Italy's Inclusive Birthday Party Culture: A Tradition We're Bringing Home

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With August and September being big birthday months in the ISO household, I’ve had celebrations on my mind. I’ve especially been thinking about birthday party culture for kids and how it varies from country to country. In Italy, children’s birthday parties are inclusive of the whole class; no kid is left out. I love that parents take the time to invite every child in the class and welcome siblings and parents too, so that it becomes a warm social event for both adults and kids.

The children’s birthday parties that I’ve been to in Italy always have had the food and cake that any American would expect from a birthday party, but it also more often than not has an entertainer who conducts activities for the kids and does face painting. This frees up time for parents to have a glass of wine, chat, and get to know one another, which is certainly nice when you are new to a country and know very few people!

Though many aspects of living in Italy was maddening to me, the culture surrounding children’s birthday parties was not—I love the inclusivity of the invitations. Though Baby ISO’s birthday is in the summer, I hope to be able to continue this tradition of whole class invites and morph it into our own with backyard barbecues and DIY activities (musical chairs anyone?).

How do you celebrate birthdays? Have you incorporated any traditions from your expat home into your own celebrations?