Grown Up Birthdays: What Does a Party Mean to You?

My birthday party planning is a bit delayed this year, as two of my dearest friends have been out of town, but it's given me time to think about why I like to have birthday parties in the first place. I know there is a vocal group of people in the "Stop Throwing Parties About Yourself" camp, as well as the "No Presents, EVER" faction, but to me, a birthday party is a way to thank everyone who's made the past year of my life so fantastic…I don't have a lot of money, but I try to treat my friends to good food and good wine. And if my parents send me a little birthday money, it's always used to bump up the party budget. Last year I had a ton of food delivered from Mission Chinese, plenty of bubbly and beer (plus sparkling juices for the non-drinkers), and a pistachio cake. I forget what actual food there was the year before, but again, plenty of cake, cocktails, and a piñata full of treats. I wish, wish, wish I had the money to really do it up, to serve the finest food and booze and to send my guests home with luxe goody bags. But we seem to do alright, and I sincerely hope that it is the thought that counts. My friends (and my family, though they are too far away to attend) make my life so wonderful everyday, all year, and my birthday party is my chance to attempt to thank them for everything they do. And to wear a sparkly dress.

Do you throw birthday parties for yourself? Why or why not? Are the parties intimate affairs, perfect for reflecting on the year past and the year ahead? Or are they raucous fêtes where everyone gets to cut loose?

(Image: Funfetti Cake from Scratch from The Kitchn)

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