Recently, since the arrival of our kid and her birthday party, we have been invited to many birthday parties of other kids her age and some a little older. Each party is a little different of course, and the most fun have been the ones that are small, private functions at homes where people can talk and the kids can roam about and play. It is interesting what diverse thoughts go into planning them too. There was one that was extravagant and obviously cost a lot with party favors totalling probably about $10.00+ per kid. That is on the high end. I have also seen the low end where party favors probably totalled $0.50 per kid and were rather lame. Choice of food also runs the gambit from overdoing it with seven different kinds of food like we had at our child’s party to just finger appetizers – load up! ‘Cause nothing else is coming!
There has been the occasional party where things were in the middle too – just the right amount of food, cake, drink, sandwich material and appetizers. Of course, priorities are different for parents and each parent has his or her idea of what is “appropriate” at a child’s birthday party. I think it depends on age too. The older the kid gets, perhaps the more elaborate the party. After experiencing many parties – probably not enough yet but, after planning my child’s 1st birthday party and observing parents and children alike at other parties, here are just some thoughts – take it or leave it:
(1) If you invite people to your home or to a party venue, don’t skimp. Just go ahead and feed them – if there are leftovers, that is acceptable. Don’t count dollars after you have decided to do this. Do it right, or don’t do it at all!
(2) While finger foods are fine as an appetizer or for people to graze, there should be some hot food or some food especially because often, people are travelling so far to attend. They are not attending merely to hang out with you. Moreover, parents bring gifts for your child so feeding them is not just an option or after thought, it is a must and a courtesy especially if you want them to come in future years.
(3) Fruit and veggies tray are nice, but people cannot fill up on them and remember, they are just filler foods, or a preview to some other course that should be served- something hot and no, people – chips and salsa do not count as a meal either.
(4) It is not about you – this party is for your kid and his or her germ-infested, biting, cranky, and teething friends to attend. The parents are there because they feel obligated. Providing some sustenance will only help the situation.
I think the best kids’ party we went to involved parents serving an assortment of items- not just filler foods. I enjoyed one party where, instead of pizza, there was a make your sandwich platter and all the fixings. They did not run out of bread and cheese, and afterwards, there were dessert options other than just cake. It was low key and very informal and everyone got to know everyone else there including the kids.