Don’t Go Broke Over A Birthday Party!


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Do you remember your birthday parties? I remember the ones my mom threw for us. Kids loved them! We always had themes, and everyone could dress up. They were always at home, and the child with the birthday took part in planning it with my mom. This grew into parties for just about anything! I don’t recall party bags, but the guests were always given something as a thank you for coming, and they didn’t have to wait to leave to enjoy it.

My brothers had a “Robin Hood” theme party. mom used flour for the two archery rows, and bags of flour behind the painted target, so the arrow had something to land into. Yes, they used real arrows. I’m sure there were rules like ONE AT A TIME! Mom always made our cakes – this party, of course had a 9” round cake decorated as a target.

I got to decorate my own cake for my 6th birthday. My friends were so impressed I was allowed to do that! At a friend’s pre-teen birthday party, we all got one turn at cutting the angel food cake. (They’re supposed to be cut with serrated knife. We were given a plain knife-on purpose, and it was hilarious.) The cake would mash down with the weight of the knife, then spring up when the knife was lifted. We’d “saw” away, and get nowhere.

In our teens, we’ve had a taffy making party, and a 6-foot sub sandwich on my 16th. Black and white silent reel-movies (rented from the library.) With popcorn! Backwards party: dress backwards, eat dessert first, and play games backwards.

My sister had a Japanese Gisa – tea party. (Girls loved it.) My dad had been to Japan, and my sister and I had kimonos. Mom put make-up on us, and guests. We had a door on bricks as a coffee table. Kids sat on floor and had tiny size tea cups, with I’m sure, watered down tea. The food wasn’t expensive, and I doubt it was japanese – it was in 60’s. It would be easier now, but I think I’d make sure the make sure it’s food most kids will sample: rice, chop sticks, a real simple stir fry, wasabe seaweed (it’s a snack, not a meal, so they may try it if they’re curious.) Japanese crackers, Japanese tea. We had the music (check out the library, or online; ask older military if they have any.) just go with the age appropriate flavors, mellowing anything too strong. Maybe try some ginger candy, or candied ginger (but that may be too strong for little kids – and it’s pricey.) Go to a specialty store and get ideas.

The idea is to have fun, and maybe create memories. You’re not going to recall the bouncy event as much as a homemade, in-the-budget party. Enjoy! And if you really don’t have money for a party. Consider allowing your child to invite one friend out for an ice cream, or a meal, or have a very special meal with the child. (Very special doesn’t always equate to very expensive.) Being told, “I love you” is priceless, even to a kid.

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