Monday, June 1, 2009

Take it from me

Here are the things I learned about throwing a wee one's birthday party.


DO send evites. Moms get themselves so worked up over the *perfect* invitations.
Evites are free, fast, interactive, and better for the environment. Want to send a pic? Save it for the Thank You cards, which absolutely should be in hard copy.

DO put together nice, thoughtful, and age-appropriate goodie bags for the kids. We got notes immediately following the party and they all mentioned the bags. (send a comment for more info)

DO utilize the $1 bins at Michaels, Target, Party City and Joann's for the goodie bags.

DO include trial sized sunscreen tubes in the goodie bags!

DO use reusable cloth bags rather than crappy plastic for the goodies (see Target and Old Navy for bags <$1)

DO remind family members that the party is NOT the time for quality time with the birthday child. Baby wants to play with their friends and not sit obligingly on some one's lap all day.

DO let others brings dishes if they offer. Why not? Nobody needs to be a superhero and do it all themselves.

DO make cupcakes instead of cake. No knives, no clean-up, no hassle.

DO have kiddie pools! You can NOT go wrong with kiddie pools. Remember to set up chairs around them for the parents.

DO have extra diapers, towels, what-have-yous on hand for others. . . just in case.

DO keep the time of the party short and sweet and keep nap times in mind. 12-2:30 worked for us, though I would have gone for 11-1:30 if doing it again.

DO realize that you will be way too busy to 1)take great pics 2) socialize with friends and family or 3) eat ---plan accordingly.

DO prepare your kid! Teach your 1-year-old how to "blow" so they can go at their candle. Too cute!

DO send a wish list out to the evite list as the party gets closer letting guests know what kind of toys are appropriate and what sizes birthday child wears. Most everyone will abide by it and appreciate the guidance. They want to help!

DO keep your guest list small, manageable, and including kids of around the same age.

DO keep it simple. Kids like to play. Period. They don't need a bouncy house, a cheesy theme, a fancy cake, or a ton of people to enjoy themselves.


DON'T buy $1 tablecloths at Michaels

DON'T use the "1" candle! Don't do it! Just find a cute regular candle (Michael's has cute cupcake ones) and use just one. The "1" candle does NOT stick in the cake, with pull it apart and fall over.

DON'T use a theme for kids 2 and under. They won't know the difference and will have a lifetime of annoying licensed character parties as it is. Themes can so quickly get out of hand and lead to much more money spent!

DON'T pay someone to do something you can do yourself. If you keep the food list simple enough, you can save money and stress. This goes for the cake too! Everyone can make cute cupcakes or a simple cake.

DON'T bother with boy vs. girl goodie bags. At this age, they like the same things!

DON'T drag it out. Keep things moving--food, cake, gifts--so your guests don't feel burdened or overtired.

DON'T underestimate the stress of watching your child and the others, getting the food out and ready, saying hello to everyone, and moving the party along. Even the simplest party will be a stressor for the parents.

DON'T forget to stop and get pictures--or assign someone else to do it for you.

DON'T spend an embarrassing amount of money. They're babies for crying out loud.


Kara said...

Great suggestions! Love your list. What goodies did you use in your bags? I am planning Rory's right now. It's weekend after next and I am lacking gift bags. =)

Amelia said...

Hey Kara! How is miss Rory?? For the bags, I bought cute cloth sacks at Target ($1) that said "A Good Planet is Hard to Find" So Cute! From Target, I got Sand shovel/rake (plastic of course) sets (2 pcs) and travel-sized sunscreen for $.50. From Party City, I got hand clappers (set of 6 for $2.50), party hats (8 for a few bucks), and rock star shades (12 for $2).
Other ideas: Play doh (Michaels $1), expandable towels, pop up books (Joanns $1). GL!