3rd bday is coming and I have issues... need help


10 Years
Apr 7, 2009
So first let me say that DD's 3rd birthday is January 27th. I know there are 6 months to go but I've started to plan. My first problem is with my family. My father comes from a family of 5 siblings + a foster family with 5 siblings. My mother is an only child but my grandmother is one of five siblings.

So how do I have a birthday party for a 3 year old who has no friends and lots and lots of family members? I can't invite one with out the others.

My mom has told me it is a stupid idea but I would rather guests to bring a donation of a book or board game for children's hospital instead of gifts or even bring nothing at all. Our daughter has enough and even though my mother knows this she still told me "Well I'll be bringing her gifts." Which I responded, "she will open it after the party then and she doesn't need more then one or two." I figure my parents will give her 1 gift and we will giving her 1 gift. Since her bday is only a month after xmas and she has gift overload. In counting my mother has purchased 26+ gifts for xmas and her 3rd bday. She knows we are moving in to an RV in the spring and said she can just take all the toys with her. I have told her, "no she can't." I told her "your love is all she needs not all this stuff." My mom always has the be the best gift giver....ever. She outstages DH and I at every chance. WE wanted to buy her her first tricycle and my mom went out and bought it, even though we asked her not to and my daughter can't even ride it because she is still to small. We bought my daughter a toddler bed just a nice plain wooden one, my mom shows up with a cars themed one with lots of bedding and stuff with it. So of course my daughter wanted cars not the one we got. My mother seems to think that she should do the first with my daughter not us her parents. She has also shown some unhappiness with our decision to RV across the country, even saying " I don't think children services would approve of this." so I responded, "she has a roof over her head, proper medical/dental/vision care, food in her belly and is being schooled, There would be nothing for them to investigate." My mother is annoying the potatoes out of me.

We've choosen a theme it is based on an Anime my daughter loves My neighbor totoro. We've changed it from Sesame Street theme.

We were just going to do cupcakes, finger foods, and pizza from little ceasars, juice, water, tea (sweetened and un) My mom went "uhn I guess"

So how do I throw a party for 60+ people (6 kids)?
How do I address the issue of no presents?
How do I address the issue of my mother?

Oh yeah and there is going to be some totes sitting outside the door for the donations so that way their isn't a table of goodies for my daughter to gawk at. Sorry for the rant but I don't know what to do....
OK, calm down. We do this EVERY year and it just so happens my dd's 4th birthday party was Saturday. We have between 60 and 80 people every year with all but 10 are adults (family). We rent the big pavillion at a local state park ($65) that holds 100+ people and is cool and shady, so in case of rain we are covered. This year we rented the big inflatable slide ($200), fed pizza ($100) paper goods and balloons ($170), party favors ($50), and did 2 liter drinks, cake and ice cream. We used to have a big 4th of july blow out every year before my dd was born, so now this is what we do instead. In the case of the gifts, we encounter this at Christmas and b day too. If somebody is hell bent on gifting, tell them your intentions of moving into a smaller space and request savings bonds or money for her account instead. That way it will benefit you all. No toys taking up space, and money for her when she's older and actually needs it. If they still insist on giving her toys, just return them unopened and get a gift card. Do what you gotta do.
Try this, Ask your mother to buy one good toy and GOLD Coins for your child that way when you give it to them at a much later date it will mean so much more to the child and it lets your mom fell good that she is still given a better gift. I know how you fell, My exwifes parents had money growing off thier finger tips.

Be nice and your children will follow
I think it's a wonderful thing to do, and a lesson for your daughter on donating to the children's hospital! Maybe you can twist your mom's arm to go with you when you donate and give to those children, and she'll get some back-patting and recognition/attention she seems to crave so much??

You can also rent a picnic area in a park with a children's playground, and have a celebration there? We've done that with 'parent potlucks' (I'm a teacher) and you can bring cake and ice cream and hats and balloons and they can bring their own bbq? Even call it a 'DD celebrates her birthday by collecting donations for XX Children's Hospital!' on the invitation, and have some cousins and her help make a poster above the box where they'll be put, and will be on hand to make sure gifts are put there.

