When Should You Stop Having Birthday Parties?

I have been invited to a party for a friend who has a birthday party every year. Now I love birthday parties, but another friend commented that she thought it was about time that our mutual friend stopped celebrating her birthday with a party every year. I had never really thought about it much and it made me start thinking about when you should stop having birthday parties! So I did a little research and asked a few people here’s what I found.

You should stop having birthday parties when they are no longer fun for YOU. For some people, they stop once they no longer live with the adults who provided them with birthday parties every year. In general, after a person’s 21st, they may wish to stop celebrating with a birthday party or only celebrate certain milestones such as each decade.

Whether you want to know if it’s ok to not have a birthday party, how important birthday parties are, or if it’s ok to have a birthday party after your birthday, this article will explain everything about when you should stop having birthday parties.

Is it OK to not have a birthday party?

Yes, it is fine to NOT have a birthday party. If you don’t feel like celebrating your own birthday and you are old enough to have control over the fact then don’t have a party. There are plenty of other wonderful things you can do for yourself instead which I list a bit further in the article.

In some families birthdays are very important and not having a party would cause an argument. So sometimes it can be easier to have a birthday party even if you think it’s a waste of time and money so overall there is less drama in your life. If this is you – maybe ask your family if they are happy to organize or hold it for you so all you have to do is turn up. Alternatively, read towards the end where we have suggestions on how to tell family and friends you really do not want to celebrate.

Other families, however, are more open and may think that you can do whatever you like on your birthday and won’t put any pressure on you to have one. But, they may still send you a birthday messages, and presents. And it’s just courteous on your part to say thank you for thinking about you – it is always nice to know other people care about us.

And if you are lucky, some family and friends might be grateful to not have to go to a party and buy a present – so remember that everyone will feel differently even happy for your decision!

When you live at home your parents or grownups are your caregivers, and it is generally better to follow their wishes – I mean they want to throw you a party not punish you! However, if you talk to them about it, most parents can be understanding, and won’t mind if you don’t want to have a party, or only do something small. Again read the suggestions we have at the end of the article on what to say to family and friends.

As you get much older, say past 25 years of age, you may start to dread your birthday because it feels like you’re getting older. As 30 starts to get closer and closer. According to Psychology Today, some people can get depressed on their birthday once they reach 40, 50, and older. So, you can be tempted to skip a birthday so you don’t get reminded.

At the end of the day it’s up to you whether you want to throw one or not.

The Pros and Cons to not having a Birthday Party.

The major downside to not having a party is that you don’t get any gifts – well that’s what most little kids look forward to – oh and birthday cake. But the major upside is that you don’t have to organize a party which can be time-consuming or pay for one either! But there are some more pros and cons that you might want to think about when choosing if you should have a birthday party or not.

Pros To Having a Birthday PartyCons To Having a Birthday Party
You get gifts and presentsPeople do not always gift what you actually need and then you are stuck with items you don’t want or need because you feel it would be rude to return or regift them or that you need to be seen wearing or using them for the gift bearers benefit.
You get to eat Birthday cake and other sweetsYou might be eating healthy or not be eating sweets and so a birthday party could sabotage all the good work you have been doing towards your health.
You get to be surrounded by family and friends.You may not have a large group of friends and family, or have lost people recently or are not on good terms with certain people and this creates pain for you rather than happiness.
You get to be the centre of attention.Many people are introverts and dislike the attention they receive on their birthdays.
You celebrate your life.Some people become depressed knowing they are getting older and would rather not celebrate or allow people to become aware of their age.
You get to plan and organize a party – choose a theme, a place, or go with whatever fantasy you may have in mind for the day!The thought of all that organization for some people sounds more like a chore rather than fun and a big hassle which they just don’t want to have to deal with.

Is it OK to have a birthday party after your birthday?

It’s ok to have a birthday party after your birthday or even before your birthday if you have to. A birthday party can be postponed so that it’s easier for people to attend, for example on the weekend. Or you might have to do it earlier because you are going away or there is another event that would coincide with your party. Deciding to hold your birthday on a different day can also make it possible to have a shared birthday. Which can be easier to organize. 

My kid’s birthdays are all within two months of each other- one year we had a joint party for them and they got to invite five friends each! It was so much easier than having multiple parties – one cake, one invitation, one guest list, one location etc… My husband shared his 21st party with two other friends which kept costs down. They all had a similar group of friends so it was easier to organize. And more people came, which made it more fun and memorable for him!

What can I do instead of a birthday party?

Anything that’s not something you do often is a good alternative to having a birthday party. 

For example, if you go on a picnic every now and then, going on a picnic won’t be a fun thing to do instead of a birthday party. A birthday only happens once a year. And doing something you do all the time won’t be something special that you’re doing just because it’s your birthday.

You can:

  1. Go on vacation
  2. Go to a theme park
  3. Go on a road trip
  4. Plan a picnic
  5. Go go-karting
  6. Go ice-skating or roller-skating
  7. Play mini-golf
  8. Go to the beach
  9. Cook a special meal
  10. Go to a fancy restaurant you normally wouldn’t go to
  11. Organize a treasure hunt
  12. Go on a geocache hunt in your local area
  13. Go play golf at a course that you have always wanted to try out
  14. Have a spa day or a massage or other beauty treatment
  15. Go for a hike somewhere new
  16. Give yourself a yes day or me day (where you say yes to doing everything you want)
  17. Become a tourist in your own town for the day and pay for a tour or bus
  18. Go on a winery or chocolate tour

You can also choose to spend your birthday alone. Verywellmind.com says that if you feel a bit lonely on your birthday you can choose to do something nice for yourself, such as go shopping, or watch your favorite movie.

