J.W. asks from Saint Paul, MN on June 17, 2008
Birthday - Other Ideas on What a Celebration Might Consist of or Be Like
Our little girl is going to be 5 next month. We would like to have some kind of celebration that is less gift-oriented, a time for gathering and fellowship w/friends...if that is possible. One mom I know has no gift opening during the party. I like the idea. I would rather not spend a whole lot of money---yet make it special. Her brothers, one of the girlfriends spoil her and give lots of gifts, also grandma etc. We took one of her friends to Como and out for ice cream, took pictures, the friend seemed to like it.
I am open to ideas......THANKS!
1 mom found this helpful
So What Happened?™
Thanks for sharing your ideas! We feel things went pretty well. Events unfolded a bit differently because of my mom/grandma's unexpected health needs. They had given one gift weeks ago in case we didn't seem them and she had opened when they weren't there. Received another present in mail this week.
I didn't do alot of planning either. I think she thought she had a nice birthday week (rather than birthday - day), many smaller events with 1 or 2 people.
Sarah and I got back in town late Sat, Sunday - birthday was pretty quiet. She and I made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. This was a first. We went to the other grandma's who gave her a doll she had asked for. Friends came over and gave her some kid-size garden tools and seeds. :)
Sat we baked cupcakes at grandma and grandpas and left all but 3 cupcakes with us on Jefferson bus line. (I know Sarah wished some of the aunties, uncles, cousins could have been there and so do they.) She received songs and calls. We ate birthday apple pie and ice cream.
Things were more low-key and laid back.
We gave Sarah her kite on Sun. We took it out for a little while on Mon---before the local soccer games at the park began.
ON Tues at Music class, teacher Molly gave her a chinese yoyo.
Weds, big brother took her out for ice cream and played with her. The Weds night party didn't happen and the twins plan to do something party-ish (a surprise to all of us, maybe go swimming.
Thursday her favorite babysitter came over. They hadn't seen each other in awhile and she had been asking for her.
Friday, we took a preschool friend to the Como Zoo. Our treat. They came back here and ran through the sprinkler. This was the first time Sarah and this little girl have done anything outside of preschool so it was special. The other friend could not make it on such short notice. We told friend no present, she was the present. She made a lovely card for Sarah.
Today, she and her 'sister' Amelia (evolved from friend to sister status)were the givers. Sarah cashed her birthday check gifts at bank, she got back some cash. The girls went shopping at Target, each w/ own money. They put together 4 $10 gift bags for moms who don't have money right now for bday gifts for their kids at Theresa Living Center and delivered them to staff. They don't get to see the recipients but got an idea of giving. (www.cheerfulgivers.org has great ideas). She later said it was work, not play to do those gifts today! A nice perk was when we delivered and saw people dancing an Aztec-type ritual dance to incredible drumming in a gym by the church.
And tomorrow, the grand finale will be time tomorrow, possibly swimming out with her big twin brothers (25)and some possible party w/ her brothers' friends who she has met through the years at different events.
So-that's what happening...we'll see if/what Sarah says about this birthday. We
re enjoying. It still was plenty of work getting things and people together...but worth it! THanks again for your ideas.
S.C. answers from Minneapolis on June 18, 2008
We were just at a birthday party where, instead of gifts, we were asked to bring dog and cat food for the Humane Society. My kids loved picking out the food at the store to bring!
I also agree with the woman who said how weird it is to bring a gift and then not have the kid(s) open the gifts at the party. My kids are always disappointed to not see their friends open the gift they chose.
P.R. answers from Minneapolis on June 18, 2008
J., For my sons 7th birthday we went to the movies. The theater by us as a party room and show packages. anyone going to the movie got popcorn and a pop plus we were able to bring is subs for everyone before the movie. The kids had a blast and some of the adults stayed in the party room with me (I stayed in the party room with my 1 year old). After the movie we all had cake and that was it.
G.W. answers from Minneapolis on June 18, 2008
My daughter just turned 5, and we had a "pink" party for her. I think the highlight was a tea party - we went to goodwill and picked out a bunch of teacups and then each child got to take one home as part of the party favor. The other party favor was a potted pink begonia. I thought that was so much nicer than the little plastic toys you see so often as party gifts.
A friend of my daughter is having a 5 year old birthday party, and instead of presents, she is asking everybody to please contribute to her adopting a gorilla at Como Zoo. I think that's such a great idea - very specific request, rather than an open call to donate to charity, and will be fun for her as well.
2 moms found this helpful
K.G. answers from Waterloo on June 18, 2008
My son's birthday is in February, which is so close to Christmas tht I knew I had to come up with an idea to tame the gifts. When I was grocery shopping, I ran into a friend that works for a family organization. She asked my children what they got for Christmas. Of course, the list was so long. She said when she visited the families, so many kids said they received nothing. The mothers would not make eye contact as they agreed. I talked to my son and we agreed that we would ask those giving gifts to spend less on my son and pick up another gift for a boy his age.
