If the kids are old enough they can pick what they want for dinner, I make a cake (I refuse to spend $ on store bought cakes, and homemade ones taste better anyways!), and I whip up some quick decorations. I don't think I have given more than 2 or 3 presents per kid ever. Partially because they're so young that they don't know any better so I can get away with it, and also because I think it's really important not to spoil the kids with too many material things.
This year Dannys present was a vintage Fisher Price farm like the one I had when I was little. I found it on Ebay and am so in love with it! I made him some cupcakes at naptime, which means Sean got to help (fun for him, not so much for me!). Then we made a little birthday banner to hang on the door.
My kids LOVE their birthdays, I think probably because it's the only thing they don't have to share. They seem to love our little family tradition of Simple. This is where the sadness comes in. Now that Nathan is in kindergarten, it occurred to me that he's going to be going to more and more birthday parties. He's going to see kids who are given more lavish gifts. He may come home and ask why we don't do that. He may, at some point, feel disappointed with our sweet little family parties. I hate that the feeling of total contentment is going to be spoiled for them as they get older. I wish I could freeze them in this stage of innocence forever. Hopefully, if we do our jobs right, they will retain the part of themselves that is content with our simple traditions. I hope that as they get older they are able to look around and appreciate that while other kids have more things, they will always have each other.
Wishful thinking? Maybe. But, as for right now, I think I'll just sit back and appreciate the joy that they get out of the simplest things in life....like balloons!!!