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Mom argues for the return of simple 'cake and pizza' kids parties, and other parents agree

Maybe we don't need the expensive bounce house and party performers.

kids party ideas
@ciaoamberc/TikTok

Do we really need to spend and arm and a leg for every celebration?

Back in my day, the most lavish that a kid’s party got was a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Things have certainly…evolved since then. Nowadays some parents spend exorbitant amounts of time and money trying to make the event rival a pop-up amusement park.

And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to go all out (some people really do get creative fulfillment from event planning, after all), there is something to be said about an underlying competitiveness behind the trend. If parents are only throwing big blowout parties out of some kind of societal pressure, or to project some kind of prestige…then they might be losing focus on what really matters. Which, presumably, is making sure the kids have a good time.

And if the kid’s enjoyment really is the priority here, then maybe there’s something to be said about keeping things simple.


That’s the discovery Amber Cimiottibiz recently had after throwing her 3-year-old a birthday party strictly consisting of “cake, pizza, family, and close friends.”

“I didn’t rent anything, I didn’t rent a bounce house, performers, face paint, I didn’t have a big balloon wall, I did all of my own decorations. I ordered one balloon bouquet from Party City,” she said in a video posted to her TikTok.

kids party ideas

Nothing says party like pizza.

Canva

Cimiottibiz kept to this “simple” and “traditional” model for a number of reasons. Number one being that both she and her husband shared “fond memories” of bare bones celebrations during their childhood.

“My husband and I both grew up where our parents didn’t have a lot of money, but we always had great birthdays…They didn’t have all of this extra fluff, they just had family and running around with your friends, and presents and cake and the traditional stuff,” she said.

Cimiottibiz also opted out a big bash due to burnout from lavish parties she’s thrown in the past, saying “I’ve done a lot of stuff for my kids in the past for the birthday, and the birthdays have always been so exhausting to me and a little bit stressful, if I’m going to be honest. I just wanted to bring the birthdays down to earth a little bit.”

That’s not to say she won’t ever choose big birthdays again, by the way. She just might reserve those for milestone birthdays, like when her daughter turns 16.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Cimiottibiz learned that her kids appreciated the simplicity just as much…if not more.

“For us, it’s just been little surprises,” her video concluded. “We blew up a bunch of balloon for him to wake up to this morning. We surprised him with decorating the house while he was sleeping. We got super-fun donuts. Things that don’t cost a lot of money but make him so happy. And I have felt like five percent of the stress that I’ve felt on previous birthdays and my kid is just as happy.”

@ciaoamberc hubby has been traveling the entire week so i was on my own so the simple birthday was actually achievable #birthday #kids #toddler #birthday #kidsbirthday ♬ original sound - Ciao AmberC

Judging by the amount of positive comments to her video, Cimiottibiz doesn’t seem alone in her stance. Many were in favor of this “cake and pizza” approach to parties.

“This!! We now have 2 February babies and this year we were like nope we don’t need to put a ton into the themed food, the matching decorations, paying to rent a space,” one person wrote.

Others shared how they wished they had opted for this less expensive approach. One mom wrote “we did our first bit party for our daughter's 7th bday last week. We had an Elsa come and had a party room in a kids museum. I don’t think we will do that again So Much stress and money.”

Even an event planner chimed in to say, “my kids birthdays were over the top, live monkeys in one party — 12k on another. They remember none of it — now I tell moms…just do simple 💕 and plan trips instead.”

One person wrote, “ I grew up kind of poor, with not enough money to do anything on birthdays. I do it up BIG, every year for my kid’s bday. Heals my inner child.”

Another added, “I didn’t have birthday parties growing up, so I always did the jumper, cake piñata, goodie bags, party games for my kids. I don’t regret it.”

Moral of the story: it’s your kid’s party, and you can spend if you want to. But you honestly never have to. That is part of the magic of children—they can find big joy in small things. Maybe leaving shame and pressure out of the equation can help parents take in some of the joy as well.

