Oct
12

Birthday girl, birthday boy

by Sofia   -   in Party planning

This Friday is Bubble Gum´s 5th birthday. Our sweet girl obviously gets breakfast in bed with her presents * as it is customary in our home. Her big sister suggested teddy bear pancakes which we might do for our teddy lover. We have invited the grandparents for birthday cake after school too but all the godparents, uncles , aunts and cousins will get their own party a little later on ( when we celebrate both girls at the same time). Bubble Gum is hosting a small birthday party for a few of her friends too. 5 guests at the party like her age. From pre-school onwards the girls invite all the girls in their group as then there are not so many more and it would feel strange and unkind and unnecessary to leave just a few out. But for under 6 year olds I think having a smaller party is great as they can concentrate better on the few special friends they have. 5 is still so small. 

*( one from her sister, one from us as we are not big believers in giving too many things)

There has been talk in the Finnish media about the costs of birthday parties for children and about the presents given out at them. Apparently some children from not so well of families feel they can not participate as they can´t afford to buy expensive gifts or arrange parties in return. I love arranging parties but I have also always been a believer of making a little go a long way ( I admit I don´t always necessarily follow my own rule when I get over excited but it can absolutely be done) . Things don´t have to be terribly expensive to be lovely. And when it comes to presents I have said it on the blog many times I find it strange that some feel the need to spend a lot of money on expensive gifts for school friends. I always believed that a friends gift should not be something extravagant but rather a small token to pass on at the party to make the party girl or boy feel special. It would also be a great teaching opportunity for us parents, to teach our children to be gracious hosts and appreciative and thankful for all the presents they received no matter what they thought of them. I´ve had a little friend of one of my girls over for a playdate who told me that her mom gave our birthday present away because she thought it was so ugly (they are at the age where they may just come up with this I guess?!). I´m not always over the moon about all the gifts my girls receive but surely dismissing them is not something I would want to teach them.

Marie Chantal wrote a little piece about party etiquette on her blog if you´d like to read. And here is a good collection of small gifts I would not mind my children finding from their friend´s birthday parcels eg. this one. We have also given our little friends gifts with old school toys like the Chinese jump rope ( in Finnish it´s called twist) with some street chalk etc. I like to give something to get the kids outside and moving instead of being huddled up inside. And crafty things like colouring books and some ( cool scented) crayons are always a lovely gift in my opinion.

When I think about parties on a budget I´m always thinking of a story my colleague told me. Her kids are already in their twenties but they still talked about the best birthday party they attended. One of their class mates came from a family that struggled a little but they still wanted to organise a birthday party for their child´s friends. They bought some juice and a box of cookies from the grocery store and took all the kids to a little forest close to their house to explore and have a snack. It´s absolutely genius and all a party really needs to be. Kids just want to be together and the birthday child wants to feel special. That´s really all there needs to be. Nothing fancy or extravagant. And again if I would find my child dismissing a party for not being ” fancy enough” or ” special enough” I would rather have a long look in the mirror to see if I have not quite succeeded in my upbringing.

Here are a few other ideas to make a party on a budget…

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I´ve always thought serving ice creams or milkshakes is so easy, everyone loves them and they are fairly inexpensive to make too. ( photo)

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Free printable are all over the net. You can get everything form party invitations to decorations. ( photo)

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If you feel like decorating a little then why not use children´s books as props and a bouquet of inexpensive grocery store flowers goes a long way if you are it in small individual vases or glass bottles. ( photo)

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I like the idea of buying or making something simple like meringues or donuts and building a pile instead of investing in a party cake. Just add some candles or sparklers for a festive touch.

a7344b8d655fd37494076694a24ad717My focus on this woodland fairy party is in the background that would be easy to recreate if you found some leaves from the forest or your back yard and taped them to the wall. ( photo)

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I adore this simple Babar party. The wooden toy is the main decoration and they are serving simple filled bread rolls and a chocolate cake. The party hats and crown are made from coloured craft paper found inexpensively. ( photos)

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Balloons don´t need to be helium filled. Buy a bag from the supermarket and hang them from some strings for a fun and festive touch. (  the cutest photo borrowed)

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Who doesn´t love pancakes? How about throwing a pancake party or as in Finland we call them ” lettukestit” . Serve the pancakes or crêpes with some simple strawberry jam and whipped cream. I don´t know many people who would not like that! Looks like cotton Candy is settling on a pj party for her friends later on this year and we will be serving pancakes amongst a few other breakfast goodies instead of a cake. It won´t be a sleepover but the girls will be asked to dress up in pj´s instead of party dresses and we have some sleepover related activities in mind. ( photo)

What is your take on kids parties and presents? I´m curious! I would also like to know how things are done in where you live.

Lattemamma

 

 

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5 comments on “ Birthday girl, birthday boy „
Susanna, on October 12, 2016

This is a good topic. I think that the main issue is that many kids nowadays “have it all”, this is why the kids really do not appreciate “the little things in life”. It seems that most party invitations – at least for my 10 year old son – include some sort of activity: Megazone (city war), ice skating (or other sports activity), Theme parks etc. I have even heard of bigger kids being invited to karting races, concerts etc. A friend of mine also invited the entire class to the cinema when her daughter turned 7. And a year later she invited 17 girls over for a sleepover…. and a year after took the entire class to the swimming hall with instructors etc. A bit overboard, some might think!

It might, therefore not always be the simple idea that is the issue, but the fact that the kid feels embarrrassed if he/she can’t afford to return the favour to his/her friends. I also believe that parents in many cases are to blame. They are so anxious to “buy their kids popularity amongst classmates” that they forget what is considered normal.

