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Posted 04 May 2009 - 01:06 PM
My eldest son, Noah, turned three on Friday and we celebrated with presents and a low-key dinner at home. He requested fish and chips and pink (strawberry) ice cream. There had been a celebration with his friends at day care earlier on in the day where they all shared a cake, but the best was yet to come… On Saturday our house was overrun with almost 50 people for his party.
That sounds like a lot of people – and it was – but by the time I invited my extended family (my husband’s family lives in the UK) and our friends, plus some of his friends from day care and their parents, we hit 46 easily. Luckily it was a beautiful, crisp autumn day so everyone could stay outside – our house feels small with just the four of us in it!
I spent weeks planning the menu, working out how much to prepare, asking friends and relatives to help with the catering and then actually buying the ingredients, but it was still 8pm on Friday before I even started baking!
After feeding our youngest son and putting him to bed, knowing he wouldn’t wake until about 2am, I made a coffee to help me get through the marathon cooking extravaganza while my husband cleaned up the house ready for the next day.
Saturday morning sped by in a blur of cooking, cleaning, blowing up balloons, a quick ring around to find enough chairs for everyone to sit on and managing an excited three-year-old who’d been awake since 5am waiting for his party.
By the time everyone arrived at midday on Saturday the table was stocked with hot food and cold drinks. Our back yard was standing room only as the kids delighted in discovering our chickens and rabbits, and testing out Noah’s toys. We met the parents from day care and actually talked, instead of just smiling in the car park as we dropped our children off or picked them up.
As I suspected, a few of the children were getting a bit tetchy by 1.30pm so we announced it was cake time and had their undivided attention immediately. Out came the chocolate echidna cake I’d been labouring over and the resulting chocolate-covered fingers and faces made me realise why I’d spent so much time getting the cake right. Noah’s face lit up when he saw his cake and he excitedly blew out his candles, beaming so much he found it hard to blow.
Afterwards many of the families left, party bags held tightly, and we spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with relatives as Noah and his cousins unwrapped his presents (unfortunately without assistance so I have no idea who gave him what!).
The sheer size of this birthday party made me wonder if I should have invited a few of Noah’s friends to a play centre who catered for parties and then held a separate party for relatives. But I think it’s easier to do everything on one day so we all get to see each other. Also, it was a great chance to meet the parents of Noah’s friends. My uncle confirmed this when he said, “Thanks for putting this party on. It gives us an excuse to get together”.
Now we just have to find places to put all Noah’s new presents away and then we can get started on planning Ethan’s first birthday party in February. Thanks goodness that’s nine months away!
What do you do for your children’s birthdays? Do they prefer big parties, inviting a few of their friends over, or a low-key family event? I’m interested to hear your ideas.
Posted 04 May 2009 - 04:10 PM
I don't know what we'll do for birthdays. Our son was born on Christmas Eve last year. How on earth do you give him a decent party at that time of year!?
We're thinking of celebrating his birthday in the middle of the year as well, just so he doesn't get totally ripped off by combined Christmas/Birthday presents.
But at this stage, I don't think he knows or cares. Maybe we'll start worrying about it when he turns three or four.
Posted 05 May 2009 - 09:51 AM
I have a friend who was born on Christmas Day and her family used to stop in the middle of the day for an hour and do birthday stuff, but that meant she had to share her birthday every year.
My uncle was born on Christmas Eve and he had the same problem, especially with people combining presents, but just wore it. Last year he decided to take his father's (my grandfather who is now dead) birthday, which was a month earlier, as his from now on.
Posted 05 May 2009 - 01:20 PM
Sounds like a gorgeous Day! Happy birthday to your little man.
Edited by thetuckers, 06 May 2009 - 01:44 PM.
Posted 05 May 2009 - 08:48 PM
We had a similar situation and number of people for our kid's joint party. You invite family, pre-school kids, their parents and a few others and you're easily up to 40-50 people. We had a BBQ and kids food, a few beers, the blow up pool and some kids party games and it was a blast. Just keep the food simple. There's no need to plan a menu.
Posted 06 May 2009 - 11:20 AM
I think it is fine as long as you don't think you are doing it all for your son. We had a mega party for all ages for our daughter's first birthday and, sure she had a good time, but really it was more of a celebration for us to mark the end of our first year as parents. I have found with my kids that they really didn't start remembering their birthday celebrations until they were about 5yo and were just as happy with a cake and a few friends and family members as they were with a big shebang with loads of people. This year we had a big party for our 10yo but this was partly because she had just started at a new school and I thought it might be helpful to her in cementing some new friendships. The last big party we had had before that was for MY 40th birthday which was no kids affair (I just didn't think I would be able to relax and enjoy myself if I was running around after my own kids and catering to everyone else's). That was great fun!
Posted 06 May 2009 - 01:21 PM
Mrsjessop you are so right about parties for young children really being for the adults, and it's still the case with Noah. However he is getting older and understanding more about parties, which is why I invited some of his own friends, rather than mine who have children.
jhmagna - your party sounds like great fun! Our food was very simple, just a mixture of stuff kids like and then some things for the adults. I went nuts for his first birthday and naming day and felt stressed so I didn't want to repeat that.
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