When I was very young, a birthday party mean’t fun and games, yummy food and a chance to dress up fancy. We lived for them.
It was so exciting when someone walked into school clutching their little bundle of invitations and lo and behold, one of them was for you. Most of the time it was a shop bought card with missing details for you to fill in, the time, place and who was being celebrated. We held it like we’d won the lottery.
I’ll never forget when my buddy Dave, took some scrap paper and just wrote the info on it himself. He was so chuffed to give out his hand made invites to his own birthday party and at 8 years old, we were just as excited to attend. Dave was from an extremely large family, 8 siblings I think, which was huge in the UK and subsequently had limited resources that probably didn’t include friend parties. Dave being the innovator that he still is, set too and created his own party, complete with wonky home made cake that he’d spilled food coloring onto and prizes he’d found around the house, like a fancy soap from his bathroom. We all had a blast and it’s the only kid party I actually remember. (FYI- Dave is now an extremely successful property/investor and has been on a reality dating show in the UK)
Party day arrives, You’d throw on your frilly party frock and get your best blingy hair bobbles in and off you went, with gift in hand, to the most exciting thing in your life. There was Jelly and ice cream, fairy cakes and the weird shaped puffy crisps like cheetos that were only served at kids birthday parties. Pass the parcel and musical bumps were the highlight of the event.
Fast forward 20 years (1999) and now I’m hosting my own kids 8th birthday party.
As I got more tired and old and less willing to fork out $$$ for a bunch of strangers to pretend they were friends with my kid for a day, I moved into the zone where we invited a couple of best friends and went to do something fun together. Later still, I gave the option of cash or party and they usually chose Cash which was way less hassle and clean up altogether.
Recently however I felt the fun and excitement around parties, planning or attending, had changed for me and so I pose the question:
Did Pinterest kill the party?
The extravagance that used to be saved for a wedding has become the norm for any party. Bridal showers and gender reveals, the new graduate or one year old birthday, it doesn’t matter. I’ve seen a 6 year old party more lavish than my own wedding and I wonder how many of us have opted to NOT throw a party because it’s just too overwhelming.
Excuses might include…
- Location: my house is too small, messy, outdated
- Budget: I only have $X to spend
- Who would come? Either you feel you have no friends or no one will show up or you’ll upset someone not invited
- I’m no good at all the planning stuff
- insert your excuses here
Here’s the thing
I still love a good party and the format for me is as simple as it was when I was 8 years old. Fun and games, some yummy food and a chance to dress up. If you add in Alcohol, you can actually cut back on the fun games and food because people create their own at that point.
Over the years I’ve thrown some fun ones, from Backyard Barbecues, New Years Eve Bangers and an obscene amount of kids bashes but some of my funnest memories have been the impromptu invite that involved no planning at all. An outdoor fireplace, some music, drinks and a lot of laughter.
but alas my party planning came to a holt with the era of pinterest and social media. I wasn’t willing to drop several grand on a few hours of photo worthy fun, so instead… I just didn’t do anything.
The thing is, I forgot how much I enjoy it.
So having attended many lavish soirees of late, I decided I needed to put my big girl hostess cap back on and I planned a craft day at my house.
It was so simple
- I planned a couple of easy crafts and picked up supplies
- Decided to serve Soup and Chili to eat with fresh baguettes and easy snack foods
- I grabbed some wine to keep my guests happy, which I discovered is the secret sauce even though I don’t like wine(insert shocked face)
- I sent the invites. A simple text message with the option to bring friends but let me know for food numbers and….
What do you know? People showed up and had an amazing time, laughing and playing with glue guns and faux fur. Although very few of our creations would warrant their own place on pinterest, a good time was had by all and I definitely pulled the cap off my dry party period.
This “just do it” attitude (thank you Nike) has opened me back up to hosting again. My way, my budget. No photos necessary.
I encourage you to throw away expectations of the “Pinterest Party” and just find an excuse to gather your people around you. Laugh, play and share in each others fun side.
BUT Don’t forget to send me an invite.