5 kids = 5 birthdays every year. To keep things simple, I stick to regular themes for the kids birthday parties. I can plan ahead, and buy decorations on clearance to save money.
Certain parts of the year are busy with birthday celebrations for our family – spring & fall. Our usual routine has been to make a big deal about the birthday boy or girl on their birthday with a dinner and dessert of their choosing. My husband and I take them out to lunch, too, either on the day if it’s a weekend or the closest weekend to their birthday. The special lunch gives us a chance to spend time together with the birthday boy/girl which we normally don’t have.
Since we haven’t been able to afford birthday parties at special places for my children’s classes, our usual routine has been to have a big family party and invite a few close friends. We usually have the party on a Saturday afternoon/evening starting around 3 p.m.with dinner served at 5 p.m. My husband cooks most of the dinner while I handle the decorating, set up, shopping, and food prep. Usually family members bring something to help with the food, either an appetizer or a side dish. A few times, I’ve had help with the dessert, though I prefer to handle that myself.
Since my daughter’s birthday is December and my middle 2 son’s birthdays are in September and October, their family birth celebrations revolve around Christmas and Halloween. For my daughter, I’ve been using the Nutcracker theme which I can then incorporate into my Christmas decorating. The Nutcracker ballet is a favorite tradition for me, and I’ve started taking my children to see each Christmas as long as I can find affordable tickets.
To do a Nutcracker theme which flows into Christmas, I use real candy and candy ornaments that I’ve found at Walmart. I’ve also found that sparkly ribbon and tulle are inexpensive ways of creating a girly, frothy atmosphere without spending too much. The first time I did the Nutcracker, I focused on the elements found in the ballet like the soldiers and the mice. The next time, I focused more on the winter wonderland.
Since fall is a favorite time, and Halloween is one of our favorite holidays to decorate for, it’s been easy for me to do a Halloween-themed party for my middle boys. I’ve had a learning curve with the size of the cake however. The Wilton half sheet cake pan I have requires a double batch of cake mix and really a triple batch of icing on the outside.
For the decorations, I use the fall decorations I put up during Labor Day weekend and add in some Halloween ones. I found some cute filler decorations for jars on clearance at Pier One a few years ago. I also have a large piece of Halloween fabric which has served as a tablecloth. Target has had some Halloween party decorations which go well with my other ones. I usually stick to jack o’lanterns with a few scary black cats thrown in here and there, and of course, candy corn. Black and white ribbon ties everything together.
Last Minute Birthday Party
One year, 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.
Thanks to my sister, the birthday cake, a fort, was already taken care of. I had plenty of leftover party supplies on hand, plus my collection of entertaining supplies. My kids jumped in to help with cleaning and setting up. For the food, we ordered a tray of sandwich-making items from the local deli. The party went off without a hitch.
More Birthday Party Ideas
How do you handle birthday celebrations for your kids?
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