The other day I was looking at a local magazine’s take on birthday parties for kids. WOW! Talk about over the top.
Apparently gone are the days of cake, ice cream and pin the tail on the donkey. Now it’s all about the destination party—a gym, theater, theme park, rock wall climbing, gourmet fondue, paint ball course, build-a-bear, ceramics glazing or whatever. And to be politically correct at even the youngest age, you’re expected to invite everyone in little Johnny or Susie’s, I mean in little Rowen or Eva’s school or nursery class.
And the expenses to cover this? Priceless.
Alice never had it so good
I don’t mean to be a stick in the mud but I think this whole process has gotten out of hand.
Sure we all want to celebrate the milestones our babies and children pass, but a flamboyant show of largesse in a frenzied environment where you’re hustled in for an out-of-the-box experience and then hustled out to the parking lot afterward sounds a lot more stressful and a lot less fun than the party-throwing stress it’s supposed to relieve and the fun it’s supposed to provide.
The key is creativity
If you want a combination of less stress while also honoring your child’s special day, try at-home creativity instead. Here’s an idea for a Tea Party Princess theme that any mom can throw together for under $20.
First, hand-make some invites. Outsource the labor for that by letting the birthday girl decorate them. A child as young as four can make pink watercolor on recycled paper and then you or an older child can fill in the party details. Older girls can draw princesses, tea cups and whatever else the party is themed in. Add glitter and send ’em off.
Or design it yourself on the computer, opting for either an e-vite to be a bit greener, or printed on Forest Stewardship Council approved recycled paper.
Then all you need is tea cups and saucers, a dress up box, homey decor, and cake and ice cream.
Tried and True
I once threw one of these tea parties and bought all mix and match cups and saucers from a Salvation Army for ten cents apiece. I looked for ones with flower patterns or gold trims, girly stuff. I tied a little bow around each handle. If they broke it was no biggie because they were so affordable, and reused. Best of all, the cup and saucer became the party favor for her little friends to take home.
Then I hung a few curtains from strings around the table space, with ribbons and twinkly lights hanging off. All stuff taken from the Christmas wrapping box. Finally, I set the table settings out on a pretty scarf with a little flower arrangement.
While at the party the little princesses were entertained not by a fairy-tell teller for hire or a theater troupe brought on site to perform Snow White. They simply painted and decorated a pile of crown templates I had cut out and then put them on with the other dress ups. They made wands from real sticks, cardboard stars, feathers, glitter, and old costume jewelry. The guests got to take those home, too.
The experience, memories and pictures from an event like this were so much more engaging than anything I would have found under fluorescent lights in a loud commercial environment. And perhaps best of all, I could control the menu, serving the kinds of healthy celebratory foods that make everyone feel much better, without either the super sugar highs or the post-party super sugar lows.
All without leaving home.
Your own brand of fairy dust
Kids love what we do for them from our hearts. Far from expecting us to provide what someone else’s mom or dad gave, they most often simply enjoy the life we create for them. That can be simple, meaningful and affordable when you bring a little mental fairy dust to the party.
–Lindsay Curren, Lady Virginia