Kids’ Birthdays are some mothers’ nightmare! What to do, where to have it, which day, what time, what theme, who to invite, invitation cards, thank you notes, party favours, & the Menu, the Cake, the BUDGET… after all that, and most importantly, will my child like it?? Yes, all parents go through all of this. We all want the best for our children, we all want picture-perfect memories and who doesn’t love a bash?
However, throwing a fabulous birthday party doesn’t necessarily mean a hotel’s turf, luxury linen-covered seating arrangement, flown in catering from France, the world’s best cake decorator in your kitchen, Justin Bieber performing live, fireworks, helicopter rides and bags of gold coins to give out as party favours! Oh, and not to forget the grand finale of clapping crowds in recognition of the world’s best mother… While that will probably make your child very happy and yourself very proud, children are way easier to please than you think. It is WE who are very demanding and hard to please!
Children love all things imaginary, give them that and you will make them happy. Have a bit of imagination, and be very creative, the next thing you know your children and their mates will think it was the best birthday ever! At the end of the day it is not about lining the room with luxuries, it is about the experience and children know that very well. They want to have a good time and that magical moment, where they feel something very special happened and it happened for Them.
My daughter, who is 6, came to me before her birthday and said: “You know how I was born in winter? That means I am the winter princess! So for my birthday I want a winter theme.” I assumed she wanted a princess party iced with snow, so my head was buzzing with ideas for a Winter Princess themed party. But when I asked HER what exactly did she have in mind. She said: “I want to close my eyes and make a wish and at that point I want it to snow everywhere.” Now, before thinking of the technicality of making the world snow at the specific moment when your child makes a wish, look at what they actually want. That magical moment, where something very special happens, and it happens for them. I was very amused to know that she in fact did not want a princess party, but rather a real snow party, with penguins, igloos, camp fire, frozen lakes… “I am the princess who was born to protect them.” She said.
In the end I gave her her wish in that it snowed when she made that wish! And it was magical! Here is what I did: I gathered up all the kids and gave them all some dessicated coconuts. I explained to them in a whisper that we are all going to close our eyes and make a wish. At that moment, we will throw these magical snowflakes above our heads. At that point something magical will happen and what we wished for will come true.
Now it might sound silly to me and you, but you won’t believe the excitement these kids felt. They were whispering all along as though in anticipation of enchantment. They all closed their eyes, made a wish, threw the flakes and believed their wishes were going to come true! And at that point, I whispered in my daughter’s ear: “Look Karma, It’s snowing!” It was a magical moment for her, and for myself because I could see it in her eyes. And am telling you, no amount of luxuries at that point would have made her look or feel the way she did. Mission Accomplished! I guess what I am trying to tell you is: creating special moments, regardless of props, comes from within. The moments come from seeing things through those children’s little eyes and huge imagination. While I might not be able to control global weather and make the world snow, I can give her that magical moment and create drama around it to make it really enchanting. Then rest assured that I made her happy. That is the essence of birthday parties. It is the child feeling special from within, not through the accumulation of stress lists, inventory and staff to make it happen.
If we are more honestly involved in our kids’ birthdays, actually listening to what they really want we can throw them the perfect birthday party. It will be special, they will be happy and everyone will enjoy it too. Little ideas go a long way and imagination makes things magical. Perhaps when we stop assuming and rather Listen we give way for the best gift ever. Friendship, which will last with them forever. And snap that moment, because it is the Picture Perfect memory.
I hope that this post inspires you to throw stress lists out and instead focus on what is important. Funny how even birthdays got moulded into soulless championship packages! Make it count on your child’s next birthday and think way outside of that box to make it magical…
PS I know it’s Valentine’s Day today but thought to extend the love to FAMILY.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone 😉