Sunday, 21 June 2009

Birthday Parties

I am somewhat apprehensive about entering the crazy world of children's birthday parties. My own memories of birthday parties were pretty low key. I'm an August baby, which usually meant all my girl friends coming over and hanging out in the backyard. When I was 10 we hit the drive-in together. Most of the parties were sleepovers. Much of our time was passed simply laughing and giggling and hanging out. Nothing high-maintenance or that required extensive planning. And you know what? I kind of liked it that way. I even know a lot of adults prefer themed parties, ranging from time periods (like the roaring '20's) to movie themes (like "Pulp Fiction.") If I threw myself a party now, it would likely be barbecue and volleyball and just hanging out gabbing.

Lately I've had a peek at the other side of children's birthday parties. I've always known that some kids like parties themed, but to me that meant nothing more than paper plates and party hats. I don't even do specially decorated cakes.

An acquaintance of mine recently had a birthday party for her 7 year old daughter. It started off with her daughter wanting to go bowling, and then, as she writes, "spiraled from there." It was '50's themed. Here are a few things she did for the party:

- sewed poodle skirts for the girls and t-shirts for the boys
- used old 45's for the invitations, and made a personalized record label for the invites
- refreshments were milkshakes, and cupcakes decorated like records
- bowling
- back home for a hula hoop contest, bubble gum blowing, the twist, a drag race, and the limbo

Wow. I know everyone has their talents, and I can easily acknowledge this isn't one of mine. I grew tired reading her account of the party and just thinking of what went into the planning! It makes me grateful for boys who will hopefully be happy with a baseball or football game and burgers on the barbecue. Oh, wait. We have only winter birthdays. Perhaps I'll take up my parents' solution for my December sister of having her party with friends in the late spring. That seems like an easier solution than hosting a bunch of boys inside the house, or doling out a ton of money to take them out to a special place.

What were some of your favourite birthday party memories? Did you bask in the glory of intricate plans or prefer a more laid-back approach?

1 comment:

heather80 said...

My parents always gave us a choice: big party, small present, or big present, small party. My parties have ranged from a few people over for a sleepover (like in grade 5 when we were messing around with the video camera and doing the Mulrooney Song thing), to this costume party that was Disney-character-themed where everyone came dressed as a Disney character, my my mom blew up on an overhead, traced, cut out, and had her kids at school colour a good 10-15 giant Disney images. We've also had the traditional stay home, play party games, wear party hats, give out goodie bags parties, and Jessy had a swimming party once (which you may have been there for? I got to invite people too, and it was in grade 5). One birthday, Heather Baerg and I, and Jess and a friend (and my parents, of course), went to either Seseme Street or Muppet Babies Live (I think Muppet Babies). My mom's favourite of our parties (except the Disney one, which reigns supreme) was my first birthday party, where she says the dads did all the work, and the moms went to the basement and drank daquiris :). OH, and my 5th birthday party was a surprise party, and I was genuinely surprised, and it was great. After the surprise part, it was the typical party hats and musical chairs party. My mom through GREAT birthday parties, and I have some really good memories of them. I don't recall them being super expensive, but they weren't cookie-cutter, and a lot of love was put into them.
Shea had a FANTASTIC first birthday party. It was just very close family and friends (which still added up to a fair amount of people), in the party room of my friend's apartment (which is fantastic). We picked up some cheese, crackers, chips and dip, veggie tray, rented a coffee pot from Tim's ($40, by the way, for 20 people, includes the carafe, the coffee, the cups, the cream and sugar), and they gave us all roll up the rim cups :), some first-birthday themed decor and place settings, and I made a cake shaped like a 1 for the adults, and then individual ice cream cone cupcakes for the kids. No games, no entertainment, just made sure people were introduced, everyone knew at least one other person, and people mingled really well. The party room had an entertainment room attached to it, with chairs set up movie-theatre-style, and a big screen TV and DVD player. So, I got a few movies for the older kids, and they entertained themselves in there. I brought a bunch of Shea's toys for Shea and the younger kids. I brought extra bibs that covered sleeves so no one ruined their shirts with the copious amount of icing I put on the kids' cupcakes :).
It was so simple, but well thought-out, and a really great time :). Kind of like our wedding, hehe :).