A Case for Fuss-Free First Birthdays
by: Jillian Greenberg
It has become standard in the US that when your child turns one you throw an obscenely large party. The celebrations include everything from two cakes to a bounce house and live entertainment. And this is just for the first birthday. You know, the one your child won't remember? No judgement to my friends who decided to go this route. I just knew it wasn't right for our family - Amy Poehler's motto is worth repeating here, "Good for her! Not for me." I personally did not enjoy birthday parties as a child and eventually stopped having them - the hype often was greater than the event itself and many times I felt let down and disappointed.
When it came time to throw a party for my daughter, my husband and I decided no extravagant party. Instead, a get together that was a celebration of us as a family. It was, after all, our one year anniversary.
The occasion included Costco food dressed up a little and put in pretty dishes (amazing how good hummus looks with a little feta sprinkled on top), a few balloons for the kids to kick around on the floor, homemade banana muffins in lieu of cake, some flowers (as a treat to myself) and a few bottles of rosé (another treat to myself because, y'all, childbirth is no joke).
Because I wasn't running around picking up cakes and scheduling entertainment, I was able to savor the whole weekend with my family, celebrating our most amazing daughter. I was able to cook in the kitchen with my mom, enjoy conversations with friends, sit on the floor with the kids and have a glass or two of that wine.
The party was an opportunity to invite our closest friends and family to our house - my very favorite pastime. Sure, I felt the pressure but ultimately decided not to buy into the commercial machine and obligatory gifts that so often consumes holidays. Best of all, it put little to no stress on our family emotionally or financially.
Celebrations with heart are at the core of the Très Américain life. We live to celebrate but aim to sharpen the focus on what's most important.