My daughter was born on Leap Day so we knew for a while that her eighth/second birthday this year would be a big deal. She had four parties, and an almost week long visit from her grandparents. I was talking to a friend of mine about this who pointed out that this year her daughter was having three parties, and she isn't a Leap Day baby. "It's like the Queen's Jubilee," she joked. How did we get in to this mess with the multiple parties? Well, there's the party for the birthday child's friends, the family party and then of course, if neither of  those parties winds up occurring on the actual birthday, you have a separate immediate family party on the day of the birthday. Too much? We have some solutions. 

One of the reasons people wind up having separate "family" and "friend" parties is because they don't want their child trying to divide attention between grandparents and friends, or because they don't want to try and plan a multi-generational party.While we love multi-generational parties if this is your concern, why not have the parties overlap slightly. Invite friends for a kid's party from 11-1, and then plan on having your family over from 12:30-2:30. Yes, it's a long day, but the bonus is you have other adults around to help with cake serving and clean up, and you only need one birthday cake. This idea is best for grade schoolers not preschoolers who will be exhausted by the long day. Another reason for the multi-party dilemma is the need to avoid a weekday party. But why? Weekday parties can be a cost effective idea in terms of entertainment and venues - and depending on the age of the child, they don't require Mom and Dad to take a day off from work.

For family parties, a simple pizza dinner in or out of the house allows you to do something special on the day of the birthday. For grade school kids a 4-6 party allows you to only miss a couple of hours of work, and still have all the guests home in time for dinner and bed. For older kids, a four or five o'clock movie matinee allows you to do the same (and save some money). For preschoolers, if you don't mind taking a little time off work a sleep under can take place as early as four.

Do you feel like your kid gets too many celebrations? Have you ever tried a weekday party?