Just when I thought I’d come to the end of the ‘Keep it Simple’ series, a few people have asked if I’d share some ideas for keeping birthdays and celebrations simple… so here goes!
It’s so easy to go a bit overboard when it comes to celebrations.
Pinterest is brimming with awesomely cool ideas that surely can’t be that hard to do, right? Besides, it’s their birthday, we want it to be special!
It’s so easy to find yourself completely overwhelmed, and spending way more time and money than you can afford when it comes to celebrations.
If big, lavish, celebrations are your thing then go crazy and enjoy it, but if you’d like to keep things a little smaller, but still memorable, lets work on some tips and suggestions to keep birthdays and celebrations awesomely simple.
Simple Tips for Birthdays and Celebrations
My kids love to have birthday parties, but we don’t do them every year. We choose certain ages and milestones for big parties. That means we can go all out, and we can also spread them out a little so we are not putting on a big party for all four kids all in the same year.
You can make small celebrations and family traditions are just as fun, and special.
- Create a birthday food tradition – perhaps the birthday child gets to choose dessert, or you all help decorate an over the top cake. In our house the birthday person gets to choose where or what we eat for dinner!
- Just because you are not having a party doesn’t mean you can’t use decorations! A few balloons, a homemade banner, or some party poppers make any day feel special.
- Try a simple surprise! Fill their room with balloons while they are sleeping, take a surprise day off school, write birthday messages in surprising places like the trampoline, in their lunch box, or on the toilet, or try one of these fun, free, surprises from Playtivities
- Love bomb the birthday person! – send them notes and letters telling them why they are awesome, be extra kind and thoughtful, give them a massage, play their favourite game, just do as many extra nice things as you can!
- Instead of a big party choose a couple of special friends and do something special – a fancy dinner our, a movie, a fun activity, or a sleepover with one or two friends are all easy ways my kids like to celebrate.
Gifts and Giving.
Sometimes the hardest thing about a celebration is figuring out what gift to give!
- Give a the gift of an experience rather than a thing – you’ll be making memories, spending time with each other, and not contributing to clutter!
- Giving money or a gift voucher might seem boring but there are many creative ways to wrap it, and if the person is saving for something, or difficult to buy for, much better that they can buy themselves something they really want or can use.
- Start collecting a list of brilliant gift ideas. If someone gives a gift or has an idea you think is awesome, make a note of it! Create a pinterest board (here’s mine) or use Evernote, or just a note app on your phone – but make sure you have it with you so you can easily check it when you are out shopping for that perfect gift.
So you’ve said yes to having a party… now what? How do you keep the party planning from getting out of hand? Can you really throw a simple party and have it be awesome? I think so
- Before you do anything else, think about the person the party is for – plan the celebration for the person you are celebrating. What would that person enjoy? What wouldn’t they like so much?
- Choosing a theme can help you quickly and easily make decisions about decorations, food and activities – but choose something simple, and something that has lots of options that are easily available. A rainbow party, a carnival party, a disco party, an art party – these are all broad themes with lots of options.
- Invitations don’t need to be fancy or expensive! Get your child do draw some pictures on the back of a print out, or help them put together an email to send out. Just make sure you have all the information on the invitation and an easy way to RSVP!
- Keep the numbers manageable. Do not fall into the trap of feeling like you have to invite the whole class – give out invitations discreetly to parents and teach your child not to use their party as a threat or a promise with friends.
- Don’t feel obligated to invite someone just because they invited your child to their party – as one of my facebook followers put it ” That does NOT put any weird obligation on you!!! Your only obligation was to buy that child a gift.”
- Make part food it easy to eat rather than fancy – kids really don’t appreciate a massive array of themed food, they just want it to taste good! Finger food, food on sticks, food that is already portioned (cupcakes, individual serves, etc) are all good choices.
- Unless making and decorating amazing cakes is your thing then go for simple yet cool. A stack of ice cupcakes with cup cake toppers, or even a stack of donuts with extra sprinkles and toppers looks awesome and it’s super easy if you use some of the free printable toppers out there! Try our rainbow cupcake toppers, or our dance party cupcake flags, or these number cupcake toppers I made for childhood101.
- You can easily blow your budget, and your mind, on decorations so choose carefully! Regular balloons can be used just as effectively as helium, and a homemade, kid-made, banner is just as awesome a fancy back drop, you can even have one of the activities as a ‘decorate the room’ comp!
- Don’t go overboard with party bags either – one cool items is better than a bag full of processed sugar! Check out these ideas for goodie bags from Childhood101.
- When it comes to planning activities think about the age of the kids – little ones will be happy choosing from few open ended activities like play dough or drawing etc, whereas older kids can manage more involved activities and games.
- Sending thank you notes is a lovely touch but I think it’s also acceptable to send a thank you email or text, or try our free printable thank you card.
- You can also out-source your party, and although that can be expensive, if you don’t have the space or the time it can be a life saver! Ask other parents in your area about party options and get lots of opinions before you book!.
Get your simple party planning started with this free printable party planner.
All the printables shared in this post are A4 sized pdf files, if you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
These free printables are for personal use only, you may not sell, share, or link directly to these files.
Do you go all out for parties every year?
Or do you have some great ideas for keeping celebrations manageable?
I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions, leave a comment below.
If you are looking for more simple cleaning and organising ideas you can check out the Keep It Simple series where we share our best simple tips for everything from laundry, cleaning, meals, kids and parenting.
And check out my ‘Party! Party! Party!’ board and my ‘Gifts and Giving’ board on pinterest for more celebration ideas.