Nevertheless, another friend of mine with a low budget and “a not so big house” insisted on throwing a party for her 12 year old son at home. He was not keen – but accepted. As a reault he had friends come in questioning why their house was so tiny and did he really not have his own room.

Despite all this, we, as parents, have not jumped on the birthday party extravaganza bandwagon. Actually, for the last 2 years my son has requested for a sleepover and he has been allowed to invite 3 friends (4 boys for a night is a tough job ;)…). We have then taken the boys bowling or to the cinema and gone out for pizza. The rest of the time they have just played and had fun together. Some might think that the cinema and bowling are over-the-top activities – and yes, not necessary! Easily replacable with a movie at home and some popcorn.

For girls I find the birthday concept easier. Girls are much more appreciative of “the little details and decor”. This year I had 3 little girls over for my daughter’s 5-yr birthday. The theme was dinosaurs and all it required from me was a bit of imagination. I absolutely adored the fact that the girls were keen on all the little details and noticed them. Would not happen with the boys :)!

All in all, I absolutely agree that birthdays should not become a burden to anyone! I lived in the US when I was little and saw this “over-the-top party” trend already there 35 years ago. And unfortunately guess that it is a craze that has landed exactly here in Finland a few decades later.

For the time being, all I think can be done is to wish for it to go away and for parents to take responsibility for teaching kids what truly is important in life. And as you Sofia suggest, teachibg kids to be humble and appreciative! This I hope I sm able to teach my kids as well (though not always easy…)

Karkki, on October 12, 2016

Samaa mieltä edellisen kanssa – tämä on todella hyvä aihe. Kiitos tämän aiheen nostamisesta esille.

Itseäni hieman ahdistaa tämä synttäreiden ympärille kehkeytynyt vouhkaus ja hulabaloo. Materian ympärille luotu synttäri-bisnes on niin mun omia arvoja vastaan ja edustaa kaikkea mitä itse en pidä tärkeänä. Olen myös samaa mieltä Sofian kanssa siitä, että jos kuulisin oman lapseni arvostelevan tai kritisoivan toisen lapsen juhlia, lahjaa tai kotia, katsoisin itseäni pitkään peiliin ja pohtisin, että mitähän omissa kasvatustavoissa pitäisi tehdä toisin.

Toistaiseksi tuntuu, että lapsen kavereiden juhlia järjestetään sekä kotona että ulkoistettuna. Ja juhlien jälkeen viesti on, että kivointa oli vaan olla kavereiden kanssa (riippumatta oikeastaan siitä mitä siellä juhlissa on tehty). Oman kokemuksen mukaan lapset ovat kyllä aika pieneen tyytyväisiä ja tarvetta mega-juhliin onkin ehkä enemmän meillä aikuisilla.

Tähän lisäyksenä vielä, että meillä pidetään synttärijuhlia. Viime vuonna pojan kaverijuhlat oli ulkoistettu johtuen vanhempien työkiireistä ja osin siksi, että kutsuttuna oli koko eskari-ryhmä. Tänä vuonna toivon vieväni juhlijat ulos luontoon hiihtämään / luistelemaan ja siihen päälle makkaran grillausta. Suunnitelma on tietenkin täysin säiden armoilla mutta toivotaan.

Itsekin toivon, että juhlista ei tule yksi asia missä äidit voivat kilpailla keskenään ja verrata paremmuutta.

Ihanaa päivää <3

Johanna, on October 12, 2016

Such a great post at first. I find a lot of commen situations with Olivia. Still.. I do feel like that mother who “want to do it all” when it comes to parties. But I feel like as long as I’m happy/excited and not stressed about things then it’s ok. I have forbidden myself to get in a bad mood/stressed out = that’s when I have to stop.

Still, I see my 4-year old mostly (unless we have important plans) appreciating any gathering as long as it’s served something sweet – and when she can wear a “princess” style dress. Which makes me very happy since no party is a bad party according to her. And I agree.

I think it’s important to not (as a partent) look down on anyone no matter it comes to clothes, money or anything else. Because I truly believe that our kids learn from us! And by that said, I don’t think the kids really judge, unless you do. I really do my best to learn Olivia to be grateful for thing ske receives (this including also being polite). And I haven’t seen any bad signs yet, but if I do, I will take a serious conversation with her, and also look myself in the mirror (as you also wrote).

Satu, on October 13, 2016

Kiitos kivasta kirjoituksesta! Meillä pohdittiin myös jokunen aika sitten millaiset syntymäpäivät kavereille jörjestetään ja mikä on sopiva määrä vieraita- huomioiden päiväkotikaverit ja koko ryhmän jollakin reilulla tavalla, jos ison ryhmän kaikkia lapsia ei kutsuta. Ilokseni tyttäreni halusi pyytää juhliin myös poikia, ja myös hän on vastaavasti saanut kutsuja poikien syntymäpäiville. Pidän tätä asiaa erityisen mukavana, ainakin vielä päivökoti- iässä tytöt ja pojat leikkivät yhdessä eikä ole ainoastaan tyttöjen tai poikien juhlia ja leikkejä. Ihania synttärijuhlia teille ja mukavaa viikonloppua!

Sofia, on October 30, 2016

Kiitos super hyvistä kommenteistanne! Satu, meilläkin oli viime vuonna Purkalla yksi poika-kaverikin, mutta tänä vuonna halusi kutsua vain tyttöjä.

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