I think it's a WONDERFUL thing, to travel and experience life around our amazing country.

Do what YOU want to do. You sure you weren't adopted??
So how do I throw a party for 60+ people (6 kids)?
Maybe find a rental hall that is inexpensive. We have a local communuty center that only costs $25 to rent. Have activities for the kids. Have fun, even if it's crowded. 3rd bdays are fun.

How do I address the issue of no presents?
That is a great idea. My GS was born with a heart that didn't form properly. He's spent 6 of his first 9 months in a children's hospital and will be spending alot more time there. He's currently on the heart transplant list at UCLA. The hospitals are great and yes they need gifts for children. Because of donated gifts they actually gave him his own mobile and his older 2 1/2 yo sister was given a new stuffed animal to make her feel better since her mom was staying at the hospital.
Just put the idea on the invite and list suggestions for items. Books are great but children would probably prefer toys and stuffed animals. They also have videos (DVDs) for them to watch in their room. I'm sure that most of your family will also think that is a great idea. It's also easier to shop for a donation than for an actual child.

How do I address the issue of my mother?
You can't. If that is the way she is, she will not change. My mother was the same way. I didn't like her buying things for my kids until I realized that it didn't really matter to the kids who it came from. I was still "Mom" to them. Besides, with her spending her money I could use mine for other more important things. When you move into the RV, donate all the items that don't fit. A 3yo can be very understanding and caring. It'll be a good life lesson about giving and not having more than you need.
Judging by my other family members my mom will be the only problem. I've offered for her to have some one on one time to give her her gift. We cannot rent a park or anything because it is in January in Ohio. We are doing a bday because there is going to be a year or two year span where she will not see them since we are going to be RVing. I have told my mom I don't want the fight of having to listen to my daughter whine when we go through her toys to get rid of them or my mother whine because I getting rid of a toy that she bought.

Children's in our area has a list on their website of appropriate toys we are not allowed to give stuffed animals because of allergens. They recommend books, games, DVds etc.

Oh another thing is my daughter has stuffed our house (857 sq ft) with toys and my moms living room and a bedroom full of toys. She doesn't need anymore.
We are kinda the "odd people out" in my family! We don't do birthday parties at all. The boys get to pick their favorite food for dinner that day and we have a cake. a gift or two and that's it. Everyone has learned to just send them a card with maybe a few dollars. I have one on Jan. 21st so I KNOW the feeling on already having gift overload. We just save the parties for Halloween, the Winter Holiday....stuff like that. It sure makes it easy.
Our birthdays are always giant family affairs. We get out the dominoes and cards. Horseshoes or any other outdoor activity too. BBQ's are great... like the suggestion for having it at a park. Have a pinata. They are always fun. Your mom would have a fit, but you can even have a potluck. You could call it a family get together/ birthday party. You could grill hotdogs for the kids and tell the guests to bring their own meat if they want something other than hotdogs. Then you can supply beans and potato salad. or what have you.

Let your mom get her a gift. It makes your mom feel good. You know it is more for mom than daughter... but she is the grandmother. And without her... none of y'all would exist. (trust me. I have a mom too... so I understand!). I have learned it is best to indulge mom. She only means the best.
Birthday is in JANUARY no parks no BBQ it is cold and snowy.

It isn't that my mom wants to get her A gift it is that my mom wants to get her 6 or 7 gifts.

As stated before my mom has to upstage everyone even me. Yes I know that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her but she wouldn't be a grandma if it weren't for me. She needs to respect me and our wishes for our daughter.
I would do it at a park or someplace similar, pack a big roast or brisket & buns & everyone can have sandwiches.

We have a very large extended family and frequently parties will have 25-30 kids and both parents-that is usually how it is done. Cheap food, fun things.

I would say that Dante loves books, and some people will give other gifts, you can't stop them. I've had that dilemma before when we tried for no-gift parties, no one listens. Just rehome or donate the gifts that you don't need or want.

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