create a birthday party in 24 hours: parties and real life schedules

Thanks to having 5 kids, birthday parties are a regular occurrence in our family. 4 times a year we do a family birthday party – spring, summer, fall and winter while combining 2 fall birthday celebrations into one.

Create a Party in 24 Hours

Lists and Planning

Lists and planning are key to making these parties happen. All 4 birthday parties fall at busy times in our schedule – the end of school, beginning of school, and Christmas time. Usually, I start working on the parties about 2 months ahead of time, even if it’s simply setting the date and time and deciding on the menu. For me, these are the most important parts of party planning. Having a set date gives me a deadline. Having a menu means I can shop sales and make food ahead of time.

Party Preparation List 2 Weeks Before Party
Party Preparation List Week Before Party

Party Preparation the Week Before the Party

Most of the party preparation happens the week prior to the party. I take my lists and schedule tasks for each day to spread the preparation over a week’s time unless my schedule dictates otherwise. I try to leave the Friday before the party free for last minute errands, food prep, and getting the house ready. Saturday is for final cleaning, set up, and picking up items like the cake and ice.

Create a Party in 24 Hours

Last Minute Party Preparation When You Have Almost No Time

Last week, I had to plan a family birthday party at the last minute. The date had been set since the beginning of September with invitations emailed. However, I had a crazy September between back to school stuff and lots of Girl Scout training and preparation. Last week, my youngest son had a series of melt-downs in preschool which meant extra pick ups, trying to write while he was home, talking to the teacher and principal about my son, and taking him to get checked for illness.

Getting ready for a family birthday party on Saturday was the last thing on my mind with the stress and worry about my son’s situation at preschool.

Create a Party in 24 Hours

Fortunately, I had some fall backs for Plan B. My sister was already taking care of the birthday cake which freed me from ordering a cake or making it myself. I dug into our party supplies and found lots of Halloween napkins and plates to use, plus some leftover plastic wear. I didn’t have to go to the store, and cleaning up after the party would be much easier.

The best part of Plan B was ordering a deli tray at a local store Friday morning. While I would love to make the food or serve healthier versions of lunch meat, ordering the deli tray freed up my time. I ordered chicken salad as a gluten-free option, roasted red peppers, and orzo salad as a side as another time savings.

Finally, all of my kids jumped in to help. In fact, my 9 year old son woke up the morning of the party at 5:30 am and started re-arranging the furniture on the first floor, even though the party wasn’t happening until 3:0o pm that afternoon. Boy did I love him! Other kids helped with setting up the party goods, wiping down counters, making salad, preparing the appetizer tray, not to mention cleaning up the basement and vacuuming the basement and first floor.

The party was a success. It wasn’t about the food. Or the cleaning up.

It was about inviting people into our home to celebrate and making the best of what we had.

Because I love meeting new people and sharing, this post is linked to:

Teach Me Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, The Mommy Club, Monday No Rules, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Busy Monday, Motivation Monday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop

Meet Barb

Barb Hoyer has written 4289 posts.

After working in the fundraising world for over ten years, Barb is an avid runner, writer, photographer, parent volunteer, and lover of dictionaries and thesauruses. Wife to an engineer and mom to 5 kids, Barb lives in the suburbs of Philly. Her idea of relaxation is an afternoon on the couch with a stack of books.

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  1. says

    I am totally with you on buying what you can in order to make a party more manageable, and frankly more fun for you! Sometimes I cook everything from scratch for a party, many times I make preparing the food part of the party (kids love to decorate their own pizzas and cupcakes!) and many times I pick up party trays or have pizza delivered.

    Just as you said- the whole point is in being together to celebrate a family member’s special day- it’s not about “being Martha!”
    Sharon at Momof6 recently posted..Halloween Bark (With Free Printable Tag!)

  2. says

    Seasonal birthday parties are a fantastic idea! love your tips on how to accomplish the task on survival mode. Whatever works, right! The goal is for everyone to enjoy one another’s company. The bulk of our birthdays are in early summer, so I’m moving to one great celebration so I took notes today!
    Linda recently posted..DeCluttering

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