Birthday Party Survival Guide

 

BIRTHDAY PARTY SURVIVAL GUIDE
We love a good party, but birthday party planning can get a little out of hand. Here are some tips for throwing a great party without losing your mind.
Theme:
No theme, no problem. You don't need a clever theme to pull together a great party. Simply ask your child to pick their favorite color, shape or animal and run with it. Whether it's stripes and polka dots, blue and green, or ladybugs, you've got yourself a theme.
The internet is a party-planning mom's best friend. Whatever your theme, you'll find free printables you can use online. You just need to search.
Invitations:
Your friend the internet will likely have some free invitation templates that work with your theme. Or you can purchase a digital design from an online merchant like etsy for $5- $15. Better yet, make your own design using canva.com
Location:
We don't care what it takes, just keep the party out of your house. Even if weather prevents you from hosting the party outside, devote your garage or basement to the cause. Setup and cleanup will be easier and your house won't take a beating. Better yet, get out of your house all together. Often the cost of hosting a party at an outside venue like a pizza parlor or bowling alley is justified when you factor in the cost savings from not decorating your house, planning activities, etc.
Entertainment:
Keeping kids engaged is key to a low stress party. Hire high school students or older cousins to lead kids in games. Professional entertainment like a face painter, balloon artist or character can really make a party. If you don't want to hire a professional, ask a family member to do the job.
Food:
2 P.M. is the magic hour: it's not lunch, it's not dinner, it's perfect. Simply put out a few snacks, serve cake and you're set. All birthday parties should be at 2 P.M.
Cake:
You kids won't spend a fortune on future therapy because they didn't have a homemade birthday cake. There are some great store-bought cakes and they don't have to be expensive. A simple sheet or round cake from the baker can easily be enhanced with the addition of toys, ribbon, candies, flowers or other items that tie in your theme.
Gifts:
If you're concerned about present overload, give your guests some direction like "Small gifts under $5, please." Or provide a theme "Contribute to Johnny's art supply collection." Or ask guests to bring a gently-used copy of their favorite book to help grow your child's library.
Thank yous:
When it comes to birthdays, the one place you don't want to cut corners is the thank you notes. An important part of birthday parties is learning to be a gracious host and appreciative gift recipient. I doesn't matter how you get it done, the important thing is that your child sends a thank you note for every gift, not a text message, not an email, not a voicemail, a note.
We love this idea from MOM reader Kim Duce. She takes a picture of every guest with the birthday girl and their gift, prints out the picture, mounts it to card stock and has her daughter write a thank you message on it. Her guests are appreciated and they get a treasured photo.

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We love a good party, but birthday party planning can get a little out of hand. Here are some tips for throwing a great party without losing your mind.

Theme:

No theme, no problem. You don't need a clever theme to pull together a great party. Simply ask your child to pick their favorite color, shape or animal and run with it. Whether it's stripes and polka dots, blue and green, or ladybugs, you've got yourself a theme.

The internet is a party-planning mom's best friend. Whatever your theme, you'll find free printables you can use online. You just need to search.

Invitations:

Your friend the internet will likely have some free invitation templates that work with your theme. Or you can purchase a digital design from an online merchant like etsy for $5- $15. Better yet, make your own design using canva.com

Location:

We don't care what it takes, just keep the party out of your house. Even if weather prevents you from hosting the party outside, devote your garage or basement to the cause. Setup and cleanup will be easier and your house won't take a beating. Better yet, get out of your house all together. Often the cost of hosting a party at an outside venue like a pizza parlor or bowling alley is justified when you factor in the cost savings from not decorating your house, planning activities, etc.

Entertainment:

Keeping kids engaged is key to a low stress party. Hire high school students or older cousins to lead kids in games. Professional entertainment like a face painter, balloon artist or character can really make a party. If you don't want to hire a professional, ask a family member to do the job.

Food:

2 P.M. is the magic hour: it's not lunch, it's not dinner, it's perfect. Simply put out a few snacks, serve cake and you're set. All birthday parties should be at 2 P.M.

Cake:

You kids won't spend a fortune on future therapy because they didn't have a homemade birthday cake. There are some great store-bought cakes and they don't have to be expensive. A simple sheet or round cake from the baker can easily be enhanced with the addition of toys, ribbon, candies, flowers or other items that tie in your theme.

Gifts:

If you're concerned about present overload, give your guests some direction like "Small gifts under $5, please." Or provide a theme "Contribute to Johnny's art supply collection." Or ask guests to bring a gently-used copy of their favorite book to help grow your child's library.

Thank yous:

When it comes to birthdays, the one place you don't want to cut corners is the thank you notes. An important part of birthday parties is learning to be a gracious host and appreciative gift recipient. I doesn't matter how you get it done, the important thing is that your child sends a thank you note for every gift, not a text message, not an email, not a voicemail, a note.

We love this idea from MOM reader Kim Duce. She takes a picture of every guest with the birthday girl and their gift, prints out the picture, mounts it to card stock and has her daughter write a thank you message on it. Her guests are appreciated and they get a treasured photo.

 

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