Birthday Party Plan B
I am not a fan of kid birthday parties: going or throwing. I think that kids need them insofar as they allow that kid to bask in being the center of attention for a few hours once a year. Most people benefit emotionally from being the birthday girl or boy and feeling celebrated. But birthday parties bring stress, pure and simple, and I’m never sure if I really believe that the benefits outweigh the stress or if I just go along with the status quo instead of breaking free of the birthday party ball and chain.
Image: Will Clayton via Flickr
There are the ones your kid is not invited to, and the ones that your kid is invited to but their friends are not, and now the friends are jealous. There are the ones where the activity doesn’t really match your kid. (Uh… is this one unique to us? There are a bunch of activities that really stress them out.) There are the ones where you don’t really approve of the activity, and you have to navigate your morals and kid friendships. There are the ones your kid goes to and has a miserable time, and the ones your kid goes to and has an amazing time but you suspect this is more due to the activity than their closeness to the birthday child. You need to buy gifts for people you sometimes barely know and take a guess on their interests. And how much do you spend on said gift?
And then throwing them. I start worrying about this in winter. Their birthday is in summer.
We don’t really have space in our house to have a party. Unless it’s a veeeeeeeery small party. One of the drawbacks of being a non-television-loving family is that we don’t really have a space set up to watch a movie. We don’t have a big backyard. Or really much of any backyard. After once planning an outdoor birthday party and being stressed out for weeks about weather, we’ve said never again to an outdoor party. We don’t want to spend a lot of money on the party; I think parties have gotten a bit out of control with the cost and the expectations of activity. And I would like the effort expended on my end to be on the low-side right now due to other life stressors.
It’s a pretty steep set of requirements.
I’ve come up with a Plan B that fits most of my requirements: out of the house, indoors, somewhat affordable, BUT… it will take hours upon hours of my time to prepare the activity, run the activity, and clean-up from the activity. We’re talking hours. And hours.
So, I’m turning it over to you for ideas. No, you don’t need to have a kid to have an opinion on this. All of you were a kid, so you are all capable of weighing in. Tell me about great birthday parties from your past or ones you’ve thrown or ones you’ve attended. I’m really wracking my brain to come up with something brilliant that fits the parameters.
- Needs to be outside the house.
- Needs to be good for about 16 – 20 9-year-olds that will be a mix of boys and girls.
- Needs to be semi-inexpensive.
- Needs to be a reasonable amount of work instead of a Herculean amount of work.
Extra points for creativity.
My Plan B is decent*. It won’t be too expensive. It’s creative. It’s memorable. It’s just the amount of work involved that is keeping me from making it my Plan A. Please give me a better plan. Pretty please?
Actually, let’s crowd source a multitude of party ideas. In fact, why doesn’t everyone throw every age into the pot — from birth to death — and list best party ideas you’ve ever executed or experienced, and everyone can grab what they need.
* Yes, I will tell you my semi-okay Plan B idea in a few weeks once I surprise the twins with it… or not.