My favourite party theme: “Stress Free”

I know that for some people parties are a BIG deal. Months of planning, cooking and preparing in anticipation for the big day. I think when an innocent gathering of people requires a theme, you know it is serious business.

Out of all the possible party themes, my favourite is “Stress Free”

I grew up in a house where getting stressed and flustered was (& still is) par for the course when it came to hosting any sort of social gathering. I can tell you under no uncertain terms, it’s not for me. I know I get overwhelmed pretty easily these days so I try not to exacerbate the situation with added complications.

Don’t get me wrong, I love attending events that have been beautifully coordinated. I’m so amazed by people who painstakingly hand make invitations, decorations and themed party food. Rest assured if you’ve managed to coordinate your tableware with the birthday boy’s outfit, I will certainly appreciate your efforts.

I really hope your child does too, because the cynical practical side of me believes that when it comes to a small child’s birthday, all they really care about are balloons, the cake, the party bag and being the centre of attention. And of course, the presents. (This probably applies to many grown ups, too)

Nothing is going to cast a shadow over little Bobby’s birthday party more than mummy freaking out that her cake pops are pooped. Or when the fire truck entertainment rocks up full of male strippers.

That is why for the Wilful One’s birthday this year I did something the pre-kid me never thought I’d do. We had a party at Macdonald’s.

Yes, I know, it’s all a bit bogan, but he really wanted to have a party with some close pre-school friends who he won’t see next year when they all go off to school. He’s never asked for daycare friends to come to a party before, always content with our predominantly family affairs and I couldn’t say no.

My dilemma was that at this stage I had already set my sights firmly on the “stress-free” birthday theme, and with the mandatory family celebration was already on the agenda.  I examined various options for outsourcing and in the end Macca’s won the bid.

Yes, it was run by a clueless 15yr old. No, it wasn’t flash and it certainly wasn’t how I would have done it. But The Wilful One ate ice-cream cake, felt like a prince, had lots of fun with his mates and quite frankly, that is all that matters to me.

Happiness at 5: Ice-cream cake

The Maccas soiree was followed by a low-key afternoon tea with the family en-masse, which once, again he loved as all the prerequisite boxes had been ticked. Balloons – check. Presents – check. Centre of attention – check. Oh and yet another cake – check.

This cake is ridiculously easy to make and is lots of fun.  I found it at The Tipsy Hostess (via Pinterest)

Apart from Macdonald’s I’m yet to pay for party entertainment. I think it’s prudent to save magicians and sumo suits for when pass-the-parcel and piñatas no longer keep pint-sized party goers amused.

I realise this time is fast approaching. That’s why I’m glad there are so many fabulous bloggers out there who rock some serious party mojo.  When my stress free no-frills approach to birthday celebrations no longer cuts it with the guest of honour, I’ll be turning to the following ladies to help up the ante:

Maxabella Loves: Bron is currently doing a wonderful series on all elements of hosting children’s parties. She’s got the whole planning caper down to a tee and there are lots of links and pics from other great online sources.

Great fun 4 kids: Simone is the party queen. Her parties inspire (& intimidate) me!  She has a whole page dedicated to invitations, recipes, decorations, the works. THEN she has a link up page where other bloggers can add their party posts as well. There are some amazing posts there.

Planning with Kids: Nicole is the Planning Queen and parties are no exception. She has lots of great posts and even has a Parties with Kids eBook.

So, when it’s time for me to step up, I know I’ll be able to find loads of inspiration and helpful tips in my hour(s) of need.

What’s your party style? Do you always have a theme or do you opt for stress-free like me?

Linking with Jess @ Diary of a Stay at Home Mum

Balloon image via We Heart It 

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Comments

  1. Kids would be cool with a dinosaur theme, a cat in the hat party, Mickey Mouse party, basketball theme party, an art theme, bumble bee and a lot much more. Weave a theme around what your kid loves most and they’ll be forever grateful granting them such a-one-day paradise. You can also surf online to locate some cool birthday party themes which could be ideal for the day.

  2. Oh my favourite sort of party! I don’t go overboard for the fact that (as you said) the kids just want cake, friends, lolly bags and presents! I do think the mums who go all out are fabulous to have so much dedication and creativity but perhaps it is the other parents that appreciate this most.

    We had our eldest daughter’s 5th birthday at McDonalds and she loved it! Nothing wrong with that at all 🙂

    • I definitely think it’s aimed at other parents. Hopefully most people who we invite to parties live me despite my lack of artistic or culinary creativity 😉

  3. Love your work Nee! The cake looks great and glad your son had a lovely time too.

    I did a very low-brow party for Gabriella this year and it was really enjoyable. Will attempt to share some snaps.

