Monday, March 07, 2011

What's your party style?

We went to a 2nd birthday party on Saturday (my friend with the twins :) - this was last year's party) and I'd decided to use those formula cans as part of their gift.

I'm not sure if she reads this blog (she's never said anything to me) but I didn't want to post the pics of the cans before then just in case.

The party was lovely - I think just enough people for a nice vibe but not too busy.

There were two people from the infertility support group besides us, with babies. I realised we're not going to be able to call them babies for much longer! Great to catch up just a little bit since we hardly see each other these days, something I'm not really happy about but oh well... boundaries and all that jazz.

I love how my friend flows with her style and doesn't try to do what other people are doing - e.g. there were no decorations, no party packs, just lots of food and toys for the kids to play with.

D and I spoke about it and he says, "that's why her parties feel so authentic!"

Apparently it reminds him of the way things used to be :)

I'm still thinking about my party style and will blog on this when I've figured it out - some things I am crystal clear on, others not so much.

I love balloons and a Happy Birthday banner (that I'm not negotiable on), enough food and party packs.

I also decided after last year that either I need to delegate the photos properly (and I come across as a control freak when I do this because people don't take enough pictures of the details - D is the only one who would do it properly but since he's a participant, he can't be photographer too) or hire a photographer.

So I have hired our fabulous photographer and at the very least, we will have good photos.

I also really loved a friend's girls' party as she got her photographer to take pics of every person there - I thought that was a really lovely touch and that pic of me and the babies is now framed in their room.

I had a whole discussion about party packs with two colleagues the other day - the one guy said he doesn't have a party every year for his kids (6 and 3) because he can't afford the party packs.

I was like, "what on EARTH do you put in them?"

Apparently he is paying R50 per party pack ($7) because of all the stuff inside which I said was a ridiculous waste of money and I could do cheaper for him LOL

Our other colleague said, "China City, my friend!" but I agreed that I don't like things that will break in 2 minutes.

Anyway, what are your non-negotiables at parties you host and what's your take on party packs?


  1. My kids birthdays are in August and September - traditionally very cold and rainy months in CT. My house is quite small and I have an open yard with no shelter. Because of this I tend to have it at a venue that does parties. I have been to many, many parties at party venues and I have to say that the best value for money is Spur. My older son loves that so requests it every year. I never invite more than 10 kids (Less is more and all that) and I pack in a party pack for each child even though Spur provides a party pack as part of the package. I also take my own cake so we can sing and blow candles. Parents are more than welcome, though they have to pay for their own meal - I pay for all the kids. This year he wants his party at the ice rink (he is going to be 11) and so I'm currently investigating options around that. My Toddler has always had his birthday during the week so I basically send cake and juice to Day Care. I haven't ever done party packs for him and normally buy good quality novelty toys at Crazy Store and/or China Town for each child. Works out so much cheaper. Once he becomes more interested then I'll make more of an effort with themes etc. I wish I could be one of those Moms who do the games and the themes and the decor. I am not and my kids seem to be fine with it. For now at least. I am very happy with this arrangement because it means no clean up afterwards. I once did a party at home for my Tween and it cost me much more that the Spur party. And I had to clean and make stuff for grown-ups. Not going to do this very soon.
    Oh, and my family always pitches up at our home on the day of their birthdays (all of them) even though I don't invite them. I make sure to have cake and snacks for them.

    ps...some of the party packs that my kids come home with are VERY EXPENSIVE.

  2. Non-negotiables at a party are decorations, including tablecloths, centerpieces, and either balloons, banners, or streamers (something higher up to add a pop of color and decor). I also would have to have some kind of food, even if it's just cake and ice cream.

    Party packs (or favors) are not mandatory for me. I do find that they get expensive and are most often wasted. I find that most people won't even notice if you don't have them. And, if I decide I really want some, I'm working on finding maybe one nicer trinket than a whole bag of cheap toys. I don't have a very good example because it depends on the party, but I suppose the picture you mentioned from the photographer could make a great favor for guests.

  3. I always make the cake (and Chris helps) and they get to choose what cake they want. I prefer to have it at home rather than at a venue. This year for Zoe's party for the kids I had a big bowl of chips on the table, another bowl of droewors and then a big bowl of fruit (grapes, pineapple, blueberries and raspberries). They each got given one of those coloured paper bags with a fruit juice, fizz pop and packet of NikNaks when they arrived. We had a treasure hunt and each prize included a toy - I got great toys from pegasus toys - 4 different ones including a measuring tape "animal", a cool animal pencil and wooden animal sharpener, a wooden animal slide whistle or a stamp with a small box of smarties. The gifts cost on average R15 and there were 24 children. It was a very hot day so I had lots of extra water and juice and then there was the cake and a jumping castle. We also played pass the parcel and musical bumps. It was a fantastic party and the kids all had a ball, even better was that it was at my parents (because of our renovating) so I had lots of help with setting up and tidying up. As the children get older I think it's important that they have a say in what happens at the party in terms of the theme, games, who they want to invite and the cake of course. What I've also realised is that when children are young it really doesn't take much to impress them so less is definitely more and they really don't eat a lot. The amazing thing about Zoe's party is that the fruit was all finished and it was a huge bowl full. They also LOVE LOVE LOVE swimming and so as soon as Zoe's old enough we'll definitely do a pool party.

  4. I'm big on simplicity. As for the party packs, I refuse to put crap in it that I wouldn't want my kids to come home with (If I even make them). I don't want tons of crappy candy and cheap toys. For school age kids, I like to do pencils, erasers, little notebooks, etc. Stuff that will come in handy.

  5. Please help me win this car

  6. Just thought I'd stop by and thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and comment.

    When our kids were little (admittedly many years ago), we didn't do birthday parties until they were kindergarten age and then... rather than party packs (we call them goody bags)... the kids usually went home with a craft that they had made at the party. I found that parents are much more tolerant of things coming home if it's something their youngster has created. I can also remember one year, where I made each child a batch of homemade playdough to play with at the party and then they got to take that home with them. As they got older, the crafting switched to other activities like sleepovers or going bowling and there were no good bags.

    As for food... that varied according to what each birthday child wanted but for sure there was always cake and ice cream for dessert.

  7. Party packs really do not need to get a gift or the such in them. Just a few sweeties are fine. For the Princess I put some of these animal rubber bands the kids love in - cost me R10 for all 5 the girls'. Truly, they cost very little.

    I am not fond of balloons - I personally hate them (even as a kid) and funny, mine never miss them.

  8. Ok, so you know my party style!!! :) On the party pack thing...I prefer to send the kiddies away with just a little token (like the biscuits I did for the girls' 1st birthday) as I believe it is all about having fun and enjoying the party than what you can take home with you! :)


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