For my girls’ birthdays this past year they invited a small crew of friends out to a “fancy” dinner and lunch respectively, while their parents (aka the bill-payers) sat a few tables away, removed from the action. It’s a far cry from the first decade-plus of their lives, when parties were mostly at home, carefully themed, and usually resulted in mom or dad — or both — short-circuiting. For those of you who have read the birthday party chapter in my book, you know the end of the story. Somehow, as soon as the final guest would depart, all that anxiety would be replaced by a very particular post-party high, that feeling you get as a parent when you realize you’ve made your kid extremely happy, magnified by the whole joyful birthday vibe, and, well I’ll say this: It feels good. (Maybe the proper analogy here might be the one about banging your head against a wall because you know how nice it will feel when you stop. ) Anyway, in the book, I explain a pretty cool strategy to get yourself through any themed party with minimal nerve damage: Break the two hours into six 20-minute blocks. To illustrate what this looks like, Food Network photographed one of my half-dozen themes, an “Almost” Sleepover Party, where kids dress in pajamas, bring their sleeping bags, but don’t actually sleep over. (This is perfect for kindergarteners, first and second graders.) Check it out if you’re in the market for party ideas, including a slumber party cake and some pretty freaking adorable pigs- and beans-in-blankets. (Get it?)
Photo Credits: Phoebe’s handmade invitation, circa 2007: Chelsea Cavanaugh for How to Celebrate Everything. Slumber Party Cake and Pigs n Blankets: Heather Ramsdell for Food Network.
We did a similar theme for my 6 year old’s birthday party 4 (!!) years ago. She had friends come for breakfast on a Sunday morning. Kids arrived at 8:30 and cleared out by 10:30. Parents had a relaxing breakfast or coffee date out. All the kids loved it!
Fun, we do this too and call it a “sleep-under.” The kids love it but aren’t super exhausted the next day!
This brings back memories of my clever mother who did birthday parties only when you were 10 and 16. For the 10th she had the kids come for lunch–from school! So the party was one hour! It had it all-games, lunch, cake and then…BACK TO SCHOOL (which was across the street). She was (and still is) one smart cookie. She has nine children so her system worked beautifully.
That might be the most genius thing I’ve heard all year.
Funny. Kind of off your main topic, but I was just thinking about when did schools get rid of being able to go home for lunch.
Somewhere around the time most moms went to work…. In our neck of the woods it was the mid-1970s.
For my girls’ birthdays this past year they invited a small crew of friends out to a “fancy” dinner and lunch respectively, while their parents (aka the bill-payers) sat a few tables away, removed from the action.
If you’re going to go to the restaurant, why not join in??
Love this idea. My 1st grader has been dying for a sleep over, but I know he is not up to the entire affair. I would have them in the early am, when we are up. But it seems that most other parents don’t want to come so early. So the 6-8pm is a good idea. Or for us, maybe 5:30-7:30pm…. We do have 3-year-old who will giddily try to pry her way into everything.