snack break, Big Brother was starting to lose focus (more climbing on railings, less looking at animals), but Little Brother was going strong.

What do you think–am I an awesome non-materialistic parent, or just cheap and distracted?

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About frugalparagon

I'm a part-time librarian and mom to two small boys. I blog about striving for the long-term goal of financial independence while running a tight ship at home.

8 responses to “An Even Lower-Key Toddler Birthday”

  1. mrs. winter says :

    I think experiences trump material gifts any day – and even though he may not remember most of it, he’ll have the photos and the excitement that the visit inspired. Better than any toy which will be forgotten forever at some point – and a lovely idea!

  2. frugalveganmom says :

    I think that is more of a rhetorical question, you are definitely awesome! I feel sort of shameful when I think of the big party I put on for my 2 year old. It was more for me and to get all our friends & family together, but it did stress me out and she won’t remember it. Future parties will be way more like yours, especially after baby #2 comes along!

  3. The Pinay Mom says :

    I always love low-key birthday celebration. It’s more personal that way. We have birthday cake (small) for the girls and grill hotdogs and celebrate it with 3 couples (including my brother-in law),we give them books and one more present to open.

  4. Rachael says :

    Be proud that you’re helping to fashion a more liveable world than a world drowned in thrown away stuff.

  5. nicoleandmaggie says :

    We do low-key until kids at school start having birthday parties. Then we’ll have a class party in addition to the home party on the actual birthday. Our tradition is that on our birthday we get to pick out a cake and someone in the family makes it (DH usually asks for pineapple upside down cake, the rest of us do something different each year). We have one Christmas baby and one middle-of-the-summer baby, so the family celebration sometimes has extended family because they coincide with vacations. Age two will be at the grandparents’ house in the midwest.

    I’d like to be all virtuous and say we don’t get stuff for the kids, but the truth is that the grandparents give so much stuff that we end up giving away some of what they send unopened because there’s just too much for them to play with. But they like giving and they like to give evenly to all of their grandkids and some of the grandkids are more needy than ours is, so we can’t ask them to cut back. So we direct what we would have spent for gifts on the college fund instead.

    • frugalparagon says :

      Yeah, we’ll have to see what happens when their friends start having parties. I’m sure we can find something that will make the kids happy and not feel embarrassed, but without trying to “keep up with the Joneses” on parties.

      We have the same issue with grandparents giving so much! And the same solution–just buying them less ourselves. It was nice that my mom gave money this year that we could spend on the zoo trip instead of “stuff.”

      • nicoleandmaggie says :

        As problems go, it’s not the worst kind to have. (Especially since a lot of that extra stuff ends up going in the gift closet for other kids’ birthday presents.)

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