In my last post, I told you my daughter wanted a Star Wars themed birthday party. My big girl is very sociable. She wanted to invite everyone, even the neighbours we regularly meet in the elevator but never had a playdate with.
We know some parents celebrating their child’s birthday at home in family. And that is just fine. We also know parents who throw big parties that have a budget close to a wedding. And we get it too. Children grow up fast; you cannot catch up the time and your only wish is to make memories for them.
We fell in-between these two situations. Usually, we only tell them to pick the name of their favourite friends. And I would add few names she may forget and whom I get along very well with their mums. Let’s be real, we also want to spend a nice moment. We will all gather at our place. I’ll prepare the finger food and all the activities to get the children busy.
They are allowed to pick the number of names that is equal to the age they will turn. So typically, they can give me four names on their 4th birthday party.
However, we made an exception this year. Our daughter has good friends from her previous school and I wanted to help her integration to her new class. So we organised a party for around 30 children + their parents. We booked the place a month before the D-day, paid for the big package. Every week, I dedicated few hours of my time to plan for the party.
- Drinks ✓
- Groceries for every kind of diet ✓
- Treat bags ✓
- Personalised invitation cards ✓
- Personalised goodies’ pouches ✓
- And the cake of course! ✓
I even tried the chocolate layer biscuit a week before to make sure the recipe would do the job.
I would typically lock myself in the kitchen for a couple of hours cooking and baking the day before the event. I contemplated contracting a catering service for a short moment. But realised we couldn’t afford a catering service that would prepare the kind of food we like as all the money went to pay the big package. And the more affordable ones seem to offer crappie food. And we are picky customers. We are French…
Anyway, a good friend of mine offered to give me a hand. She is from Korea and likes to learn French dishes. So we killed a bird with two stones. At the end I even reminded her I would typically ask her for money for what she just learned from me. Because that’s what cooking lessons look like! You pay to cut/chop/wash/cook dishes you will taste after.
I was anxious I didn’t prepare enough food, I was anxious my cake would be too small to offer a slice to everybody, I was anxious I wouldn’t finish on time, I was anxious I didn’t have enough treat and goodies bags. In short, I was STRESSED.
And you know what? Not even half of her classmates showed up.
It was upsetting but I was somehow relieved. Because I had enough of everything for everyone!
In a way, I was expecting that as only few mums replied they would come. The others wouldn’t just dare to let you know. