Throwing Birthdays - Piece of Cake?
Back in the childless days, I loved throwing parties. They were painless in the sense that once the liquor started flowing, you didn't have to sweat the details. Fast forward a few years and now that I have children, I spend time a great amount of time deliberating a plan of attack. It seems like there's so much pressure tied to throwing a child's birthday party. Who should we invite? Where should we have it? Gifts, or no gifts?
For Carter's 1st birthday, he had it back in Minneapolis. It was a bit of reunion of sorts with friends and family so we had a ton of guests, and had to tote back a ton of gifts. I loved seeing old friends and my family, but I wasn't too fond of all of the gifts. For me, celebrations aren't about gifts. For Carter's 2nd birthday, I thought long and hard whether to host it at our house or somewhere else. I also posted this on urbanMamas to see if it would generate any ideas. In the end, we held it at home, and invited the urbanMamas and some neighbor friends. We decided on a "no gift" policy since with a February birthday, Carter was still swimming in gifts from the holidays. Every year, I get a better sense of how I like to handle birthdays, and keeping it simple is always key. Here are two fuss free ideas that we used for Carter's birthday this year:
Cupcake birthday cake. This year, my husband came up with a brilliant idea of making a cake out of ice cream cone cupcakes. When it came time for cutting the cake, it was so easy! After Carter blew out the candles, I handed each child an ice cream cone. No messing with plates, silverware, and anxious kids. He didn't keep it simple by also making apple cupcakes and a carrot cake for the adults.
Book exchange in lieu of gifts. We attended a couple of parties last year that had book exchanges rather than gifts and loved the idea. Each child was instructed to bring a book to Carter's party, and when before they said their "good byes" I made sure they chose a book before leaving. We did not provide clear instructions, but somehow it worked out fine. However, to alleviate confusion, you should provide guests with explicit details such as "bring a new, unwrapped book that is appropriate for kids age 2 yrs old and older" or "bring a wrapped book from your child's collection that he / she would like to pass on to a friend ages 2 yrs old and older".
What are your ideas for a fuss free party? I've got another birthday to throw this summer so I'd love to hear any simple successes!