Pro Party Tips

Avoid birthday burnout.

Birthday parties are supposed to be fun, right? What's not to love? Even the planning is exciting. Picking the venue, theme, and birthday cake; making the guest list and invitations; counting down the hours 'til the big event — these are all the things that "good parents" celebrate from beginning to end, right?

Okay, well, maybe some parents do so, but let's face it: More of us don't get that excited over every single party detail. And that's okay — nobody's judging.

Today, family schedules are busting at the seams. Our homes are littered with dusty, broken, and forgotten loot from birthdays past. Add to the mix the pressure we get to invite our kid's entire class and school rules on handing out invitations. It's no wonder we've got birthday party burnout.

Something's gotta give, which is why online birthday party services that do the work for us have become an integral tool for modern-day families looking to bring meaning, ease, and excitement back to the whole birthday party experience. Such services can help you design and send e-invitations and thank you notes, manage R.S.V.P.s and gifts, collect important guest info (for special needs like food allergies), and integrate a charitable element to the occasion.

Planning your kid's birthday party doesn't have to be a frenzied rush to get everything done in time you don't have. Here's how:

Say, "adios," to snail mail and paper cuts.

Take the wondering out of if and when your guests receive an invitation by opting for e-invites (also a cheaper, more eco-friendly route). Design possibilities are endless, as well. E-thank you notes give you the same conveniences, plus the opportunity to personalize with links to party photos.

Go for gifts to remember.

Group gifts can make giving a birthday kid what he really wants possible. What's more, receiving something special from all your friends has cache that lasts a lifetime (who wouldn't love his first scooter or camera even more if it were a gift from buddies?). Online birthday party services make it possible for guests to chip in for big, desired gifts — in just a few clicks — saving them time and money while cutting down on waste. Meaningful gifts are memorable.

Birthdays gifts can go both ways.

Why not use your child's birthday as an opportunity to teach him about the joy of helping less fortunate kids? There are a lot of ways to do this that don't require taking anything away from your child. Donating unwanted gifts to hospitals and fundraising for charities that directly improve the lives of children in need are two easy and relevant options that can be facilitated by online birthday services (no extra effort required). If your child is enthusiastic about the idea, you may want to also consider asking guests to donate to a charity of the child's choice in lieu of tangible gifts.

Treat your guests like royalty without lifting a finger.

Using an online service to organize and manage birthday party planning is a gift to everyone, especially guests. Parents love being able to contribute toward great gifts without ever having to leave their home. If there's a charitable element to the gift, they love that it doesn't cost more time or money to give to a worthy cause.

Celebrate with charity

If your house is already filled with too many toys and you want to try something unique for this year's event, try teaching your child about the power of giving back.

Children are naturally giving at heart. They just need to be shown how their small steps can have a big impact. Paint a picture of reality to which a child can relate. Ask him to imagine waking up in the morning to find an empty fridge and bare cupboards. Now ask that child how he would feel if he could help to fill that fridge so that another child could go to school with a full tummy. Ask him how he would feel if part of his birthday loot went to a local food bank to help put food in hungry tummies, and I am sure you can guess the response.

Putting the child in the driver's seat allows him to experience being empowered. If we are able to show a helpful impact in a tangible terms, we may actually be able to make giving the new getting.

The dialogue of giving can start at any time of the year and should be fun. Demonstrating how a child is already very generous of spirit may help him to make the decision to give on his birthday. Why not start a giving calendar during the year?

Keep track of all of the ways your child has shown giving gestures by marking them down on a special calendar that he has decorated. As the experiences add up, your child will likely be motivated to give even more. Small yet mighty ideas: Send a nice note to a friend. Bake some cookies to give to a neighbor. Have a lemonade stand with free drinks.

Ideas are endless and fun, and they help set the stage for lifelong generosity.