My first born and third born on their first birthdays. Note the homemade monkey smash cake for #1 and the simple cupcakes made with assistance of second born for #3’s first birthday. You’re just as loved third baby but mama has less baking time and way less ambition.
This no-gift birthday was harder to pull off than the first.
Why? His brothers. Older and wiser siblings sure do create more challenges for doing no-gifts. In the continued attempt to keep it real when sharing my own story, our oldest claimed that he couldn’t make a birthday gift for his brother and that presents had to be new and from the store.
Oh dear, kid. I won’t tell you how much of your train set, the one you’ve been collecting for three years, is the no longer loved castoffs from kids in London that I bought off eBay.co.uk.
So yeah, we’re still working on why second hand is great. And my kids like toy stores and new stuff. We’re not minimalist super stars but we’re always trying.
Our third born’s first birthday was a very low-key immediate family only affair. With the five of us, it felt like plenty. We made cupcakes, we sang, he ate a cupcake. My oldest forgot about the whole gift thing and I let him keep forgetting. I think some Grandma’s might have gifts for him at a later date but the actual birthday was celebrated simply and it felt like enough.
It won’t always be this way. Actually, it isn’t always this simple with our family. Our oldest was feted many times for his recent birthday. There was a present and celebration on the day. I whipped up a breakfast ‘birthday cake’ that morning that used a banana as a sugar substitute and was cooked in the microwave. Not winning any Pinterest awards with that and I thought it tasted awful. The older two were, however, thrilled to be eating cake with their breakfast and they loved it. And there were two actual parties, one with family and one with his schoolmates. It was a lot. For the schoolmate party we made pizza and cupcakes, the kids mostly ran around and played and we asked that people bring a $2 coin instead of a traditional gift. For family we had lunch and cake.
Aiming for minimalism doesn’t mean not celebrating. In our plans, it doesn’t always mean no gifts either.I’ve been thinking about this a lot after talk with Evelyn over at the Smallish Blog (more on that to come).
We are in a golden age with the kids for certain events. I loved Halloween this year and it’s traditionally been a holiday I don’t look forward to. But this year, three little guys in costume for two days straight, looking adorable and oh so excited, it was a joy. Their wonder and excitement was infectious. I don’t want to miss out on that because I know it’s not here forever.
So, our Christmas this year won’t be a no-gift Christmas. We haven’t quite settled on logistics but it will be full of joy and family and children that are thrilled with activities and fun, and yes, some gifts. Because I’m holding onto this magic for as long as it’s here.