Are birthday parties important?

Birthday parties are important in most cultures and for many people. In some traditions, a party is part of a ritual or is part of a ceremony that marks a milestone in a person’s life such as coming of age or in other words an adult. In China, people feel it is important to celebrate the 60th birthday with a party as it signifies the person having lived through an entire cycle of the zodiac. In other cultures celebrating a persons16th, 18th or 21st signifies to the community that, that person is now to be recognized as an adult. Celebrating that a person has spent another year travelling around the sun on Earth is important for many people as it is a constant in an ever changing world.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how other cultures celebrate birthdays around the world make sure you check out all our articles on the topic – How are Birthdays Celebrated in ?

What age do you stop doing birthday parties?

You can stop having birthday parties at any age. But if you live with people who care for you they’ll typically be excited to celebrate your birthday most years and they usually see it as a good opportunity for the family to get together. So, it’s important to let them know how if you don’t want a party.

The age you stop having birthday parties can also depend on your personality and what you like. Some people see events such as holidays, birthdays, and Christmas, as a bit of a waste of time and money and won’t celebrate their birthday at all. However, in my opinion, these people are rare and most people will continue to celebrate their birthday their whole life. They might skip having a birthday for several years or for special circumstances, but they are generally not opposed to the idea of having one, especially if it is organized by someone else.

You also might live in another country or far from your family, although with today’s technology you can hold virtual parties or call or talk to family and friends on your birthday now. But it can also depend on how close you are with certain members of your family, and how important they think birthdays are. Or how many friends and people you know to actually invite. Therefore, you’ll want to decide how you go about not having a birthday based on your individual circumstances.

What to do if Friends or Family are pressuring you to have a Birthday Party you don’t want!

  1. Explain to friends and family that right now birthday parties are not a priority in your life and that your health, job or career, or other commitments are. This is a season of life you are going through when you wish to not celebrate with a party and you will let them know when and if this changes.
  2. Make it really clear to your family and friends that having a birthday party is not what you want. Explain that you are not saying this in hopes they read between some lines and think you are asking them to provide a surprise party for you.
  3. Be proactive – plan something else for your birthday and let those people know what you are doing. Let them know if they can join you or if it is something you wish to do alone or with only specific people.
  4. Create a list of alternative ideas you would be happy to be involved in to celebrate your birthday instead of a party and give the list to those family or friends who are pressuring you to have a birthday party.
  5. Talk to them about how hard you are trying to work on your health and well-being right now and how having a traditional birthday party might sabotage all the work you have been putting into this and you would like to celebrate in a different way this year or from now on.
  6. Take a holiday and go away so they have no choice but to not have a birthday party for you.
  7. Tell family and friends that what would make you happiest is if they would donate to your favorite charity instead of spending money on you. Even better ask them to help you organize a time to volunteer for the charity with them instead of a party!
  8. If your family is pressuring you to have a party because it is an excuse for everyone to get together, organize a family get-together instead or ask them to do that instead.

If you are younger and do not want your parents or the grownup caring for you to plan a party for you, some arguments you could take to them about not having a birthday party might be:

  1. They could put the money into something more useful such as your college fund, or their own savings, or a family holiday.
  2. You would be happy for them to use the money they would spend on you, on themselves.
  3. You were hoping to use the money they would spend on a party or something else like a new computer or console etc…
  4. That planning a party right now would affect your studies and your focus on your schoolwork.
  5. It might be a good time to talk to them about any social struggles you are having and let them know that a party right now would exacerbate any problems you are going through.
  6. Discuss with them that you have an introverted personality and that a birthday party makes you feel anxious or stressed.
  7. That you would rather do something small just with them.
  8. Refer to the list of alternative ideas for a birthday party above to give them some ideas of something other than a birthday party that they could plan for you.

Extreme Tips…. For if you seriously don’t want to celebrate your birthday with a party anymore.

Before you read the following suggestions, I just want you to proceed with caution….be careful for what you wish for and do not be surprised in the future when no one does anything special for you on your birthday.

  1. Write an email, text or message your friends and family letting them know that you don’t do birthday parties anymore. You will have to include whether this means whether this is just for you or if you are not going to attend other peoples too!
  2. Record a video of you discussing that you do not wish to celebrate your birthday with a birthday party anymore and send it to your family and friends to make it clear that this is what you wish.
  3. Post your resolution to not have birthday parties on social media for everyone to see.
  4. Make a choice. If others choose to celebrate your birthday without your consent you can choose to not go or walk out if it is a surprise party. If you make this choice you will have to live with the consequence of your decisions.

Some Final Words….

You can stop having birthday parties at any time in your life. But, if you live with your parents or caregivers you’ll want to consult with them about what you want to do for your birthday. If you’re an adult, however, you can do whatever you want, and if other people do not follow your wishes, then you will have to choose what you want to do and live with those consequences.

Some families may put a big emphasis on birthday parties and therefore it can be easier to just have a birthday party rather than dealing with the drama about it. Others may be more relaxed and don’t really mind whether you want to throw a birthday party or not.

There are both pros and cons to celebrating your birthday with a party, But, it can be a good idea to give your family a call on your birthday, to stay in touch.

Samantha Bellerose

Samantha Bellerose is the creator and main writer for The Birthday Party Website. She is a mother to four kids and she loves preparing and planning birthday parties for her family and friends. Samantha is also the writer, creator and owner of several other websites and has found a passion for sharing her knowledge and experience as an educator online!

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