Why We’re Not Having A First Birthday Party

My youngest is about to turn one year old. I ran into a friend at daycare the other day, who asked about plans for his birthday party. She seemed genuinely confused when I told her that we are not having a party for him. Why in the world would we not celebrate our baby’s first birthday party? I gave her a vague answer and excused myself to go fetch my children. If there had been time or I had a desire to more-fully explain myself, I could have given her plenty of reasons to skip out on this typical parenting responsibility.


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1. We Don’t Need Any More Toys

I continue to make more storage room for toys. Yet, the cars, action figures, blocks, and miscellany of unknown origin continue to overflow into every room of our house. For now, this almost one-year old is perfectly content playing with his older sibling’s toys. In fact, his favorite things to do are chewing on kitchen utensils or playing peek-a-boo with a dish towel.



2. We Don’t Need Any More Clothes

My almost one-year old is not worried about whether his clothes are trendy. He prefers being naked or staying in his pajamas all day (at least that’s my belief). My first child was also a boy. We received tons of outfits for him every holiday, in addition to hand-me-downs from so many friends. He has more than enough outfits to destroy at daycare, with a few special ensembles for special occasions. I even found something that still had tags on it the other day. The only article of clothing that wouldn’t be completely superfluous might be some socks, because those darn things are always disappearing.



3. I Can’t Afford To Treat All Of Our Family, Friends, And Neighbors

First birthday parties are really just an excuse for adults to gather and gossip catch up with each other. Parents take some pictures of the kids playing together and eat some snacks while they all destroy someone else’s house. So, here’s the thing, we are deep in debt right now and working hard to pay it off. Improving our finances is more important to our family than entertaining acquaintances. I’m not going to spend money on expensive, matching character plates and napkins that will almost immediately end up in garbage bags at the curb. Not to mention the food and drinks which add up so quickly.



4. I Don’t Really Have Time To Get My House “Party Clean” Right Now

People often make that comment that they don’t know how I “do it all.” Well, I actually don’t do everything, especially not regular cleaning of the house. It’s not dirty, just rather messy. My parents might come over on my son’s birthday. They are used to the general disarray that is our current living situation. But I don’t need my friends who brag about cleaning schedules and labeled storage containers to spend an afternoon scrutinizing the clutter in our house. There are toys scattered in every room (as mentioned above). There is a buffet in our dining room, somewhere under all of that artwork sent home from school. And God forbid any guests accidentally wander into my bedroom. We all only have so much time every day and I have a lot on my plate. A sparkling clean house is just not a priority right now.



5. He Will Have A Happier Birthday Without A Crowd

My little guy is still pretty much a baby. He’s generally happy, but the noise and activity of a big party will take away from his enjoyment of the day. He will stare at unfamiliar faces and quickly tire due to all of the attention. Odds are that his nap schedule will be interrupted. With all of this disruption from the norm, it will difficult to even get a good picture of my typically-smiley little boy.



We will have a small celebration instead of the usual circus that is a first birthday party. I will bake him a little cake and let him smash it, capturing that hilarious disaster on film and in photos (which will be posted on Facebook for anyone that truly wants to see it). I understand if other moms want to invite over friends so they can show off their Pinterest skills and a clean, well-decorated home. But I don’t feel guilty for not having a big, expensive party under the guise that it’s for my son. Don’t tell me that he is going to miss out. I promise you that he will have a fun day.


The Almost One-Year-Old
The Almost One-Year-Old


If anyone really want to spend some time “celebrating” the birthday boy, they should come on over to my messy house and play with him. He would love to crawl around and chew on things with any visitors, and I could really use some free babysitting for an hour or two.




  1. Val

    We don’t have big parties for our kids either, usually just us and occasionally other family members. Once they are close to the teen years, the party is a dinner out somewhere as a treat. We had a few small parties for the older ones years ago, but they were low key. It’s fine if someone wants to throw a big bash, to a certain degree at least, but I’m glad my kids have never felt the need for them. 🙂

  2. Good decision. I had a party for our first-born and I was already 4 months pregnant again and I found it very stressful. You are right it is just an excuse for adults to hang out. My kids are now 6 and 7 – there will be plenty of years where they will pressure you for a party; we have a family policy of a party only every 2nd year, and in the odd years, we have a special outing / experience with just the 4 of us. They will remember that more than all the toys given as presents.

  3. Confession – when friends or colleagues talk about the huge parties they throw for their 1 and 2 years olds, I have to try really hard to not roll my eyes.

    Maybe I’m a grinch, and stingy. Can I blame my parents, who never made a fuss about our birthdays ever? (To be fair, I think they made MORE of an effort when we were really young if the photos are anything to go by, but I don’t remember those early ones obviously).

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