I really hope Amanda is off somewhere soaking up the warm sun and not having to chase her little ones too much. While she's relaxing, she invited me to write a guest post for her. I was of course thrilled. Thanks for welcoming me into your little part of the web!
Amanda caught me while I am in full birthday party mode. Two of my three children have birthdays within 20 days of each other so this time of year is hectic. Many of my waking hours are spent thinking about the kids' parties and how to make their day extra special. For some reason I feel compelled to throw the best birthday party ever. In my head there's a competition; with whom I'm not quite sure.
Usually, I browse web sites for ideas for next year's party the week after this year's party is done. I often have a theme and activities picked for the summer birthdays by Christmas. These ideas area always tossed out by May by my kids who have differing opinions. (Life would be much easier if kids didn't come with opinions!) I then borrow other's ideas (thank you Pinterest!) as I attempt to put on a party that is memorable for the parents who may not even show up.
That being said, last summer my 3 year old was invited to a birthday party. The mother invited everyone to her area pool. She had some goldfish crackers and grapes to snack on. Each kid got one homemade cupcake for dessert. The party favor was a small cookie to take home. If I had to guess, the entire party for twenty kids probably cost less than $100.
It was AWESOME! Everything was so simple. The kids loved swimming. What kid isn't happy with goldfish and grapes? And kids are always stoked when they take something home.* This was not a fancy party, but it was as fun as any other.
I am trying hard to remember this as I put together my almost six year old's birthday party.
My son doesn't care about fancy party invitations.
He just wants friends to play with.
My son doesn't know what a tablescape is.
He wants a cake with a few candles and people to sing.
My son also doesn't care if there are fancy printed gift tags on the party favors.
He just wants everyone to have fun.
For these reasons I am hosting this year's birthday party with the "less is more" philosophy. An evite will get all his friends to our house. A snack mix** will be the only thing on our tablescape. And his six friends can take home their $2 squirt guns after they have spent the afternoon enjoying them.
It takes Herculean effort for me to just sit on my hands when I want to add something extra to my boy's party. Eventually the urge passes. I am doing this because I am certain that whatever idea gripped me at that moment will not be missed by the guest of honor. I am sure that without the extra stuff that usually sucks away my time and energy, my boy will still have a great birthday.
This is the class gift we gave out this year. OK, so maybe I'm not completely cured, but I'm trying!
* I wholeheartedly support the "no party favor" position.
** Our snack mix is a combination of goldfish crackers, pretzels, marshmallows, and M&Ms. Mix them in whatever portions you desire. Kids devour it!