As you might have guessed, we have a birthday coming up at the SFM house. I truly can’t believe it, but my little boy is about to be 8! As we have all things celebrating on the brain, I thought I’d share my best ideas with you.
This is part one of a three part mini series I’m doing on party planning. In this post, I’m going to discuss some options besides the traditional bash. In the next installment, I’ll talk about saving money (and a little sanity) when you party at home. The final post will be a brand new page-The Sounds Fun Mom Places to Party Guide. I’ve already got a Huge list of fun options if you’d rather not cram everyone into your house. I think some of them will surprise you! Don’t be shy about sharing your ideas!
To Party or Not to Party….
I don’t like to brag, but my boys and I know how to party! Yep, we’ve bounced, ridden ponies, swum, had tea, and bounced some more. We’ve dressed as knights, covered ourselves in cotton candy, and even survived a balloon making incident where a sword popped not once, not twice, but Three different times!
We’ve also hosted our share of fetes-including a giant squid themed event for my then 5 year old. Yes, my dear husband made a life-sized butcher paper version of the elusive sea creature.
Now that that my boys are getting older, my presence isn’t required at nearly as many of these events, but we still wrestle with planning their celebrations. I’ve done a lot of surveying of my saviest mommy friends, and I’ve uncovered three basic options if your time, budget, or temperament won’t allow for the traditional bday.
Option One: The Special Outing Several families I know, especially those with multiple children with birthdays around the same time, swear by this system. The basic idea is that instead of holding a party your child gets to pick a special outing-maybe a trip to the science center or dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Some families also allow the guest of honor to pick one special friend to bring. My friend Kirby uses this system on a rotating basis with her two kids. One year her daughter gets a party and her son get an outing. The next year, they switch.
Option Two: The Special Day This is the same idea as option one, except that instead of going somewhere, the child gets the Queen/King for the day treatment. He gets served a special breakfast, gets to choose the T.V. shows for the day, and generally gets to be the big shot.
Option Three: Just the Family Many of my friends, especially those with young or sensitive children, host a simple dinner and serve cake, rather than trying to hold an event that overwhelms their kiddos . Ever been to a giant party where the guest of honor cries because she just wants everyone to go home? Yeah, me too!
If you’re fine with hosting the gang, but are less comfortable with the gift opening frenzy and pinata whacking, here are a few other non-traditional approaches to the big day.
The Book Exchange-The idea here is that each child brings a new or gently used book (I think unopened is best). Instead of having just the birthday child open presents, every child gets a turn picking a book to take home. Our darling little friend Sophie did this for her birthday, and she was truly perfectly fine without a stack of presents. In fact, she loved getting a new book and watching all her pals get one, too.
The Service Project-Another option that works well with older children especially, is to ask guests to bring items like canned foods or health care products instead of presents. The host gets the fun of taking everything to the food bank or other charity. This is a great idea if it’s your child’s idea-don’t try and force it.
At our house, we’ve done variations on most all of these options. We’ve also had many parties at our house that I swore would be simple little affairs that turned into giant, frosting covered circuses.
Tomorrow, I’ll tackle my best ideas for how to hold the party at your place without regretting it! I’ll have some clever theme ideas, cake strategies, and a little SFM advice on how to handle too many presents and too many guests! See you here! Are you one of my Gig Harbor readers? Don’t miss out on the deal to Jump! Scroll one down for the scoop.