Identity

Celebrate International Women's Day with these stunning photos of female leaders changing the world

The portraits, taken by acclaimed photographer Nigel Barker, are part of CARE's "She Leads the World" campaign.

Images provided by CARE

Kadiatu (left), Zainab (right)

True

Women are breaking down barriers every day. They are transforming the world into a more equitable place with every scientific discovery, athletic feat, social justice reform, artistic endeavor, leadership role, and community outreach project.

And while these breakthroughs are happening all the time, International Women’s Day (Mar 8) is when we can all take time to acknowledge the collective progress, and celebrate how “She Leads the World.

This year, CARE, a leading global humanitarian organization dedicated to empowering women and girls, is celebrating International Women’s Day through the power of portraiture. CARE partnered with high-profile photographer Nigel Barker, best known for his work on “America’s Next Top Model,” to capture breathtaking images of seven remarkable women who have prevailed over countless obstacles to become leaders within their communities.

“Mabinty, Isatu, Adama, and Kadiatu represent so many women around the world overcoming incredible obstacles to lead their communities,” said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA.

Barker’s bold portraits, as part of CARE’s “She Leads The World” campaign, not only elevate each woman’s story, but also shine a spotlight on how CARE programs helped them get to where they are today.

About the women:

Mabinty

international womens day, care.org

Mabinty is a businesswoman and a member of a CARE savings circle along with a group of other women. She buys and sells groundnuts, rice, and fuel. She and her husband have created such a successful enterprise that Mabinty volunteers her time as a teacher in the local school. She was the first woman to teach there, prompting a second woman to do so. Her fellow teachers and students look up to Mabinty as the leader and educator she is.

Kadiatu

international womens day, care.org

Kadiatu supports herself through a small business selling food. She also volunteers at a health clinic in the neighboring village where she is a nursing student. She tests for malaria, works with infants, and joins her fellow staff in dancing and singing with the women who visit the clinic. She aspires to become a full-time nurse so she can treat and cure people. Today, she leads by example and with ambition.

Isatu

international womens day, care.org

When Isatu was three months pregnant, her husband left her, seeking his fortune in the gold mines. Now Isatu makes her own way, buying and selling food to support her four children. It is a struggle, but Isatu is determined to be a part of her community and a provider for her kids. A single mother of four is nothing if not a leader.

Zainab

international womens day, care.org

Zainab is the Nurse in Charge at the Maternal Child Health Outpost in her community. She is the only nurse in the surrounding area, and so she is responsible for the pre-natal health of the community’s mothers-to-be and for the safe delivery of their babies. In a country with one of the world’s worst maternal death rates, Zainab has not lost a single mother. The community rallies around Zainab and the work she does. She describes the women who visit the clinic as sisters. That feeling is clearly mutual.

Adama

international womens day, care.org

Adama is something few women are - a kehkeh driver. A kehkeh is a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, known elsewhere as a tuktuk. Working in the Kissy neighborhood of Freetown, Adama is the primary breadwinner for her family, including her son. She keeps her riders safe in other ways, too, by selling condoms. With HIV threatening to increase its spread, this is a vital service to the community.

Ya Yaebo

international womens day, care.org

“Ya” is a term of respect for older, accomplished women. Ya Yaebo has earned that title as head of her local farmers group. But there is much more than that. She started as a Village Savings and Loan Association member and began putting money into her business. There is the groundnut farm, her team buys and sells rice, and own their own oil processing machine. They even supply seeds to the Ministry of Agriculture. She has used her success to the benefit of people in need in her community and is a vocal advocate for educating girls, not having gone beyond grade seven herself.

On Monday, March 4, CARE will host an exhibition of photography in New York City featuring these portraits, kicking off the multi-day “She Leads the World Campaign.

Learn more, view the portraits, and join CARE’s International Women's Day "She Leads the World" celebration at CARE.org/sheleads.


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