I’ve discovered the key to saving my sanity come birthday celebration time.

Let me preface with this though: I love my kids and spend much of my time and energy ensuring their happiness. Sometimes that’s in the form of ice cream and movie night and other times it’s in the form of teaching self sufficiency by requiring them to put on their own pants. Love comes in different forms!

But the key to stress-free birthday parties for our family? Just don’t do it.

Now if you WANT to do it, great. But I’d be willing to bet most of us do it because it’s is what is expected of us as parents. Perhaps the pressure comes from our kids, perhaps from other parents, perhaps from our own parents. Whoever it is, if you aren’t feeling it, it’s totally ok to skip it! Even after a small party for my little one’s first birthday earlier this year, I was WORN out. So for my older one’s third birthday, we had a simple celebration at the beach.

A friend of mine allows her children to choose between one of the following items for their birthdays: birthday presents, a trip, or a party. We’ll be doing this from now on and allowing it to become part of our “less is more” philosophy.