How to Survive A Combined Birthday Party
A couple of weekends ago we hosted a combined birthday party for our two sons.
I must tell you that our son’s birthdays are nowhere near each other. Our oldest, Big Boy, was born at the end of August and our youngest, Little Man, celebrates his birthday at the beginning of December.
We were out of town for my cousin’s wedding at the end of August. Actually, they got married on Big Boy’s 9th birthday and he was tickled pink (maybe that is a bad choice of words to use for a boy but oh well… I am going with the flow here) that my aunt and uncle mentioned it was his birthday during their speech at the reception. He had relatives coming up to him wishing him a happy birthday all day and some gave him some money as a gift (his favourite part of course).
Summer holidays ended, school started and that was quickly followed by hockey season. In all of the craziness of getting back into routines and whatnot, we put off holding a birthday party.
I came up with an idea a few weeks ago to host a combined birthday party for both of the boys. At first they were not receptive to the idea. Who wants to share their “birthday” party with a sibling right? I couldn’t blame them. However, with Little Man’s having a December birthday I thought it would be the perfect solution to not having to compete with Christmas.
If you are hosting a combined birthday party, I have a few tips:
- Book a venue. We decided to have the boy’s birthday party at our local hotel’s pool area. Yes, it is an extra expense but not having to worry about entertaining 12 kids (plus your own) in your home (and ours is small) is a God send. The kids all enjoyed the pool and hot tub and by the time the party ended, I think the kids were thoroughly wiped out. A small bonus to booking at this hotel is that the price of renting the pool is the cost of a room reservation for one night and you get to use that room for changing into and out of swim suits. Plus, we were able to stay the night before we had the party. So, it was a mini vacation for us even though we never actually left town.
- Invite a small number of friends per child. We have always kept our kid’s birthday parties small. Too many kids can be overwhelming. I asked the boys for names of 5-6 kids each they would like to invite. Of course, it was their closest friends. The one downside to this is that if two or three don’t show, then you end up with a very small party. This has happened to my oldest a few times. However, my kid did not seem to mind. This time around we only had one kid who was unable to attend. So, it all worked out perfectly.
- Do not worry about having a theme or decorations. I am a no fuss no muss type of person. Usually at our kid’s birthday parties we blow up a few balloons and maybe have a kid themed table cloth. But in the last few years I have found that those things do not really matter. What matters is the most is that the kids are having fun. (I am mostly against loot bags but this year I got crafty and sent the kids home with some of my kid’s Halloween candy and a mandarin orange.)
- Go with the flow. Do not set a formal structure. Let the kids dictate the party. If you do have certain activities you’d like the kids to part-take in, ask them if they would like to play said game. If they are ready, they will willingly go along with it. If they are having fun doing their own thing, then let it be. As we booked the pool we brought along a few beach balls and the kids had a blast hitting them back and forth to each other.
- If you can (or want to), invite the parents to stay for the duration of the party. I know as the kids get older parents usually just drop off the kids and leave to do their own thing. However, with my youngest only being four years old (turning five soon EEK!) some of the parents did not feel comfortable leaving them at the pool party alone. So, they stayed and we were able to visit. It sure makes the party go by quicker if you have people you like to visit with.
- And mostly importantly, enjoy a piece of cake with some ice cream. You deserve it. You threw an awesome birthday party and survived to tell the tale!
What would be some of your tips to hosting a combined (or not combined) birthday party?
What has worked for you in the past?
Image Source: Freedigitalphotos.net & Stuart Miles
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