This week my little man turned 4 and I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. This is his year of leaving pre-school, starting the huge adventure that is big boy school and continuing to amaze us with his wonderful personality. He really is just a ball of energy, so happy and inquisitive and full of cheekiness. He has a sweet nature yet a fiery temper and I can’t wait to see where that will take him!
Birthdays for Jaspy have always consisted of presents and parties, alongside quality time with family and friends of course. I’ve always been sensible with gifts, never going overboard because I want him to be appreciative and never spoilt, and this year I’ve been on a huge minimalistic journey. One thing that I’ve loved is how it’s not only made me but the boys more content and grateful. We hold a lot more value to the items that we love and are more selective with what we do and who we spend time with so it just seemed natural this year to keep things as minimal as comfortable. I would say as minimal as possible but I don’t want it to be a challenge, it’s about what suits our lifestyle.
My view on minimalism isn’t to strive for empty but to have a life full of things that you want, love and need. If you want to have 50 pairs of shoes that you love then keep them, just don’t keep 50 books you never read. My view’s the same when it comes to the boys belongings, I’m happy for Jasper to have a toy box full of toys but only if they’re all loved and wanted, that way he stays focused on them all and gets the most out of playtime without distractions.
It just so happens though that he doesn’t want a heap of toys, he’s an outdoor kid and can stretch his imagination to the max with minimal toys. We have a lot of hand me downs already from big cousins so when it came to buying him anything for his birthday there wasn’t anything he needed nor particularly wanted. We decided not to get him anything and for anyone that asked what to get him we suggested taking him out for the day – time is the most valuable gift you can give someone and that’s a lesson I really want him to understand.
If people insisted on gifts we suggested money which we’d put towards an experience like a national trust membership or Peppa Pig world pass or simply for when he does think of a toy that he really wants.
When it came to having a party we coincidentally planned to go on holiday over the date of his birthday with all of my family and as soon as he knew he would be spending his big day with his muma, daddy, little brother, two big cousins, grandma, granddad, two aunties and uncle – he looked fit to burst! We could have fit a party in between travels but he was so content with family time that I thought we’d wait until a year that he really wants a party.
So on the day of his 4th birthday Jasper woke up in sunny Pathos, Cyprus and spent the day playing in the splash pool, at the park and rocking away at the kids disco!
He did end up getting a handful of presents, a few t-shirts, dinosaur cars and a super awesome dinosaur water soaker and he was so happy with them that it made me want to get home and minimise his toys even more! To see him so content with so little really is such a wonderful feeling that he doesn’t rely on boxes full of toys to keep him happy and that he’s not too materialistic just yet.
The hotel that we stayed in made a huge effort too which saved me the job of decorating/ buying a cake. They decorated the table at breakfast time with balloons and then at dinner decorated it again plus they gave us adults a bottle of bubbly, the kids had a kids cocktail each and they brought a cake over and sung happy birthday.
I did order this lovely personalised cake topper which was made in speedy time and delivered the day before we left for me to sneak into the suitcase. It’s by Aria Lily Designs and I requested it in green as that’s Jaspers favourite colour at the moment!
After dinner we watched the entertainment and there was a great magician as well as the usual dancing and games. The kids entertainers called Jasper up on stage to sing happy birthday to him and gave him a diploma for being the birthday boy!
He also got a sparkler in his drink which just made his night!
It may not seem that minimalistic being that we were on a fantastic all inclusive holiday but it really did make me realise how the little things are much more meaningful than the big gestures.
It was also quite easy to have not planned anything as we were already in such a fun place but it’s really made me think that for his next birthday I’ll try to follow the same kind of day, forgetting about the extravagant gifts and decorations and focusing on the experiences, the effort and quality time … with a few balloons and things to open for added measure!
How do you celebrate your little ones birthdays? Do you go crazy with gifts to make it extra special or try to make it special in other ways? I’d also love to know if your children are older do they grow into wanting parties and presents more because they see their friends having them?
Thanks for reading!