10 07/31/2012 parenting

The Most Relaxing Birthday Party Ever?

Here’s the thing.  I’m not a fan of birthday parties.  I think they can get out of hand and you drop a crap load of money on renting a place, on food, on loot bags, on presents, on decorations….on…you get the picture.  And I’m not really sure how much your kids remember them.


The one party I remember, and I think I only do because I have a picture of it, was a party where we all made hats.  Yup.  Construction paper, stickers, crayons and hats.  Toss in a cake and done – Bob’s your uncle.
Will was pretty excited about his birthday this year so into planning mode I went.  Last fall, a friend mentioned how she rented the public pool for her daughters birthday party.  My eyes lit up.  No one at my house?!  Hmmm.  My friend Beth’s eyes lit up.  We decided then and there that for our kids 4th birthday’s, we’d share the pool and have a duo party for her twins and Will. 
So that’s what we did.  On Sunday, we had mutual friends and family, and our own friends pile into the local pool for the low price of $140.  Beth went to Costco and stocked up on snacks. I handled the cake and a few decorations.  Neither of us wanted to have presents since our kids would be spoiled at family celebrations so Beth came up with the BEST idea.  Please steal it.  Every kid brought a wrapped book from home that they weren’t interested in anymore.  We put them in a box and then when they left, everyone, including the birthday boys and girl, got to take home something to unwrap.  So.  No lootbags, no presents and no one feeling awkward about coming empty handed.  We swam for an hour and partied in the park for an hour.  Done, cleaned up and fun by all…all in two and a half hours.


Everyone, including the birthday kids, loved it.  The friend who told me about the pool?  She had her party the day before.  We upped the ante with tablecloths and a folding table.  Meryl and her husband say next year they’re topping us by bringing gin and tonics to the Saturday bash.  What the hell will we do to top it on the Sunday?  
What about you? Big birthday parties or low key goodness??
  • Donna

    Hi Sara, can I ask what pool you booked?

  • Julie

    i haven’t had the chance for a “michaels” party yet but cheap is great at the toronto historical sites! i’ve done colborne lodge once and it was fantastic and will do it at least 2x more!

  • Emily

    I found I can rent out the Junior Ranks mess on base for free. It has a pool table, foose ball table, air hockey table and a pop corn machine. Tons of room to run around, tables, chairs, benches, couches and even a bar if I want! All I have to do is decorate and clean up when we’re done. My son’s b-day is around Halloween so I usually do a Halloween party. My daughter has planned out her next 30 birthdays, and her brothers next ten, so her philosophy is go big or go home.
    I usually get my decorations at the dollar store and the goodie bags I by one nice item for $1 or 2 and one good piece of candy instead of a bunch of junk that I know every parent hates! Cheaper that way too!

  • Sonya

    GREAT idea! My little one’s bday is coming up and I’m looking for ideas!!! Thanks soooo much!

  • Christine

    LOVE the book idea!
    Our parties are fairly low key.
    Eva had 4 friends over for a Princess party and Belle came.
    For the past few years Cam has asked 2 friends to join him and Sean at SuperX (they watch the warm up from the restaurant overlooking the track while eating dinner)
    Cuyler had his last party at ChuckECheese last year. He loved it. I hated it. This year he’s inviting a few friends to the movies.

  • Owen

    I love the book idea! I will steal that for sure. I think that would be great to do at an adult gathering too.

  • Tracey

    Man, that sounds like just the BEST party ever!! I love low-key parties – I don’t tend to spend a lot of money at all, since they’re usually in my house! (I’ve never hired an entertainer in my life.) And yeah, I dig the idea of gin & tonics as an extra… 😉

  • Kath

    Sounds like a lovely party!
    I’ve done some low-key and some more extravagant. I tend to prefer to go to a venue and not have the party at my own house. Some of the best (and most economical) parties I’ve hosted have been at Michael’s – all the kids make a craft (instant loot bag – take your craft home!) and you don’t have to do anything except pay for the craft supplies and a low fee (like, $30) to rent the room and pay the instructor.
    Renting a pool is a great idea, even for older kids. Such a treat to have the place to themselves and their friends!

  • Christina

    I have a huge family so we always do a seperate party for them. This year both of the older kids asked for a friends party….so I went HUGE and did a combo! Their birthdays are close enough so they each invited 10 friends and everyone came to my house….we lucked out with good weather and a wonderful magician, we went the whole nine yards…pinata, face painting, tattooes, loot bags and even ordered pizza….it was expensive but it was for two kids….I know people that spend that kind of money on one kid….next year they will each have a seperate party and 5 friends…I know Emily is already planning her princess tea party….I will never do big again…it was a lot of work. But I had 5 mom’s who stayed and helped me out….the best part of the day, nobody played in my house and it was clean when they all left!! Thankful for the weather and my big backyard….

  • Texas Mom

    Sorry we missed it…LOVE the book idea!

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