Give your Kids a Day to Remember
Haters gonna hate so I’m putting it out there from the onset – I love a big party. I’m an OTT kinda gal. I love Pinterest and arts and crafting and making a big deal out of nothing and I’m basically one of those mums that when other mums attend my childs’ parties they whisper ‘Bollocks, now my kid is going to expect this for their party.’
And am I sorry about this? Nope.
I know Miss Pollyanna won’t and she thinks we should all go back to basics when it comes to birthdays (and I agree, making a big deal doesn’t have to be expensive or ostentatious), but as far as I am concerned, if you are going to do something then do it properly! If you really don’t have the energy or inclination to give your child a huge party then have a few of their closest friends over for a pizza and movie night or take them to the cinema, but if you want to throw a party then go for it, really go for it (a few limp sausage rolls and some pop music just won’t do, in my book). Having no money is no excuse to not give them an unforgettable day…you just need to have a bit of energy and a lot of imagination.
So how can you too become that mother that throws the mother of all parties (without breaking the bank or having a nervous breakdown)?
I’ll tell you…
It’s all in the theme
Pick a theme for the day and the rest comes naturally. Picking their favourite film, country, hobbies or even just a colour to centre the day around means that you now have a great starting point. You are ready to roll.
Involve your child.
This baby can run and run and is the perfect way to keep your kids busy with the build up to the big day. Firstly make the invites, if you are a bit creative go on free sites like canva.com where you can easily design professional flyers and cards that you can then print out at home or at a printers. If you can’t be bothered with that then get the children busy with a pack of blank cards and crayons. Invites sorted.
In my opinion, having a party at home is as advisable as giving your child your favourite bright red lipstick for the day and saying you trust them. Kids run, they shout, they touch things with dirty hands and they do crazy stuff like hide cupcakes in plant pots. I can’t deal with that so I always hire a venue….but it doesn’t have to cost a lot. If it’s the summer then go to a nearby park (it’s free), or ask if the local restaurant has a cheap room around the back for hire or even for free if they offer a bar or finger food. This is meant to be a fun day, and watching kids drop smarties into your fish tank is not fun.
Then decorate the hell out of it!!! Balloons are cheap enough if you buy them from the pound/dollar shop and blow them up yourself…as are streamers. But I think the most fun is when you have a great theme like Pirates and you make props. A big treasure chest full of chocolate coins on the cake table, for instance, or Pirate flag bunting, it’s surprising what you can buy online for very little, or make yourself (if you can be arsed)!
You have your theme, so think of the fun you can have around it. If you like playing with kids then dress up as a character from your child’s chosen theme and host the Musical Bumps and Pass the Parcel – or, if like me, you just want to sit with a glass of wine in your hand and watch someone else make a fool of themselves either pay for a professional entertainer or rope in a willing friend or family member. You’d be amazed what someone will do for you if you offer to buy them a drink after! You can also be creative with the games…at my daughter’s Fairy Party I drew a big fairy and stuck blu tack on a cheap plastic wand and played ‘pin the wand on the fairy’. We also had a fairy treasure hunt in the garden with hidden cheap plastic jewellery and sweeties. Just use your imagination…or Pinterest and the rest of the internet for inspiration.
As soon as you give the party a theme and ask everyone, even the parents if they want to, to come in fancy dress you are guaranteed a good time. It’s fun, it gets everyone in the party spirit and it gives you a chance to make your child feel extra special. Again, you don’t have to spend a lot. I went to a Superhero party with mine recently and with a bit of felt, ribbon and a glue gun (which I already had in my cupboards, because yes I am ‘that mum’) they had masks and wrist cuffs and a tea towel as a cape. They loved it and it cost nothing but an hour of my time.
Food and drink
Save money and make the food, but don’t spend all day cutting up triangles of sandwiches that they won’t eat. A load of frozen pizzas will do, as will bowls of chips, fruit kebabs and olives and cherry tomatoes. Because let’s face it, they are only interested in licking the icing off the cupcakes anywayTalking of cakes, don’t go to any great expense either. When my kids had a Mermaid Party I got inventive with the birthday cake – because I can’t bake for toffee. I asked a fellow mum to make me a plain sponge (instead of buying my girls a birthday present, she was chuffed with that option too) and I bought ready coloured packs of icing in the supermarket. Then my kids and I stuck a Barbie in the top so you could only see her top half, I added an icing mermaid tail and they had loads of fun making fish and shells out of their plasticine-like icing to decorate the rest of the cake. It was a huge success, they were proud of their creation and I didn’t shell out a fortune.
And as for drink, please for the love of God have some wine or cheap Prosecco available for the parents. Unless they have had the joy of being able to ‘drop and run’ and leave the kids at the party with you, then they are sitting there bored shitless making small talk with other mums that they don’t know – so at least make sure they have some bubbly in their hand.
Take lots and lots of photos or if you have the dosh, get a professional to do it. Your child will never get the chance to turn this age again so make sure you remember this day forever, and more importantly – how else will you get to show off about your Pinterest skills and master party planning without having some pics to upload on Facebook?
All in all, kids birthday parties are a living hell BUT it’s also that one day a year where they are the stars. It’s their special day, everyone is there to make a fuss over them and shower them with attention. So make it unforgettable, give them a day that they are really proud of and make it a family project. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or be about one-upmanship – it’s a chance to have fun and show your kids that yes, they get to have whatever they want for one day only. Why not? You can be a bitch mum from hell for the rest of the year as usual…one day won’t hurt.
And if I’m honest with myself I love all this nonsense because it gives me a great excuse to go to the arts and crafts shops and stock up on pretty ribbon, card and twinkly sequins. Come on, who doesn’t love a glue gun?!
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