Birthday Parties and More

Recently I watched a TV report about children’s birthday parties.  I was floored at the extravagant, elaborate parties the report featured. Don’t get me wrong, I love parties and LOVE creating an experience. My problem with the “over the top” parties is not only the cost involved, but the fact that the parties are often more for the parents than the children.

I have read that each year children should be able to invite another person to his/her party. That means that a child turning 1 should have 1 friend at his/her party and so on. If you think about a child’s ability to share his/her time and appreciate his/her guests, it does make sense. Although, as a parent, it is difficult to exclude children. I guess what I am saying is less is more when it comes to invitations.

The next thing is… to have the party at home or at a venue. That is a good question and will have a lot to do with your budget and your home and maybe even the time of year depending on where you live. We live in Connecticut and one of my daughter’s has a December birthday. While I love the idea of a backyard birthday party we cannot even think about that for her. My other daughter’s birthday is in March when this is a little more realistic. A house party has its rewards: 1. Everything you need is handy. 2. Your time is not limited. 3. You can modify your schedule based on the “crowd” 4. You do not have to pay per guest. However, clean-up falls back on you (and if you are lucky you have friends to help). Having the party somewhere else has its benefits too: 1. Often there is a party helper who helps with the children/activities. 2. It is something you might not be able to do at home – skating, pool party, etc. 3. You do not have to clean up. 4. Party times are firm. However, you have to remember to bring everything you need: Candles, matches, knife, tissues, decorations, etc.

Lastly, a menu. And, I don’t know about you, but my children rarely eat that much at a party. They are too busy to eat. Remember that children are more interested in the action than the meal. If you plan the party between meals, you can serve snacks. This is a great way to be creative. Check us out on Pintrest for fun ideas and recipes. And, don’t forget the Birthday cake… and by cake… I mean desert. Consider cupcakes, Ice Cream, Jello, Yogurt Parfaits, fruit with whipped cream… the more fun, the better!

And, before you even start… think of a budget. If you are having your party at home a safe budget is about $10 – $12 per child. Decorations, goody bags, food and desert for 5 children should be $50-$60. Of course if you add a bouncy house, or activity, you will likely end up spending an additional $75 – $300. On average, parents spent $300 on birthday parties last year with 30% paying over $1,000.

Whatever you decide remember that planning and creativity will be your greatest friends and ENJOY yourself at your child’s party – they will remember the smiles long after the cake is gone.