Back-ToBasics Birthdays

What happened to the “come along for a piece of cake” birthday party? When it was perfectly okay to have a few children over, but not an entire petting garden in your yard? Birthday parties for kids seem to be way too extravagant. From sweet 16 parties where the price of tuition equals the cost of one year of college to kids who hear Happy Birthday sung by a Broadway musical cast, to kids who get to hear “Happy Birthday”, it seems that everyone has gone overboard. It’s not all about keeping up the Jones’. Many people think it’s about crushing the Jones’ when it comes throwing the most awesome birthday party possible for your perfect little Dinosaur fan or princess fairy. Don’t get me started on the favors. That idea, as well as all of the junk, should be thrown out. It’s not like we are haters. We love parties. It’s just that our preferred way is simpler. You’re familiar with the old tale about the child who gets piles upon piles of presents, but instead plays with the box and not the shiny new toys. It’s the same principle. Do you see the power of a simple water balloon, or a pinata. You don’t have to give your child a lot of things to make them happy. They need only their friends, some treats and permission to have lots of fun. If you feel the need to book the Kid-o-Rama, it’s time to go old school. Not because it is back-to basics, it doesn’t mean that it is boring birthday book.

Five Simple Rules for a Sensational Party

  1. Give up on the favors.

Please. We, parents, can attest that these little throwaways really aren’t much of a concern to our children. You don’t need another dollar store bouncyball. They are a waste in time and money, and end up in a dump.

  1. Simply be Simple

Kids love simple games. Tag, duck, duck-goose and pin the tail of the donkey are just a few of the many games kids enjoy. You don’t have need to hire an magician to witness the magic that can be created when children gather together and allow them to run and have fun.

  1. Give It A Theme.

Themes can really make a difference. Sarah is throwing a low-key party in her backyard for her soon 5-year-old son with a theme “monster truck”. The kids will play pin, green light/red light on the monster truck and then cool off with the monster truck carwash (aka “the sprinkler”). Make sure you have glitter nail polish on hand for the princesses in your household. They will love it!

  1. You don’t need to be Martha.

The kids won’t realize that you made the frosting from scratch. Use a boxed product instead. Same goes for food. To impress children, it doesn’t take a lot of carving carrots into flowers. They are delighted when they see a pizza delivery person.

  1. Invitations.

It’s what the invite looks like that matters. So don’t worry about embossed invitations. Email is simple and evite.com makes invitations easy to send. It’s okay to be silly and expressive. One mom even sent evite without a subscription and simply included the date/time of the party as the subject. Did the children really care? Nope. They were content to be together after a rainy Saturday afternoon.