Okay, yes … as a professional event planner who makes other people’s celebrations special, there’s a certain level of expectation for my own family’s big days. That may be a little me, and a little them, but I love that I love my job so much, that I can take what I know and use it to make our birthday parties something truly special. At my house, our tradition is a fun, festive birthday party every other year, and a special family dinner with presents in between. It’s my goal that my kids look forward to the smaller celebration just as much as the bigger parties, and treasure both types of memories forever.
Here’s how we do that. For the birthday party year, I let each of my kids choose their theme and the guest list. Then, I design a celebration tailored to fit their personality and party style. For me – with two daughters that are polar opposites – that means two completely different kinds of parties. Kristen, my oldest, gets fully involved with a Pinterest board and creative ideas to rival my own professional acumen. Kamryn, on the other hand, would rather steer her efforts toward the perfect guest list and making sure we have plenty of fun activities. I’ve learned there’s no reason to spend endless hours creating an exquisitely decorated party, when your child just wants to run free and play with her friends.
Once décor is nailed down (Pinterest-envied or simply minimal), activities and entertainment are what make a great party – especially for kids. And the perk here is that there’s endless inspiration at your fingertips just by looking to what they’re into. Kristen loves music, so one year we hosted a Pop Star Party with karaoke and a playlist party favors full of her favorite songs. Kamryn, my animal lover, had a Cowgirl & Cowboy Party on a farm complete with a petting zoo and pony rides. The gift of unique parties full of friends, fun details and awesome memories means we save the wrapping paper and ribbon for alternate years.
In an effort to have my kids appreciate the intimate moments as much as the big ones, we alternate birthday party years with family dinner celebrations. Each child gets to pick their favorite dinner item to cook at home, or they can choose a restaurant where our immediate family attends and celebrates together. We always indulge in homemade cake (one we probably made together, earlier that day) and give gifts picked from a personalized wish list. It makes my heart so happy to see the smiles on their faces when it’s just our family gathered around the dinner table, faces full of cake and ice cream knowing they feel loved and appreciated on their special day. No matter how we’re choosing to celebrate it, it’s a memorable day every single year.
How do you celebrate birthdays at your house? Do you throw big, fun, themed parties? Or do you keep it simple and intimate? Either way, can we agree … nothing is better than quality time with the ones you love, especially on special occasions!