Friday, January 19, 2007

Party Party!

So, you've probably noticed that I've been a little quiet. The events of the week, combined with the fall out, have made it sorta hard to get into full-on creative blogging here. However tonight I was reading around the Net and found some questions that Danigirl over at Postcards From the Mothership was asking about kids birthday parties (read the post here).

I suppose that since I've worked with little kids for so long and just did the 11th party of my mothering career, I could have some tips so here goes:

1. Unless you want to be doing a big party every year, keep it SMALL.

Did you hear me? SMALL. A few friends, some pizza, SMALL. Me, I couldn't resist. I'm the Mom that you would find meticulously cutting out paper snowflakes to hang from the ceiling, painting icing bikinis on Teddy Grahams, and crafting elaborate invitations that the kids look at for two seconds. If you dare to step into Martha-land and begin to set the bar that high in the early years, you will pay down the road. "But Mommy, remember that awesome space ship cake you made? It was my favorite! Can't I have another really cool cake that all my friends will love because you are the best ever?" Of course they don't know that it took you 3 hours and about $20 just to decorate the thing. Take heed, people. It's easier to raise the bar, so much harder to lower it. On the other hand, these kinds of parties dwindle when they get older. Around the pre-teen years they begin to grow out of them, so if you want to have fun while you can, go for it.

2. Don't feel you have to invite everyone-siblings included.

This year was the ONLY year that we invited the entire class, and how many RSVPs did we get? Three. We invited the entire grade 6 class, the karate class, the siblings, the kids up the street, and in the end we had about 20 kids. Whey did we invite so many? Did we somehow grow a money tree in our backyard? No. I found I could book the public pool for a mere $70 for an hour, plus have space to do cake and food. We didn't do decorations or goodie bags. However, because of the numbers, my stress level was stratospheric. I thought that we'd invited everyone we knew and nobody was coming. Imagine how my son felt. Get to know the parents and just be a little discreet about it, talk to the birthday child about 'party manners', etc. A good excuse that I had was, "I only have 8 invitations, and that is how many people we are inviting." I will never, ever, do the 'invite everyone' thing again.

3. Decide on what's important to you-paying a little more and not having to clean a thing up, or saving some money and doing it at home.(but then cleaning up your completely trashed house afterwards)

My son has a birthday close to Christmas, and I tell you-some of those venues are worth their weight in solid gold. I can't tell you how nice it was to just come home to a clean house and not have to spend hours cleaning icing out of the carpet! If you really do your homework, you can also find venues that don't cost a lot of money. There are events around town that make a great birthday party venue, so keep reading.

4. Expect the parents to bolt, except your really good friends.

I tried everything to get parents to stay. I made coffee and small appetizers, and it was hopeless-the parents would drop the kids off and basically run back to their cars. Granted, it was the Christmas season and they were all too happy to have a little extra shopping time, but I was disappointed. Why won't they stay? I wanted to meet them! I think that some just view it as free babysitting for a little while-which was okay, I guess. I went to the parties if I didn't know the family, and I always offered to stay and help at our friend's houses (which they always gratefully accepted).

5. To save in the clearance section.

This may sound a little weird, but I would keep an eye on the clearance sales right after Christmas, and in the summer. There is no better way to get great goodie bag items. Sometimes you can even get the party ware!

Want some ideas? Here's the ones we've done:

Fire Hall Party

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