Thursday, March 12, 2009

A birthday with nothing new

As I look back over my old posts, I realize that alot has changed in the way we think about things. In the first days of our pledge not to buy anything new, every time we worked our way around something it was a big deal, something fun and new. Now its just normal. I don't even think to write about it, even though some big or small challenge seems to hit us most every day.
This week has been a bit of work as we've tried to prepare a wonderful birthday for my daughter without buying anything new. I can't say its been hard, since luckily my daughter is very much on board with the nothing-new concept, but it has tapped a bit at our creativity.
Luckily, now that hubby has a job we could take the money issue off the table and simply focus on the "nothing new" aspect.
Her gift was pretty easy. She desperately wanted a Nintendo DS and has made sure to mention it every chance she's gotten for months. We managed to find a like-new DS with 2 games on Craigslist, so that was taken care of.
Her party was easy as well, for the most part. She wants a skating party, so we have booked that and it doesn't involve anything new. We sent out "e-vites" via e-mail, so there were no paper invitations needed. The only difficulty there was convincing her she couldn't invite every person she's ever known in her life--LOL. With much prodding, we managed to pare the list down to 16 of her closest friends. (!) We thought that with it being spring break, lots of kids would be out of town and the party would bring itself down to a reasonable size, but it didn't quite work that way, as 14 have RSVP'd. But I plan to take full advantage of these younger days when all the girls are best friends and the world is perfect, because there will come a day when they won't see it that way anymore. So 14 it is, and they will have a wonderful time.
We had to purchase the cake, since it needs to be sugar-free and I've had terrible luck baking sugar- free cakes in the past. Luckily, this is in the category of food and doesn't count against our pledge. We already had candles for it, so we didn't have to buy anything there. That left us with only the gift bags to deal with. Luckily, we had a package of white paper lunch bags on hand, so I will bring those along with markers, stickers and etc for the girls to decorate when they take a skating break. I have assembled a "treasure basket" so that they can choose their own goodies to go into it. I filled it with all the misc toys and treasures my daughter has brought home from parties and events, Chuck E Cheeses and the like and has never touched again. I was surprised at how much there was once I started looking, and am glad to have found a use for it other than taking up space in the house! I finished the basket off with lots and lots of candy that my daughter has brought home both from recent parties and as a prize she got at school for reading. Again, I'm glad to have found a use for it, since nobody in our house eats candy.
So there we have it, a birthday with nothing new! It seems so normal to do things this way that I really didn't think much of it until one of the mothers asked what we had gotten my daughter for her birthday. Without a second thought, I answered that we had found a great DS on Craigslist. There was a surprised silence until she finally mustered an "Oh, that's....nice" and changed the subject. I have to remember that not everyone "gets" this, and not everyone wants to get it. But for those who do, I hope we can set the example that it CAN be done, and it can be absolutely wonderful!


Jenyfer Matthews said...

I think what you are doing is great - but what I'm really curious about is how you will handle *other* children's birthday parties??? I've been flooded with party invites this month and it's been a real chore to keep those presents coming!

Anonymous said...

The main thing is that your daughter 'gets it'. I'm sure she will enjoy her present and her birthday!

2simplify said...

Thanks, anon--I am so glad my daughter gets it. She did have a wonderful birthday.
Jenyfer--I've been struggling with that too! I've been lucky so far that my stash of clearance-bought gift items has lasted so long. (bought them after Christmas of 2007)That has always gotten me thru in the past. I need to learn a craft! Several moms I know make things--one makes hair bows, another has an embroidery machine and gives personalized towels and bags,another makes cute charm bracelets. Once the gift closet is empty, I'm thinking of hitting Half-Price Books for toddler gifts and learning to make jewelry for older girl gifts. I have plenty of gift bags and cards.
Its definitely not easy to keep up with!