Yesterday I took part in a discussion on children’s parties on Britmums that was started as a result of the news that a father was handed an invoice to cover the cost of his son’s no-show at another childs birthday party – you can read the article here.
The question was “have we have lost the plot when it comes to children’s birthday parties”
No, I personally don’t think so.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my birthday parties. Ask me what present I received and I wouldn’t have a clue but ask about my parties and I can tell you in great detail. My favourite one was a joint one with my step-sister where our parents cleared out of garage and turned it into a disco. We had the most amazing doll cakes, where a Sindy doll had a dress made of cake! We also had a swimming pool party, complete with huge inflatables – I don’t think they do anything like that these days.
Throwing any type of party isn’t cheap these days and my children understand this. I don’t bother with birthday parties when they are 1 & 2 years old – they don’t remember it. Simply inviting a couple of friends to softplay is more than enough.
Eliza had her first party when she turned 3. It was a Create-a-bear party at our local soft play centre which was cheaper than Build-A-Bear with the added bonus of soft play. We had strict numbers, but as she wasn’t at nursery then it was mainly family and friends that came. Isaac was slightly different as he is at school and therefore wanted to invite his friends to his Phaser Party. Because of the nature of the party we had strict numbers so I knew how much it was going to cost.
One of the questions from the discussion was “How do you feel when party guests do not show up?” and I have to admit that I do get annoyed, especially if I have had strict numbers to work with. It has happened many a time when the older kids were little and two guests didn’t turn up to Isaac’s party last year. Parties are expensive and having to pay out for people who don’t turn up is frustrating. If I get a phone call to say they are ill that’s fine, but a no-show when you have accepted an invitation is annoying. I would never send an invoice to someone though.
“Is a great party a wonderful way of demonstrating your love for your child?” I am not sure I would think of it in that way. We don’t go overboard at Christmas as we consider birthdays to be their special day. It is the one day of the year that is all about them and we like to celebrate. This year Eliza really wanted a Frozen party and because her birthday is so close to Christmas there were no presents she wanted, so we threw her the party she wanted complete with a realistic Anna and Elsa who hosted it leaving me to sort food and any escapee children.
Was it over the top – No, I wasn’t trying to outdo anyone, I just organised the party to the best of my ability. I roped in help from friends and family which kept the event as stress free and inexpensive as possible. I cooked the food, Nanny made sandwiches and cakes, my brother-in-law did the disco and my friend Joanne made the party bags. We hired the local community centre for the party as my house is too small to hold a party, especially this time of year when you can’t use the garden.
In many ways it was an old-fashioned party in the with balloons, home-made food and musical bumps / statues and the kids loved it. I was going to take Isaac to our local climbing centre for his party this year, but he loved Eliza’s so much that he wants his own version with Spiderman.
I am going to make the most of these fun birthday parties because it’s not long before all they want is the cinema and pizza with friends!
My top tips on throwing a fabulous birthday party are:
- Set a budget and stick to it
- Research possible venues, look at reviews and compare what they provide for the price
- Rope in family / friends to help
- Don’t over cater – think picnic food
- Ask the birthday boy / girl what they want – it’s about them having fun, not the parents!
Do you throw birthday parties for your children or do you celebrate in other ways?