Last year I threw a birthday party for my son that included close family and three of his little friends and their associated families. I considered inviting his friends this year but the guest list began growing out of control. If I invite friends from preschool then I feel the need to invite the entire class. That’s eight other children, their parents and siblings. That’s at least twenty four guests!

I could forgo his classmates in favor of friends we’ve made throughout the last three years, but those friends seem to travel in a flock. There are a number of mothers who are all quite close to one another and if I invite one child I feel rather obligated to invite them all.

Again I really don’t want to add another twenty plus people to the guest list, so I’m considering limiting the celebration to include only family members. My son wouldn’t have any little friends at his party, but he would have my parents, my in-laws and both sets of uncles, aunts and cousins.

Our options are:

  • Host a party with just family.
  • Host a party with family and friends even though that includes an extra 20+ people.
  • Host a separate party for just friends at a nearby park or playground. Bring a cake and candles but otherwise keep it casual; like a large play date.

Here are my thoughts….

  • As a three year old I don’t think that he’s missing out on anything by not inviting friends.
  • His birthday falls on a school day, so I will bring mini-cupcakes to preschool so his classmates can sing to him.
  • I always ask guests NOT to bring gifts, so whether they attend or not he won’t be gaining any more toys.

I am leaning towards a family celebration without friends and then possibly hosting a park play date with cake a week later.

What are your thoughts? Did you host a party for your three year old? If so was it worth it? If not do you think your son or daughter missed out on the experience?

PS: I should have mentioned that this issue is not so much about the cost of throwing a party but rather about the hassle of planning a larger celebration.

Photo Credit