I have to hand it to this New Zealand mom for bucking the system and doing what works for her- Right On! After having 0 (that’s none, nada, zip) RSVP’s last year and putting a sign on her door “Party Cancelled” (which I just have to admire and I’m not sure I’d have had the guts to do), she opted for sensible and affordable and stress free the following year. Good for her!
And there’s no good reason you can’t do the same. If time, budget, stress levels, whatever… make it hard or impossible for you to live up to who know’s who’s expectations, don’t. They’re kids. The younger they are, they less they expect and the easier they are to please and make happy on their birthday.
As this NZ mom, points out, when they first hit school you don’t really know who their friends are, probably don’t know all the moms, so it IS hard to rely on the children to get out the invites with that RSVP inside. So don’t sweat it. Make it loose and easy. “We’re going to “X” and we hope you can join us for some fun in honor of Charlie’s 6th birthday. Presents will not be opened at the party and they’re not required. Just come for fun and cake”. Or something like that.
“X” can be the playground, the beach or community pool in warm weather, even the bowling alley or ice skating rink or some other place where it costs a few bucks to get in. If you’re there when they arrive or are renting their skates, fine, you can pay. If not, the parents can pay. As the title says- this is the stress free approach.
So you end up with left over cake? No big deal- the kids will eat it!
So this next birthday consider the having a stress-free party where the kids just play, have fun, and you can stay cool.