Birthday Party Virgin. Who me?!

So, this was the first year I hosted a proper (big-gish) birthday bash for Little Man. And I now get what all the buzz /stress /planning for a kids’ birthday party is all about. No, this wasn’t Little Man’s first birthday – we celebrated that in USA with family; perfect, as I wanted – and for his second, I had a small party at home, with a Lightning McQueen cake (his favourite at the time), balloons and Little Man’s close friends. He still didn’t ‘get’ what a birthday was, but I wanted to do something special for him on his day.

Last week, Little Man turned three (How? When? Where did my baby go?). Husband and I wanted to do something bigger this year, since he now understood it was a special day (involving lots of gifts) and was pretty excited about it. Of course, we realised he was still little in a sense, and didn’t want to have one of those grand bashes or excruciatingly expensive kiddie parties at soft play areas/ museums / children’s centres. That, we shall keep for when he’s older and can enjoy them to the fullest.

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And so, without realising it, I plunged into the ‘Planning my kid’s birthday party’ abyss. I say abyss because it never ends (the older they get, the more the demands for a particular kind of party. Or parties!!!). And there is just SO MUCH planning involved in hosting a kids birthday party!!! Now I know…

My BIGGEST MISTAKE was not waking up earlier. I remember hearing mums talking about their kids parties in June when the birthday was only in August, and thinking ‘Wtf is she doing, that’s insane!!!’, but I get you now, you well-organised mum. Forgive me, this was my first time…

I woke up less than a month to the big day and thought it will be a piece of cake. (Cake – that’s a HUGE part of the party, mind you!!!) Little did I know how wrong I was…

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So, here’s what it takes to host a kids birthday party…

1. Venue
This is the foundation. Without a place (with decent enough space – crawlers need to move around and toddlers and pre-schoolers need to run!) you can’t plan the rest. If you’ve got a big living room and a garden, you’re sorted. Other options include hosting it at a soft play area, a farm, a museum and the like (though I personally feel your kid needs to be old enough to actually enjoy these). If you have a summer baby, consider yourself lucky. Just head to your local park, choose the biggest tree, put up a few balloons, get lots of mats and sandwiches and squash and a ball and a frisbee and you have a party! Or, hire a private room in a restaurant. With my getting into the action so late, we were lucky we even got the last option!

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2. Food and Drinks
You have to think about the children, their parents and their infant siblings (if any). So that’s three types of food and drinks! Besides the usual vegetarian/ non-vegetarian/ allergies et al. Not one simple menu.

3. Cake
No child wants a boring round or square cake. It has to be his or her favourite character – nothing else will do! (And these bloody cakes are bloody expensive!!!)

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4. Theme and Decorations
Your kid will want a theme. Pirates or Fireman Sam or Peppa Pig or Frozen. And so, everything must revolve around that theme – from invites to decorations to the cake of course to the wrapping paper for return gifts. And yes, the paper napkins and plastic glasses too!!! That’s a hell of a lot of co-ordination!

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All the essentials: Banners, Bunting and Balloons

Balloons, buntings and banners!

5. Entertainment
Kids need to be entertained. All through the party. They are not going to sit around sipping juice and tucking into sandwiches talking about the weather or politics. If it’s in the outdoors, go with a bouncy castle or ball pit or soft play for smaller crawlers. Keeps ’em occupied and gets them out of your hair.

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If its indoors, hire an entertainer (another ridiculous expense) who will sing, dance, bring the disco lights and the bubble machine (every kid’s sure shot favourite) and play games to keep the mini guests busy.

6. Party Bags/ Party Favours
Not to be taken lightly. Kids love party bags and wait for them. As do parents, as it helps soothe frayed nerves / appease tantrums over having to leave the party. Yes, those li’l bags add to the cost too.

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7. The opening-the-gifts bit…
It’s not over even when the party’s over. Your hyper, over-excited, over-tired child who has had seven cupcakes and five pieces of cake (sugar rush is an understatement here) is on a mission. To open his/her presents. Each and every one of them. Immediately after the party.

You are on a mission to stop your child from opening ALL of them that very night. I mean, your overfilled-with-toys house now has 17 more humongous things (a car garage, a race-track, more lego pieces for you to trip over in the middle of the night…) and it would be nice to space them out over… a year? Ok, a few months at least. But that is next to impossible. You cannot fight a hyper, over-excited, over-tired child who also happens to be the birthday boy or girl! So, like the above six points, you surrender. And thank your stars that this won’t come around again for another 365 days!!!

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Little Man’s big gifts

PS: I’m still a novice, I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ll be better (and more prepared) next year. At least I’m not a birthday party virgin anymore!!!

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I’ve linked this post with #bestandworst #coolmumclub #FridayFrolics and #GlobalBlogging

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19 Responses

  1. makiniangie

    Nice tips there. I am planning to have a birthday party for my twin girls in the next two months and i must say i didnt realizs that planning is that crucial… thank you for sharing

  2. I’m dreading the first big birthday party!! Great post, totally agree about the cake. Would it hurt to make it a cuttable shape?! #coolmumclub

  3. I’m in this hell right now… 2 weeks to go aaargh! WHY DID I BOOK IT! 😉
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

  4. Woo-hoo! You are no longer a party virgin! Good work. Sounds like you rocked it #FridayFrolics

  5. It was the big one’s 7th birthday party yesterday. I still have a headache! I do rock the party bags though! Lego chocolate molds were a great investment! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

  6. Ahhh great post, isn’t birthday party planning sooo stressful! Thanks for linking up #bestandworst

  7. Well done! I have a three year old and a two year old and not yet done a party! Parties are so stressful – I’m waiting til they actually demand one!

    Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics. Hope to see you next time.

  8. Sounds like you put on quite a do. I’ve got my little one’s third in about 6 weeks and not even planned the date! I love doing party bags though as I remember how much fun they were as a kiddie. #globalblogging

  9. Sounds like you planned quite a do, well done you! I have my little one’s third birthday in about 6 weeks and not even planned what day to have the party yet! I do love doing the party bags though as I remember how much I loved them as a kiddie. #globalblogging

  10. Party season drives me nuts. I have one in November, one in January and 2 in March! I’m a partying lunatic after it all!!! Now baby #5 is due in May! Expensive, nerve wrecking and exhausting… But that smile on their face and the excitement gets me every time! Thanks for linking up #GlobalBlogging

    • Wow. That’s a lot of parties to plan for and execute!!! Well done you! But you’re right… the smile on their face makes it all worth it:)

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