In my life I have thrown several birthday parties for children. Like most parties, planning starts months in advance.
We start planning our child’s party right at the beginning of the New Year. The first thing we do is book the venue. Now this isn’t a thought for most people who have their child’s party in their own home. For those of us that need more space we have to plan for a venue. We choose to use a cabin near our home. However, these cabins book fast. We book right around January 1st for a party in October.
With the venue booked I had some time to wait. Then Covid hit. The decision then became do we get the deposit back? Do we wait and see what happens? We chose to wait it out. I’m glad we did.
My child also chooses her theme for the party this year she chose Number Blocks. For those of you who don’t know Number Blocks, it’s an educational show about numbers and I enjoy it myself. However, trying to find decorations, toys, or a cake topper that are Number Blocks is basically impossible. So we make our own invitations with Number Blocks on them and continue on.
The next step is figuring out the guest list. I like to do this at least two months before the birthday party. It makes it easier to decide on the food and the favors. For many of us we like to invite our kid’s friends from school. Some schools will allow your child to only invite the kids they are friends with. However some schools require that if you invite one kid then you have to invite all of the kids. Our school will allow us to just invite our child’s friends.
Let’s fast forward to August. If this was a normal year I would already know about how many children would be at the party and I would be planning out the party favors. Generally we would have anywhere from 8-10 friends at the birthday party. However this is not a normal year and I only have one young child, and she has one young cousin who is 4 years younger than her. With all that is happening I have decided to only invite her very best friend and his little sister to make a total of 4 children.
Let’s talk adults coming to the party. My husband’s family is fairly large so on a good year we can have around 40-50 adult guests. That’s just Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins. This year we had to cut that list down to almost nothing. We only invited our “core” group. The family that we spend the most time with. We invited 15 adults and a few of them declined. There would be about 20 people total at this party including myself, my husband, and my 21 year old daughter.
I started to feel a little weighed down as I was buying masks and hand sanitizer to have available if guest needed them. I started focusing on all of the negatives that seemed to be surrounding me. I was feeling pretty defeated that Covid was taking my daughter’s birthday away from her. Then I thought back to the beginning of this thing and remember so many children were unable to have anything and I should be grateful. So I tried to find the silver lining in all of this. And I found it.
With so few people, I was about to save a lot of money on the food. It cost significantly less to feed a total of 20 people than it does to feed 50. With only 4 children I spent less on party favors, crafts, and games. We also decided since the party would be so small for us that we would keep the decorations simple. We chose just some table cloths and one banner that my husband printed out.
What happened in the end was an amazing stress free party. It felt easy. With so few people I found myself able to drift in and out of conversations while hosting. I didn’t feel like I left anyone to fend for themselves. We found that having so few kids meant that they had more freedom. It is much easier to keep an eye on 4 kids instead of 10.
The best part came with the introduction of the piñata. 4 kids total, 2 of them under the age of 8. Every child got a turn. In fact every child got several turns. And when the piñata finally broke every kids got candy with no fighting or hurt feelings.
What I have learned from this is that simple can be better. Going forward I don’t think I will continue with the big parties and the stress that comes with it. My child knows that there is a virus out there that is dangerous. She spent a good portion of the summer afraid. What I saw this weekend was a child that was carefree again. A child that was able to just enjoy herself with her favorite people. In the future I’m going to host every party like a Covid party.