I wanted to spend today talking about how we work to avoid the “kids party hangover”. Also, share some tips on how we approached this birthday party, now that we have committed our family to simplicity and minimalism.
There is a “gut check” moment when your kids party nears and you feel the need to go above and beyond the Pinterest level bashes. When I ask myself a few questions. 1. Is this what my kid wants? 2. Will the day be just as good with out it? 3. How much time will i need to accomplish this?
These three questions keep me from flying off the deep end and trying to decide if i know how to use fondant and making each attendee a personalized unicorn headband. ( real talk, these are two things I cut from Lucy’s fourth birthday yesterday, among others.) Even without those things the party was a success. This is how minimalism works for me, it is a constant check of my values and priorities and deciding that, if I went to a party with a unicorn headband in the goody bag it would be in our next round of toy clean out.
Remember it is their day, not yours.
Now, where I refused to simplify is what the birthday girl requested. We asked Lucy leading up to her party what was important to her? She wanted balloons, and we delivered. Part of this journey for me is making sure my kids have a say in what they want, this life is theirs too. I have also noticed that when given the chance to be heard they ask for much less. Think of it the same way you take your toddler to the store and they ask for something different every ten minutes until you give in and say “fine! have it, just please stop talking!” We just skip to the end and remove all the dramatics. It’s a process and it doesn’t always work, but when it does you will be so happy you may cry.
What about Aunt Edna who love to give bags of candy as gifts?
Now the tricky part, our incredible family and friends. Who for the most part don’t get us but love and support us just the same.
My dream someday is to have parties with no one feeling the need to gift us, but we are not there yet and that is ok. We can not and will not make someone gifting us anything a negative. I will not be the minimalist mom who shuns a kind gesture. Anyhow I digress, the first thing I did was offer in the invite the wording “we appreciate your presence over your presents”. Letting everyone know that a gift is not the price of admission to party.
Next, when anyone asked what Lucy wanted I always offer up a few different useful, helpful, purposeful gift ideas that we would genuinely use or appreciate that are easily bought for under $15. For Lucy that answer was, ” She loves all thing arts (paint supplies, paper etc.), she wears a 5t in clothes, we love a good pair of pj’s, and she loves to read.”
In the past we have asked Grandparents for passes to the museum, dance classes or other experience based gift. This year one of her friends heard us loud and clear and took her on a day to her favorite bounce house place and lunch.
Now the Fun part!
We partied until our feet hurt and our tummies were full. We really soaked in the day.
That part is over too quick.
Now, for the hangover and how I combat it.
- We took down all the decor, balloons, trash right after our last guest left. Getting back to as close to our normal space as possible. Helping us feel calm and able to relax after bedtime.
- I had Lucy try on any clothes right away and set piles for return of a couple of shoes that I bought too big and some pants that weren’t kidding calling themselves skinny cut.
- The morning after the party I made what returns I needed and cleared out the to-do list right away. Putting this off any longer creates piles in my home that I kick myself every time I see. So do it now! I was also able to use the return amount to supplement the few summer clothes items we were missing.
- Out with the old, In with the new. (With the exception of art supplies ) We donate and clear out any toys and clothes we aren’t using now and make space for the new things we received yesterday. Allowing the cycle to keep the kids room simple and only with our favorite things.
Keeping to this model has helped us make the best choices for our goals and have a stress free, fun day! Simplifying doesn’t need to be grey toned and lonely. I hope to keep showing that though our journey.
A few of our favorite gifts to give or receive-
- Plants ( Lucy got a pot of roses, and two succulents to add to our collection. It made her giddy!)
- Art supplies
- experiences (day pass to children’s museum, prepaid dance class, movie tickets)
- building blocks
- We did get Lucy one gift as a family. A balance bike
Please feel free to check out my post on why we choose minimalism, here!