Birthday celebrations create special childhood memories, so why not make each one a treasure!? At the Anderson house, birthday parties are planned year round. Each kid goes through about 4 party themes, 6 invitee lists and, of course, many top present requests. After hosting 3-4 parties a year and attending fun kid birthday parties almost every other weekend, Rachel—FYP VP, party hostess and mom to Trey, Claire and Ellie—has determined the perfect recipe for kid birthday party success.
1. Start with the invitation
While Rachel is a fan of all things actually printed and sent snail mail, technology makes it so easy to create something digital that is adorable and initiates an instant RSVP! The Anderson kids do, however, love their printed invitations and love handing them out at school. It makes them feel really special, and it makes their friends excited to be a part of their “best day ever!” So, why not have both!? The next birthday you host, design or order cute custom invitations from your favorite online shop and let your birthday star hand them out to friends. Then, snap a quick photo with your phone of an invite and send that to parents to be sure they have the information, as well as to encourage a timely response.
2. Add in a little personalized decor
Each party at the Anderson’s includes something adorably personalized. This year, Ellie and Trey were celebrated together, and watercolor napkins with shiny red foil adorned the serving table. Custom Stadium cups were personalized with the phrase “Party with the Andersons,” so they can be washed and reused for future parties! Rachel, with the help of her kids, also made a colorful balloon arch over the serving table for a festive decor addition. Oversized gold number balloons, super trendy and also a Rachel favorite, made for the perfect photo ops to capture Trey and Ellie with their new ages in a particularly cute way. So adorable.
3. Include a hefty helping of party food options
Anderson family parties are always home to plenty of easy to grab kid food and yummy signature southern "grown-up food" too. Maybe at your house kids and adults eat the same food, and although Rachel dreams of that day, it’s just not the case right now. Also, kids are on the run at parties, so pizza and hot dogs are both convenient and tasty. Add in grapes and apple juice boxes for a little nutrition, and party on! The Andersons usually opt for Edley’s Bar-B-Que's pulled pork sandwiches as the staple meal with lots of sides to complement for the adults. Also, don’t be afraid to offer a cocktail or glass of champagne to your guests. Giving a parent a place where their kids are safe and entertained so they can relax and enjoy themselves sets the tone for great conversations.
4. Combine with the perfect birthday cake
The perfect cake—ha! This never happens in the Anderson household. Although Rachel has many party entertaining talents, cake baking and decorating is not included. For Trey’s first birthday, she made a precious cow cake for a Little Cowboy theme, but it was an epic Pinterest fail. Since then, Rachel has realized that kids don’t care too much about a cake being cute and adorable. They just wanted it in their hands as soon as the candles were blown out, if you can even get them to wait that long, and they wanted it to be yummy. Now, the newest must-have in the Anderson household is an extra large cupcake for the birthday kid. Guests get classic fun-fetti cupcakes with homemade buttercream frosting in the color requested by the birthday kids!
5. Fold in kid-friendly activities
For some reason, this year the Anderson’s sprang for an inflatable bounce house, which is always fun, but the kids were more into the swing set and playing in the toy room. The Andersons always include a water balloon fight at their parties (where the weather is suited for it), and the birthday siblings and all their friends were excited to just be together, play with the balloons and chase each other around the yard. Some great activities to have available for summer parties are driveway races, bubble stations and water play. Also, who doesn’t love a piñata—a long time tradition that is still so fun.
6. Garnish with gifts
When your party guests have had enough to eat and drink and the kids have played and enjoyed themselves, it’s time for cake and presents, if you opt to open at the party. Although it may seem silly to open gifts at a party, little kids are excited about gift giving and want to see if the birthday boy or girl loves the gift they so carefully picked out. If you opt to have people give to a charity instead of bringing a gift, make sure to announce it and to thank everyone. Gift opening etiquette 101: encourage your child to first open the card, then the gift, followed by a sincere thanks to the gift giver while looking them in the eye. Have a friend take notes about who gave what so you can have the kids write thank you notes to their friends and family. Keep in mind that once presents are opened, guests take their cue to leave, so be sure not to do it too early.
Overall a birthday party hosted at home should be fun and include the family. Forget trying to be a Pinterest mom, and only take on parts of the planning and preparations that make you and the kiddos happy. Your overall goal is to make each birthday kid feel special and to be a great host to your guests! Take it from a well-seasoned mom and party host: the more you can relax and be present to your children and your guests, the more special and life-giving each party will be. When it feels like too much or it’s not fun anymore, go to Chuck E. Cheese and let them do all the work—kids love that too!