  4. Wow, that cake!! Yummo!

    Couldn’t help but laugh…i was one of those clueless 15 year olds. Literally. And made worse by the fact i’m petrified of balloons. A mother yelled at me because I asked her children to stop squeezing them. In my defence, no-one ever asked me if there was anything I was scared of that might hinder a party!

    We’ve never done a theme but i’m inspired by bron for mr soon-to-be-three. You make a very good point though as I really don’t think he cares. He just wants the train cake. He won’t care about matching invites and all the other stuff and it’ll probably just stress me. Might just rethink my strategy!

    • Well there you go. I’ve never met anyone scared of balloons before!

      It can be hard not to get carried away. I certainly have gone OTT other years (by my standards anyway). All about the balance between celebration and sanity!!

      PS love the water pistol idea. Or maybe a slip -n-slide. Party games done!

  5. We are totes doing stress free this year for Roo – seriously, the entertainment is going to be water spray bottles filled with, yep, water! Food will be sliced fruit. There may be a cake, but there will be no cupcakes. Or party food. Maybe some cocktail franfurts and sausage rolls if I can be bothered, but chances are we will buy some sausages and bread rolls and fire up the barbie to save me the trouble of even whacking the sausage rolls in the oven!

  6. I am all for the stress free birthday party, especially when they are too little to care either way about what the napkins look like. I am still a little devo that I never got to have a Maccas party when I was little, especially since my younger sister did!
    I love the idea of having a pretty themed party but then my head spins with possibilties and it just becomes too much work.
    I LOVE the cake, it looks amazing 🙂

  7. I have done the Maccas thing too Nee. Every one of my kids can proudly say they have had a maccas party and had a ball 🙂 xx

  8. Stress-free is the way to go. Sometimes I wish I were different, and could do the flash party without the stress, but that’s not me. I’m happy to keep it simple and admire other people’s party planning handiwork via their blogs.

    Great cake!

  9. That is the coolest cake ever! Monkey is turning five in two months and I’m sorta thankful that his birthday is only two weeks after he starts big school and therefore not enough time to really host him a real party with friends from school. I am like you, stress free is key.

    • Thanks Bee! I must say I’ve been secretly relieved that Will has been part time at preschool so there wasnt huge pressure to invite the whole class!

  10. I love parties, and I do them every year, but we are not fancy with them. They usually involve, pass the aorcel, musical chairs, fairy bread and cake. The rest of the time the kids run around and play together and that’s fine.
    This year I had a combined one for all four of my kids, and we hire a bouncy water slide and had a BBQ and that was fantastic, and ridiculously easy!

    Love that cake too! What a top idea!

  11. Veronica @ Mixed Gems says:

    I agree with stress free all the way. Having said that, the perfectionist in me wants it all to be fancy at times, not big, because we don’t have that many people to invite but just memorable. I thi you’ve hit something though; when they’re little memorable isn’t fancy, necessarily. I’ve got about two months to make plans then for our next parties. By the way, did you see the amazing party put together by Tiff of My Three Ring Circus? (http://www.mythreeringcircus.com/2011/11/the-great-fairy-princess-super-hero-party-extravaganza/)

  12. As a child, I love parties at Maccas! Id say if I have parties, I want to make it as special as possible so I don’t get stressed, just highly motivated to make sure my home is clean & presentable, decorations are up etc.

    In April, we had a Easter b’day bash for our girl. I really wanted her to have a gd memory of it and made most of the decorations, food and all. It was tedious but I loved doing it to just because I wanted it to really be a special day 🙂

    Ai @ Sakura HARUKA

  13. Love that cake ! And yes, we can keep trying to think of new and innovative ideas for party themes but the best one is certainly, “Stress Free”.
    Nothing wrong with a McDonald’s party – it keeps everyone (including parents) happy 🙂

  14. Nothing wrong with a McDonalds party Nee. I love a party though and for me, it works out cheaper in the long run to do it myself at home and besides, I LOVE it. I love all the planning, crafting, cooking, baking, decorating etc. Years before I even had kids I looked forward to doing stuff like that. I don’t find it stressful until that moment when everyone arrives at once and you’ve got try and ‘organise’ the kids into games etc. I’d rather take their lead and organise a game when they’re ready for it and just have the food out from the start so they can eat when they’re hungry. I know the parties will start to taper off over the next few years so I’ll make the most of it while they’re young.

    Anne xx

    • But you are so awesome at all those details Anne! Your Neverland party was amazing!! I might have to employ you as my chief party planner 😉

      • Any time Nee! Would be happy to help. I’d do it for Bam Bam but not Will unfortunately as his birthday’s on the same day as Emelias and I’m sure I’d have a nervous breakdown if I had to do 3 in November! LOL (just kidding – just make his party a different day LOL) xx

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