We found a box with a lid, wrapped it, and put the items in it. We also bought cake mix, frosting, sprinkles, paper plates, and festive table cloth. My son went with me when we delivered it to our friend. My daughter will turn 3 in September and we are looking forward to doing this again.
1 mom found this helpful
L.D. answers from Minneapolis on June 18, 2008
I would write "no gifts please" in the invitation. Any gifts she gets you could have your daughter donate to goodwill or salvation army. This way she will learn that it is better give than receive.
We are haveing a picnic party at a nature center. People can hike the trails but we will will bring outdoor game too. We are providing beverages, snack foods and cake.
D.B. answers from Omaha on June 18, 2008
If you want to have a party at a very minimal cost, there's an awesome "free" spray park in Westwood Heights (approximately 123rd & Westwood Lane). It's perfect for kids of that age and even if they don't know how to swim, you don't have to worry because there's no deep water, just water spraying out of different contraptions that they run around in. There's also playground equipment in the same area so if they get bored with the water area, they just go over there. There's a covered pavilion with about 4 tables underneath...if you get there early, you can "take it over" and use it to serve your cake or whatever. I had my daughters friends go there for her 3rd birthday (she was too young in my opionion to have a "big" party, but I wanted her to be able to do something fun without spending a mint). All the kids had a blast! As for the gift giving, just put on the invitation to not bring gifts, or in lieu of gifts, ask them to make a donation to your favorite charity. I'm sure your daughter will have a great time no matter what you decide to do. Also, best of luck with Kindergarten! My oldest is also starting in the Fall and he's very excited about it, as I am!
M.W. answers from Rapid City on June 18, 2008
My friend had a birthday party for there girls and the invitation said, "bring a gift to exchange." We were going to the park in the middle of July, so I bought four water guns, (I have four children---one present for each child.) Everyone received a gift at the party and the "birthday girls" were so excited watching other children open and enjoy gifts also that it proves "it is better to give than to receive." I spendt just as much as I would have buying one gift for each of the girls. Just a suggestion. You could also have it themed, so that everyone brings the same types of gifts---summer....water toys, goggles, etc.
A.S. answers from Des Moines on June 18, 2008
My three children were all born in May, so this May to celebrate all of their birthdays with friends, we got a shelter at a nearby park and had a cookout with friends. My older son was able to invite his friends and the kids played and the adults had time to talk and enjoy each other's company. We asked that no one bring gifts, it was a terrific time. The kids did not miss not getting gifts, and we got to enjoy the company of people who are very special in our lives. I think I was able to get all of the food needed for about $100 and there were 22 people there total. BTW... didn't do any decorations either. I think that this is something we will do again, maybe even yearly as a way to remind our children that the best gift that they can have is friendship.
A.B. answers from Minneapolis on June 18, 2008
You did not mention if this was going to be a kid party or mixed with family. I assume the latter.
We tend to do themed parties.
We had a 5 yr old Pirate party with pin the patch on the pirate and a treasure chest hunt (complete with a map by a REAL pirate).
We had another 5 yr old Ghost Buster party (January) where I made Ghostbuster shirts for all the kids, played with slimey food and had the kids pose for pictures in which Slimer magically appeared in the pic upon development. (My husband is a photoshop whiz!)
Our 6 year old Curious George Party included bobbing for bananas, pin the tail on the monkey, and storytime (done by my friend who is a professional actress). That party was crazy--action packed and 15 kids! Not enough adult help either. That is definitely a plus.
At that party, we asked for NO GIFTS. We collected donations for Crisis Nursery. We got money, checks and actual stuff. Then, with the money, my son went shopping with the Crisis Nursery Wish List and got to pick out things for the other kids. Now, at first the suggestion to not have gifts was not accepted, but when I asked him what he wanted that he was not already going to get from us or the grandparents, he could not think of anything. I don't know how much he got out of it, and we are not doing it again this year, but he happily and graciously delivered the stuff to Crisis Nursery. He chose to give to kids, not animals or any other cause, and I think the only thing that was sad is that he did not actually get to see any kids, just an office, but I was really moved by it.
For this year we are doing a weather party. We will make weather globes, weather t-shirts, and doing experiments. We will be putting cheese and toppings on the pizza like a storm, and the cake will be a tornado. ( I am attempting it myself, so we'll see.) When people ask what he wants, I tell them just get him a gift certificate for Target, because he would like an MP3 player to use on the bus. We did thing for my 5 year old in January, and he was able to go to Target and purchase 2 of the toys that he really wanted, but that were too expensive to expect friends to buy.
I know I wrote a lot. Hope there is something in there that gives you some help and ideas. Good luck.
D.G. answers from Minneapolis on June 18, 2008
Many girls this age are into princesses. We had a princess party. Let them know in the invitations that they can dress up as a princess. Make a castle out of cardboard to put on the wall, take photos of each in front of it. Buy some foam rectangular pieces for them to each frame their pics and get some simple things for them to decorate them. Our daughter and her friends also decorated their own cup cakes - this was a hit! And it was fun to see them around the table together chatting. :) Have fun!!