Alternative Ways to Celebrate Your Child’s Birthday

Parents spend on a giant slide, photo booth, large popcorn maker, or even bring in a famous hot dog franchise and a cotton candy maker to make the best birthday party for their kids. They spend anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars.

But could there be a different way for your kid to celebrate a birthday without the cakes, the piñatas, and all the other extravaganzas? Is there an alternative to the typical birthdate party celebration for kids?

Expenditure Cascade

A birthday party for a five-year-old kid at a ski resort? How did that happen? That’s a bit of a long story that Google can answer. But the point is, how did celebrating a kid’s birthday party became this extravagant? Parents of baby boomers can recall that balloons, some cakes, and a parlor game were enough to celebrate a child’s party. Now it’s done at a ski resort.

Professor Robert H. Frank of Cornell University has a term for this phenomenon of extravagant spending. It’s called “expenditure cascade.” Simply put, when those at the top tier of the income level pay more for a product, the behavior cascades to everyone else and raises their expectations and their habit of spending. It is perhaps a re-statement of the expression “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

Alternative Ways to Celebrate

family on a resort trip


Any savings by not spending a scandalous amount of money for a kid’s birthday party will help. It’s time to introduce yourself to alternative ways of celebrating birthdays.

Scale it down.

Not 25 friends are coming over. Just two of the best friends. First, make your child know that you are celebrating, but you’re just doing it differently. Surprise her with something different that starts her day. Take her with you for her first manicure and pedicure session. Then your child and her friends can spend time at home dressing up as princesses, watching movies and eating cake.

Special breakfast.

Breakfast starts the day. And one of the best ways to let your child know that he/she is special is by doing something at the start of the day. Cook a fancy breakfast that your child will appreciate, like waffles and sausages or fruits and whipped cream.

Sports activity.

Bowling is good and can get everyone in the family involved, including extended family members. You can form teams to compete against each other. Going to a batting range and working on your child’s swing is an excellent way to bond.

Take a family trip.

It can be just outside of the city or to places near your city that you usually don’t go, but it will be an exciting place. Maybe have your child pick a destination, with some restrictions, of course.

Do something significant.

Start introducing your child to the important stuff, like caring for the environment or caring for disadvantaged people. Find out if there are activities in the city related to environmental conservation and fighting climate change. It can be a visit to a museum or an organization working in initiatives, like planting trees or cleaning the ocean.

Go on a picnic, stay at a hotel room and order room service, or visit an amusement park. These are also great ways of celebrating your child’s birthday without breaking your bank account. Let your imagination run wild.

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