Well, we're into birthday season in our household. Starting last month, we began our six-month journey that will have us celebrate a dozen family birthdays, with us as the primary party planners for six of those.
I'm sure that I'm not alone in feeling a touch of panic when birthdays loom on the horizon. It seems (at least to me) like some kids' parties have taken on a frenzied and extravagant nature. For example, I recently read about one child's birthday that featured costumes for the whole family, theme music, multiple themed games, house-wide decorations, etc., etc. And all this for a five-year-old!
Anyone else feel totally intimidated?
Thankfully, I'm fortunate to know several families that have consciously opted to keep their celebrations a bit more grounded.
My sister-in-law puts on fun-tastical parties using little more than a roll of newsprint, discarded cardboard boxes from a grocery store and run-of-the-mill craft supplies. Games are re-imagined old-stanbys ("Pin The Beard On The Pirate," anyone?). And her cakes are very imaginative in their decoration, often incorporating the kids' toys to fit the theme.
A friend of ours has made a habit of hosting her daughter's birthday parties in a local park. A lot of time is spent playing on the playground equipment. Then, there are a few classic games, like sack races, tug-of-war and such. Food arrives from the pizza parlour around the corner. Some cut-up fruit and veggies complete the meal, with, of course, cake.
In lieu of typical loot bags filled with candy and plastic things that instantly break, we have received thank-yous such as a pie pumpkin (for a fall birthday) and a single helium-filled balloon (I challenge anyone to find me a kid who doesn't know how to have fun with a balloon!). My all-time favourite party "loot" though was a simple snapshot of the birthday child with our boy, mounted on a piece of boxboard (like from a cereal box) covered in pretty paper.
Our first "kid" birthday is around the corner, so I'll be musing a bit more on birthdays and such in the next while.
What "realistic" birthday ideas have you tried or experienced?