Sunday, July 22, 2012

Return of the Home Birthday Party

My good friend Jenny just hosted a fabulous home birthday party for her daughter Rose, turning 1- pictured above are Olivia and friend, Lily enjoying the birthday party fun:)

I might just add that home birthday parties are my favorite and I'm so thrilled to see a resurgence of these treasured events. My parents did lots of home birthdays for us and I have wonderful memories from each. My Mom recalls doing this due to being on a "shoe string budget" but I remember the homemade cakes, handmade decor, creative games and lots of happy friends & family gathered; priceless.

There seems to be a growing trend in kid friendly facilities luring parents into convenient birthday packages where "no clean up is necessary" and everything is "all inclusive"- I have to say, it's tempting...very tempting. However, my own personal opinion is that these birthdays can be awfully generic. My brothers & I enjoyed a few birthdays at such places (remember 'Jungle Jim's'???) when growing up- these were a real treat & we had a great time, but my favorite pictures to look back on are those from our simple home parties.

When Olivia turned 2, this past April, I found myself looking into some of these 'larger scale' options, drawn by the convenience factor- not only did hubby & I not have the moola to fork out for these, we also didn't have 20 kids to invite, which seems to be the norm: "Package good for 20 kids...". Twenty 2 y/olds? Yikes!

As I changed gears on party plans, I took a trip down memory lane and revisited my roots, aka, called my Mom:) After an encouraging chat of doing something smaller & more manageable (with an almost 2 y/o and 9 month/o, I needed manageable!), I began to get really psyched about replicating some of those classic, home party touches for Livy:)

Things to consider:
  • Guest list/venue- our home was not going to accommodate our guest list, so my parents generously rented out their neighborhood clubhouse. It was a perfect fit, not too big and yet WAY easier to clean up and manage with little ones running around! ***If your abode is on the small side, consider a church or club house facility- they're usually very reasonable or even free & you're still able to bring those homey touches:)
  • Age group- my Mom & I did some preliminary internet research about toddler birthdays and discovered some great advice. A: Save opening gifts for after the party and after the birthday child has napped! B: Consider a morning time slot (ie, 10:30am) when toddlers are usually at their best- this was key for Olivia! C: Keep the food to a minimum.- we opted for kid friendly snacks & cupcakes. D: Make sure party favors are safe & age appropriate (Love that Jenny included sidewalk chalk and finger puppets in Rose's favor bags!). I followed all of this advice and it made for a much more enjoyable experience...although I did prepare too much food...84 cupcakes? What was I thinking?

  • Date- with Livy's birthday in April, I knew some outdoor activity would be feasible (Jonah's being in August will severely limit outdoor play until he can go solo in the pool!). One of the perks to using the club house for Livy's party was the fabulous play ground that was a few steps away- easy entertainment:) ***Parks make great venues too!

No matter what kind of venue you choose, endeavor to make your child's birthday a memorable time, enjoyed by all:) Whether you're up all night finishing decorations and baking cakes or preparing for some professional help, take a few moments to add some kind of personal, homemade touch- it will mean the world to your child, just as it did for me:)

Happy birthday, Rose!


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