Tuesday, March 1, 2016

5 Do's & Don'ts for a Child's Birthday Party

The Headlines:

Here's how to make a spectacular Birthday Party!

And here's what you don't have to do...

I love planning birthday parties.  They make your kids feel special.  Plus, their friends feel pretty great too!  I get that Birthday Parties take a lot of time, energy and money.  So my first best piece of advice is - don't do them.  At least not every year.  Throw a party when you can really get into it.

It may be one day for you... but it's a lifetime of memories for your child.

Think back... bet you can remember that special party your parents put a little more energy into when you were young.  Now, I bet you're smiling, right?

That's what I'm talking about.  Here are 5 ways to get that smile on little faces every time.

1 - Invitations/Thank You Notes 
The invite sets the tone.  Evites are fine, totally accepted in our culture now.  But if you want to start the party off special.  Don't use them.  You just can't.  It really is easy to do invites on your own.

For example:

I always use Vistaprint for Photo cards, cheap and good.  Really good.

And Michael's constantly carries great, colorful blank cards - nothing a little glue, decorative tape and some stickers can't do these days!  Once you get the front designed think about what you're going to say inside.  Here are the corresponding insides to the cards above:

Rhyming is an easy way to make it cute. Or in the case of the 1st Birthday picture card... his look was just begging for an "Ooooooooo!  Did you see all the good stuff I got..?"

Yep, the invite sets the tone and the Thank you leaves attendees with a nice memory.  Especially if you...

2 - Take Pictures
This is an easy one.  Everyone can do it.  But you really need to HIRE A PHO-TOG.  No silly.  I don't mean a real photographer you have to pay.  "Hire" a good friend who has a kid attending the party.  Stick a camera in his/her hands and tell them to get to work.

I always forget to take pictures... but not the Mom or Dad who's tasked with the job.  Then, you can do 2 things.  One, you can have a "photo bar" which is a fun activity in itself.  Like we did HERE at my daughters last birthday.  Two, you can add the pictures to the thank you notes.  This one is taped to the front of a Thank You.  Oh, and 3 - the memory of the fun day can live on!
3 - Make a Candy Bar
This is another two-fer.  First, a Candy Bar just looks celebratory.  It's the same reason I decorate with candy ALL THE TIME... you can scroll down to see what I mean in some of my DECOR posts HERE

Once again, you can hire someone to do this... which many people do.  Or you can create one on your own.  3 different candies and you're in business.  But you can always do more!

At a party,  Candy Bars totally 1) look cool and 2) can double and add to the take-aways you send people home with!  I mean, really... can it GET any better?

4 - Create a Take-away-Acvitity! 
For a party to be really excellent the kids need to have some serious fun while they're there AND they need to take something cool home to remember it.  Combine that and you get a Take-Away-Activity!

I don't know about you but I'm a little over all the Oriental Trading/ Party City stuff that comes home after a party.  It's kind of  just useless junk.  So change it.  Rather than spending money on little tchotchkes do something that has more thought and innovation.

We just had a baseball party where we decorated baseball hats.

The kids loved it and I got lots of pictures sent to me the next day with them in their newly decorated hats!

Or here's another Take-Away Activity... my friend just had a birthday party for her 10 year old daughter where they created these:

They're just inexpensive flips with strips of material tied to them.  But my daughter has worn them ever since she got home from the party.  Brilliant!  Come up with something that applies to your party theme, they can work on and take home and you're in business.  A little thought goes a long way!

5 - Celebrate the Cake
The last tip is not to be ignored.  It IS a birthday party, so much like at a wedding, put that cake on a display!  It looks good and needs to be seen.  This cake was in the middle of our kitchen...

Or this cake sat out near the table where the girls did most of their party activities.

Tah-dah.  We got a Birthday Party!

Now quickly...

5 DON'Ts for a Child's Birthday Party:

Don't Focus on the Food 
They're kids. They want kid food.  Not gourmet alley.  I used to make difficult, foodie dishes that, frankly, I wanted the parents to try.  The kids cared less.  Instead, finger, kid friendly food fare is in order.  It's cheaper and a WHOLE LOT less stressful.

Don't Plan Too Much
Especially that first half hour to 45 minutes kids are scheduled to arrive.  Give people time to get in, get settled, grab a drink and chill.  Then, while I say you must plan activities, don't plan too many.  You can easily over-do it.  Kids, especially the small ones, just want to interact... heck that's a party in itself!

Don't Invite Too Many or Too Few People
It's not a party without your guests.  BUT the number can go from fab to bad in seconds.  Make sure it's a manageable amount of people.  Too many, especially pre-teen girls, can get really clique-y and dramatic.  Too many 3 year olds and you, the host, may want to pull your hair out!  On the flipside, too few people can be really under-whelming (and boring)!

Don't Let Parents Drink Too Much
We often serve adult beverages at our kid parties.  But there's a fine line.  We are there for the kids, less we forget, and a stiff marg can change priorities fast.  So be careful!  I love me a signature drink.  Beach party theme - pour me a Mai-Tai.  But limit guests to one.

Don't Spend a lot of Money
Really.  It's a kid party.  You're not on the "Housewives of Beverly Hills." Don't let a party blow your monthly spend plan.  Spend money where you need to... make your own cake.  And then put it on a pedestal... See #5 above.

Last but not least, have a good time... a really special, fun time.  Like I said earlier...

Any extra tips?  Please share in the comment section of this blog! 

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