The Innovation of a Bash

Today’s a big day in my home. About 150 people will gather for our annual birthday party. See, we don’t have individual wing-dings for each and every kid through the year. We gave that up in 1998 and went with one big party every year: the Jeub Birthday Bash.

Today’s our yearly Jeub Birthday Bash. The pinata is one of the most anticipated events.

The kids look forward to the Jeub Birthday Bash like it’s Christmas. So do their friends. It’s like a yearly carnival every September. And my kids are intimately involved with the developments: they plan out a theme, make a pinata, cook the food, clean the house, map out the scavenger hunt, plan the games, etc. Our children feel most blessed to have this yearly party to prepare for.

You want to know something most interesting? The Jeub Birthday Bash started out as an economic alternative to a party for every child. Perhaps some think our children are deprived because they don’t get their own party. We’ve actually gotten hate mail on this (“Oh my, your kids are so poor and unfortunate, and you don’t even give them a party of their own…”). Whatever. Such comments fail to understand our children, our family, or the concept of the Jeub Birthday Bash. The Bash has become so much a part of our family tradition – much like a yearly holiday – that we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There’s a life secret in this. I can point to so many examples of this in my life, and I bet you can, too. It’s this:

Life’s most creative ideas come from economic pressure. [Tweet this]

In 1998, Wendy and I had (gasp!) seven children. We joked that our seventh, Noah, was symbolic for “NO-ah more Jeubs.” It was a financially troublesome time for us, living in the small farming town of Kent, Minnesota, working for a school district 20 miles down the road. I taught English, coached debate, and roofed houses in the summer to get by. We took our children with faith, but the birthday parties were getting to be tough.

Choices. Economic pressure leads to choices. I suppose Wendy and I could have shamed ourselves into sacrificing more for the children, a party every-other month, draining the family of already scant resources. And we could have done the opposite: cut out the parties altogether. We enjoyed celebrating the life of every child, so such a move – though economically responsible – would have been a disappointment.

That’s where creativity does its magic. You come up with an idea that beats the system, accomplishes the same without spending the same, an idea “outside the box.” An idea that makes an incredible amount of sense, one where everyone around you thinks, “Wow, that’s a really good idea.”

How about we throw one big party – just one – and we invite all the relatives and friends?

The idea took off. The kids got excited, and so did our relatives and friends. Our family lived several miles away, so the idea of one big party for all the Jeub kids was welcome. Our friends joined in on the idea, one bringing his horse and giving the little kids horse rides. It was a lot of work to pull it off, but we did it. Economically, we saved a lot of money, which was the reason we started it.

It’s true we live in economic depressed times. Your circumstances may be very troublesome. But you know what? There may be an alternative within the struggle. At first, it may be a wacky idea, but give it some thought. Entertain that idea for a while, play it out in conversation and in your mind, seriously consider it. It may just be a Birthday Bash of an idea that will be a huge blessing.

Question: What financial hardship are you experiencing right now? Is there a creative solution waiting for you to discover?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Just wanted to say that I think the idea of a single birthday bash is wonderful and amazing. I remember when Wendy first outlined what this was on momys digest years ago, then saw it on tv when you were on Kids by the Dozen. I’ve always wanted to do it, but I am not an “event planner” and the idea was always too massive for me to undertake. Plus, I wasn’t even sure if my family would come (not a lot of support there…. ) In the meantime, (not planned, I assure you,) my five youngest children were all born in March and April. This past year, we have also been financially strapped and I was worried about how to handle the birthdays. We worked it out for our three older boys to get a dinner out with the two of us plus some money towards a gift they wanted. Then, we did a scaled down version of “birthday bash,” in April for the younger ones. (except for a June birthday who wanted his birthday celebrated later) and we just had one friend’s family over who had 6 kids four of which have friendships with these younger kids. We had a great time! The kids still had a dessert and meal of their choice on their birthday and just a few presents. But we made one big cake for the party and they each got one present from us then. Not sure how much money it saved, but it did save on time and cake-eating. 🙂
    I am hoping to develop this idea more and more over the coming years… maybe not always with the same family, but maybe adding more families to celebrate with us. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

  • I posted our family pictures on

  • AndreaMaddiex

    Wacky is our middle name! 🙂

  • Silvia Reis

    Really liked the idea!