Hosting a child’s birthday in your home may seem like an easy and relatively inexpensive undertaking. Think again.
Shit can get crazy fast.
I learned this the hard way.
A few times.
1. Make a birthday party food room.
The very first thing you should do when throwing a party at home is prep for mass destruction. Seriously, cover the floors if possible.
One great way to deter major messes is to keep the food in one room. At a minimum, strive to keep ALL FOOD in one area, and prep the hell out of that area.
Think: ‘Kill Room’.
You might think I’m kidding… I’m not. Cookies, cake, and chips crumble EVERYWHERE! Add sodas and Kool-aid and… well… You know…
2. Only invite enough kids to fill a police line-up.
Actually, maybe only half of a line-up. There is NO reason to invite the whole freaking neighborhood and class! Especially because many parents will drop their child and run like hell. TIP: Think about how many kids you think you can manage, then invite HALF that number.
3. Hide the good toys.
There is no, “You break, you buy,” at a child’s birthday party. It’s more like, “Leave it out, it will die.”
4. Have a clear idea of activities.
A three-hour birthday party free-for-all will not go over very well on your sanity. Plan activities like party games, arts and crafts, make the hubs dress up as a clown, learn how to make balloon animals…
Plan at least five activities.
5. Serve Sugar-Free Food.
You are dealing with kids. Sugar is BAD! BAD! BAD! Fruits and veggies are GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!
Healthy snacks are the best and safest bet.
6. Give out cups with lids.
Go to the ‘everything is a dollar’ store and spring for a few cups with lids and straws – maybe a sticker or two the kids can decorate and personalize their cup.
DO NOT screw this up, these cups will be GOLD!
7. Have a separate cake for the birthday boy/girl.
Maybe this is just my kid… so if you are a gambler then go ahead and skip this lesson, but before you go, allow me to tell you a little story…
Picture it: The lights are low. The excitement in the room is bubbling over. The cameras are ready to go off in a second’s notice. Mommy (me) turns the corner with a cake lit up like a Christmas tree.
We all start singing…. Haaappppyyy Birthday Tooo Youuu… (Fast Forward) YAY!
He blows out the candles… and Before I can even make a move, this happens…
So, let me ask you this again…
Are you a gambler?
8. DO NOT OVER DO IT.
My biggest regret during these parties was not slowing down to actually enjoy the party. I was so concerned with keeping things in order, food on the table, the cake and cookies off the floor, and staying on track… FAIL!
Take time to stop and look around. Watch your child having a blast on his day. Stand by your parenting-partner-in-crime and say happy birthday to each other. This day is for you two, too. Don’t waste it sweating and stressing!
9. Throw the party away.
I love the Dollar Tree when it comes to throwing parties… AWAY! While you are there buying cups with lids and straws, for ten bucks you can buy all you need to decorate like a Boss too! Including, TWO massive cheap plastic tablecloths. Get one for the table and one to cover the floor underneath it. Then buy as much paper and plastic crap bowls and serving trays as possible, so when the party is overall you have to do is remove the things you do not want to throw away from the table, then take each corner, tie them together and drag that shit to the garbage! Then, sweep all the crap onto the tablecloth underneath the table, then throw it away! This made clean up a Breeze. Do. This.
10. Save your pennies in a jar labeled, BIRTHDAY, so next year you can pay someone to host the party.
Now, I totally get why people pay the big bucks to host their child’s birthday party at a venue. After you spend the money on decorations, food and post-party therapy, you might as well just pay someone! You get in and out, no lingering friends or family to throw out of your house, no carpet cleaner to pay for getting cake, chocolate milk, and gummy bears out of the carpet, no toys to stash and then get back out… Yes, we will definitely be saving our pennies for next year!