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Skip the Lavish First-Birthday Parties!

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Guest blogger Jessica Katz:They say the first birthday is not about the baby turning a year old, but about the parents surviving the first year. Perhaps that's why people are going overboard with first-birthday parties, spending thousands of dollars on a day their baby will never remember.

baby with birthday cake
I have to say, I was taken aback when I received a "save the date" card for a first birthday in January. The proud parents had already secured the venue and the band, and they wanted to make sure no one else took their weekend. For comparison purposes, my first birthday consisted of going to an ice-cream parlor with my family. The only reason I know that is because I asked my mom. She could just as easily have told me it was a big blowout, and I never would have known the difference (except for the missing pictures).

My daughter turns one on December 16th, and mommies from my mommy group have already been asking about her party. How should I know? It's only August! However, it appears that is has already become a competition about who will have the bigger and better bash.

Clearly, it's more of a competition for the parents than for the kids. "I've been thinking about my son's first birthday since he was born," one mom told me. "I wanted a big party; I knew I wanted to have the biggest and best show. I knew all of the moms were going to want to outdo one another, so I wanted mine to be the best. And I was willing to pay whatever it cost -- we budgeted $5,000."

So do you try to compete with a mom who wants to throw the biggest bash of all? No. The party should be about the baby, and what would make the baby happy -- and it should be budgeted according to what you can easily afford. Perhaps that mom's $5,000 should have been put into her son's college account, not spent on pony rides. Remember: Babies have no idea about the money you spend. Save it for a time when your child will appreciate it!


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