My baby boy just turned three. Three days before his birthday I finally decide that I’ll have a birthday party. That is not a lot of notice. So why did I wait so long? Because I was fearful of the outcome. Birthdays, like most events come with a whole lot of planning, a whole lot of things and a whole lot of waste. Call me a party pooper but it’s true. And no matter how hard I try to tell people, please no gifts, my friends are just too sweet and don’t listen. I figured I’d just do Sunday with my parents. We don’t get each other gifts for any occasions, not even Christmas… and it has been that way for years until baby boy came along. He got all the gifts and even thought it wouldn’t be very much, he’d get bored of them or break them in just a few days. It drove me crazy.
Last year for his birthday, for loot bags, I made everyone a home-made body butter in mason jars and I decided to give everyone else’s kids gifts too. I went to Value Village and got 2 little bags of assorted toys, wrapped them in newspaper and handed them out at the same time that my son opened his gifts. I didn’t want to make anyone feel left out and in the Philippines the tradition on your birthday is that you pay and treat your guests. Of course there was lots to throw out, tons of plastic used from all the food I bought, lots of money spent and many, many wonderful gifts received.
This year after contemplating a good week or two about a birthday party, I decided to do it but do it differently. I invited close friends, (the ones that I knew wouldn’t feel stressed about coming, like my girl friend with month old twins and a toddler – love you Erin!) to come together to celebrate. One friend said she could host and I simply asked everyone to come for 2 hours, bring something to nibble on, no presents please and just enjoy each other’s company in the sun.
So it was just that and it was perfect. My friends who don’t like to listen (love you ladies) did manage to give gifts with zero wrapping and were either home-made or thrifted: a handmade super-hero cape, a waterproof reusable lunch bag and reusable treat bags, pads (but that was for me), money, food, and most importantly, everyone’s presence. It was the perfect reason to see my amazing Mama friends, all of our kids together and take pictures of women I love.
And I must add, for about 10 kids and 5-6 adults, we did a pretty fantastic job of a zero waste birthday party.
Afterwards it was a family dinner and my family all listened too! No presents, except money, a bank account for baby boy and a stuffed Peggy the Pig with a hand written book (see picture above) from his Auntie. He still got to blow out candles on a delicious cheesecake my cousin baked and we ate lots of good filipino food.
It was such a wonderful day. My son slept like a log. The next morning, I asked him what his favourite part about his birthday was and his response: “All of it.”