A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: winter birthdays

My little girls turn 6 today and this year we had the best and most meaningful party of all the  6 parties we’ve held for them.

Winter birthdays are complicated. First, the weather is often a major issue. In fact, as a February baby myself, I remember waching foot after foot of snow fall on the days of my parties. And, because you can’t plan to be outside for a winter party, they have to be indoors, which defines the birthday as either being a huge blow out at a special — and expensive — venue or a small home party, which these days is just not done that often.

Long live the home party! After 6 parties, I finally got it right this time around. I wanted this birthday to be special for them. It wasn’t about the friends or the gifts or even the theme. It was about them. Well, it was always about them but it was also always about me and who I wanted to attend and who I was trying to impress. Sometimes the birthday party is about the PARTY and not the special people having the birthday. I admit that I kind of got sucked into that societal pressure for a few birthdays. But, at the last party, when gifts couldn’t be opened because of too much chaos at the venue, I decided enough was enough.

Birthdays are about human beings being born into this world. There is no greater gift.

That said, friends who attended our party on Sunday told me that I should go into business planning parties. I guess I made it look that easy and magical. It was really all about the girls, though, and I do believe that is what made this party so special.

Here’s my 10 tips for creating magical AND MEANINGFUL winter birthdays — kid style!

  1. Hold a countdown: Much like an advent calendar before the Christmas season, it’s easy to have a birthday countdown to make each day leading up to the Big Day special. Do a small About Me activity and do that same one each year. Or, do one of these interviews each year. Such a great idea. We are doing the interview and tucking it into their school binder but this box would be neat to do.
  2. Keep it small. Those packs of invitation often come with 8 or 10. Buy only one pack and that’s the invite list. If half the list cannot attend, all the better. Make those few people feel special.
  3. Skip the party. We are actually doing this next year. Instead of a party, we’re letting the birthday girls choose a destination and for about the same price as presents and three parties we will spend the night in a hotel and visit a fun (indoor) museum or attraction and grab a few meals out. Spending time together is always the best gift. {I’m sure we’ll still get them a present for their birthday.}
  4. Make it colorful. Use balloons and pretty colors. The more colorful you can make a winter party, the more special it will feel. We went with pink and black and the gray screaming through the windows didn’t even matter. It was glorious inside.
  5. Rid your home of clutter. All clutter must be put away in order to have the most effective party. It’s a hassle, but it’s necessary so that children and adults can’t make much of a mess. The end result is very much worth it. Besides, with less clutter there’s nothing but time to focus on each other and celebrate rather than picking up all week.
  6. Celebrate the whole week. That’s right. Have the party on the weekend with friends. The actual party at school or preschool during the week. And a family party the following weekend. Winter can be long enough between sunny days — birthday weeks just make it all worthwhile.
  7. Create a treasure hunt. I cannot stress enough how awesome treasure hunts are for children. I’m not sure what age this gets old for but I will continue to do these as often as possible because they. are. that. awesome. The treasure hunt and the treasures themselves can vary. We did one at the party just for the cake. We’ll do another today for the presents. It’s a simple thing to create with the most amazing Fun impact.
  8. Feast on the finest: By finest, I mean do not go to yet another chain-store-like restaurant where the noise permeates your brains. Nor should you go to a fine dining restaurant where the only move you can make is to the bathroom and back. Eat at home — on the foods your special loved ones love the most. At our house that is macaroni and cheese (for one) and hamburgers (for the other). Maybe it’s pickles and spaghetti. Whatever it is, combine the birthday boy’s or girl’s two or three favorite foods and eat that … make it memorable! Make it fun! Make it special!
  9. Drink hot chocolate. Our favorite, favorite ritual this year has been to create a hot chocolate bar for special days. We do it up right, too, with whipped cream, marshmallows, sprinkles, candy canes, and chocolate chips. There is no greater joy than a steaming cup of cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles. I assure you. Make sure you make it for your special someone first thing in the morning so they get their winter birthday off to the best possible start. And, you can make them these pancakes (topped with candles, of course) as well! We don’t do any of the special containers or fancy printables — we just set it all out with a lot of spoons!
  10. Build a banner: By far, the coolest thing I did this winter birthday season was create a birthday banner. This banner was the highlight of my week and my children’s week. It’s winter but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at photos from the summer and many summers ago. I highly recommend taking a walk down memory lane with this special birthday banner.

%d bloggers like this: