Have a special birthday without spending an arm and a leg

So your special girl or boy is having a birthday. This year you want to do something special but you aren't having a party and you don't want to have to mortgage the house to pay for it.

There are many ways you can make the day special for them without spending loads of money. When children are asked what they would like most for their special day - the answer may surprise you but more often than not is to spend time with their parents. Kids thrive from having extra attention from their family and not in a material way.

So here are some tips I got from my friends and family for making the birthday a day to remember and not because it ended with a pile of presents!

The morning

  • Fill their room with balloons so when they wake up it feels like the party has started
  • Decorate the lounge with streamers and get everyone in the family to write down some birthday messages so they can read them as they get up and put pictures up around the house celebrating their life.
  • Let them have anything they want for breakfast – this may mean a bowl of ice cream (and a sugar high) but hey it’s only one day!
room with balloons

The afternoon

  • Let them pick all the activities for the day. And everyone gets to join in.
  • Have a games afternoon where they pick the games – you can even do party games with the family if you aren’t having a party. You don’t need to have a party to play pin the tail on the ‘mom’ – put a picture of yourself up and let the kids pin a tail on you! Or pass the parcel or bingo. Anything can be done with at home with the family. 
  • If you want to do something bigger plan an outing to the zoo or the aquarium or wherever they have been wanting to go but you haven't had the time to get there.
  • If it’s a school day consider letting them have the day off – bonus is if you work you get the day off too! My daughter loves mummy – daughter days so she’d like nothing more than one on one time with me.
  • If you go to school arrange to have some friends meet you outside and sing happy birthday to them in front of the school. Kind of like a flash mob! And send them with an extra cool lunch!
  • Decorate the car so you have a party on wheels that goes wherever you go!
lunch box inspo

The evening

  • Not having a party? This doesn’t mean you can’t have party food. Have all their favourites for dinner.
  • Put together a slide show of images of their life and sit as family and watch it. Kids love to see pictures of themselves and then you’ll have a lovely memento you can all enjoy
  • Let them stay up late and watch their favourite movie
  • Have a spa session where they can have a foot massage and manicure and pedicure along with an indulgent bath


As kids get older they love keep sakes and more adultlike gifts.

  • Give them a beautiful bunch of flowers
  • Start a diary together where each day you both put a memory in – this will be something you both will love to read in the future
  • Start a memory jar for next year where you each put in a memory or picture in and then turn that into a memoir book that you give to them next year
  • Start a tradition where you give them something the same each year such as a pic of the family in a frame so you can see how things change year to year
  • start a bank account for them so they can learn the importance of saving and the power of compound interest. They can then use that money when they reach a certain age!
  • Do a scavenger hunt for the gifts – they can be small keepsakes but hide them around the house to add to the fun.
  • and if they have that one special thing they want surprise them with it!

Birthdays are fun and believe me I love throwing party and I love going to my jewellery parties and seeing kids having fun with their friends but sometime memories are the nicest gifts of all!