My friend Heather recently told me her daugher has asked for a ‘fruit’ party for her fourth birthday. Our son suggested we throw a ‘bath’ party for our two year old (because she loves the bath) and our daughter
Violet requested a ‘Christmas’ party for her fifth birthday, only one month after Christmas! Admittedly, these are not your typical birthday party themes but luckily for these creative children, their parents are brave enough to go with the theme they have chosen and reflect what their child is passionate about. Doing this can show you love your child’s imagination, you take their ideas seriously and that no idea is too silly to bring up in your family.
In July, Violet started talking about her ‘Christmas’ birthday party. She said she wanted to have a party with all her favourite things – Christmas trees, giving her friends presents and playing Jingle Bells. She had all the food and games worked out by August! As we chatted, it felt like a fun idea. But only one week after Christmas, it certainly felt unusual sending out Christmas invitations and visiting Christmas tree farms to order the ‘reject’ trees for our back lawn. However, we reminded ourselves why this was important to Violet and that the party was meant to reflect her and not us!
On the upside, many of the dollar stores had wonderful post-Christmas clearance items and a spare hour at The Warehouse in Whangarei on 27 December was certainly fruitful. Plus, I finally had a reason to pull out all of my Christmas decorations at one time. In the end, it was a really easy theme to work with and the children had a wonderful time exploring Santa’s workshop, making Christmas decorations, hiding in the Christmas tree forest Josh created, decorating the Christmas trees and dancing to Christmas songs (yes, Jingle Bells played a lot!) with their red, white and green dancing sticks.
So, next time it comes to party time, take your cue from your child and you will not only create magical memories but you will also send wonderful positive messages to your child and make them feel validated and valued.
But my children never ask for anything unusual
If your children are lacking ideas and you’d like to try something different, take some time to listen to what they are talking about and enjoying at that time and see if there is anything that might lead you to suggest some ideas. Think about a colour they love, a sport they are crazy about, a favourite character from a book, what they would like to be when they grow up, a favourite animal, a place they enjoy such as the beach, or farm, or an activity they enjoy such as building, pottery or painting.
As they get older you can go online together and see what appeals to them in terms of games, food and decoration. And remember, if your child really wants an ordinary party theme, it’s more important you reflect their heart’s desire than worry about having a ‘boring’ party theme. Plus, there is usually a way to make it interesting and different if you want to.
If you are stuck, the internet is a good place to start with a request for an unusual party. There is so much inspiration online, but I really limit my time searching (and don’t use Pinterest) as it can be a never-ending exercise and you can end up feeling overwhelmed and useless! It’s important to remember many websites show the work of professionals, or people with extensive budgets, not busy parents who are juggling numerous responsibilities with limited time. So if you are going to use ideas you find online, remember your work may end up looking a little different and that is okay. Once again, try and remember to focus on what your child will love and not on what you think will look great on your Facebook page! The most important part of the party is is how loved and special your child felt and the fun the guests had.