Celebrating our Children with Birthday Parties

celebrating

I don’t know what it is about Birthday Parties I love so much – the obvious answers are cake, presents, decorations… yes, all those things are amazing! Now as a parent though, what I love most about birthday parties is celebrating my child. It gives you a chance to really play it up and get your child excited about a party that is for them! Their family will be there, their friends will be there – the people that are most important to them!  My son literally talks about his birthday party for the month leading up to it and then continues to talk about it once it is over. It may seem materialistic but I think it is  great way to show you child that they are an individual and they are important. Celebrate them!

Truthfully my husband has been hesitant about making too big a deal of their birthdays, but when they are only 1 and 3, I think the bigger the better. Now you may be confused – this is a blog about thriving simply. Yes, it is! You can plan a party that is simple but lovely and honours your child all at the same time!

Here is my step by step of how I begin to plan a party for my kids –

  1. Choose a theme!
    • Pinterest will be your best friend – create a board (preferably secret!) and fill it up with ideas! There are so many age appropriate options now. Don’t forget choosing a theme also means choosing colours – stick to 2 or 3 major colours for balloons, table cloths, paper decorations, etc.
  2. Write out a guest list
    • Family, friends, church friends, play group friends, friends from social activities
    • *tip* go through your facebook page and write out everyone you want to attend – don’t forget those who aren’t on facebook though!
  3.  Decide on a venue
    • Your venue will depend on how many people you are inviting so you need to complete the above step first.
    • The most cost effective venue is clearly going to be your home, but if your guest list is long you may need to think about holding it elsewhere, here are some ideas –
      • Park if you are lucky enough to have kids born in warm weather months
      • Church fellowship hall (this is our go-to!)
      • Community Center
      • Indoor Playground (can be more costly depending on what you have in your area).
  4. Time the party will be held at
    • Think ages of attendees, nap schedules and what kind of food you will serve
    • We have found 2pm – 4pm to be a good time. After lunch and before supper so we only serve finger foods and cake, also just after an early afternoon nap.
  5. Full meal vs. finger foods
    • This depends on the time of the party you decided on above. Obviously if you are trying to keep costs down finger foods will be a better option. Ask family members to bring different items.
    • *Tip* Don’t forget to “pin” foods that fit your theme and print cute little labels!
  6. Save the Date 
    • What did we ever do before Facebook? Make a save the date about 2 months before the party and invite all the attendees you have as friends on Facebook.
    • Make a cute cover photo that includes pictures of your child’s year to add to the event. You can also use this photo as an invitation when you send the details via email to your family and friends without Facebook.
  7. Invitations
    • If you are going frugal and have completed a save the date and event page on Facebook an actual paper invitation is not necessary.
    • If you do decide to go the paper route vistaprint.ca and shutterfly.com have some amazing options
    • A more cost effective paper invitation option would be making your own on picmonkey.com and then printing them off as photos and mounting them on cardstock  – also a little faster turn around!
  8. Cake
    • Ahhh the centre piece of a party! If you are talented at making cakes — good for you! You just saved yourself a lot of money!
    • Think about all the people you know that might be willing to and capabale of making a cake for you for cheaper-than-bakery prices.
    • When in doubt try posting an image of the cake you want made on some mommy boards on Facebook, lots of people make cakes and may be willing to give you a deal, especially if it means getting their name out there.
  9. Decorations
    • This needs to be a whole post of it’s owns – but here are some tips for frugal decorations I have bought or made over our last 3 parties —
      • Pin, Pin, Pin – don’t stop pinning until you have exhausted the options for your theme, get a friend in there pinning with you! There are so many great ideas out there, use other people’s free printables and templates!
      • Go to Wal-Mart or a craft store (even the dollar store) and buy scrapbooking paper or cardstock in the colours of your theme. You can use this for signs next to food, timeline numbers, welcome sign, bunting with customize-able letters (just print them off your computer and glue them on!). The possibilites are endless!
      • Look on mommy boards on facebook for recently used party decorations – don’t forget to post yours when you are done with them as well! Bonus for making a little cash back as well as not having to store the items!
      • Instead of buying licensed party supplies (think Paw Patrol, Disney Princesses, Spiderman, etc) buy plates, napkins, table cloths and other items in the colours of your theme and then creatively add accents of your theme. For example, we did a train party instead of specifically “Thomas the Tank Engine”. We still had blue and red as our colours but we didn’t worry about all the branded items. It also makes for a less tacky looking party.
  10. Music & Games
    • Make a play list! Spend some time with your kiddos making a party play list the week leading up to the event. Sit together and decide on the music that will fit the theme and make sure the play list is long enough to last the length of the party.
    • Depending on age games may or may not be needed. If the party is for a 1 or 2 year old very minimal games are needed. An “invitation to play” area might be better suited for these age groups.
  11. Gifts or no Gifts?
    • This is such a hard decision to make. When they are little friends and family so badly want to give gifts that even if you ask that people please not bring them they still will. There are lots of creative ideas out there now to replace gifts so if you have some good ones please share them with me!
  12. When will things take place
    • Map out the party in your mind. How long will it take for people to come in and visit, play games if there are any, eat finger foods, eat cake (don’t forget the time it takes to cut it) and open presents.
    • *Tip* If your child is receiving many gifts and you don’t think they have the attention span to open them all at the party ask attendees to please let you know if they would like their gift opened there. Choose 5 or so and bring the rest home to open later.
  13. Photography
    • This is so important – don’t ask why it is the last on the list!
    • As a mom I have always taken all the photos of my kid’s parties myself. In the future I would love if someone else could do it but right now it is our way of saving some money.
    • *Tip* Take photos of all the little details around the room once it is set up and before guests arrive and you are too busy and forget. Also, hand the camera off throughout the event to make sure you are in the pictures.

More to come in the future about the parties we have planned for our children!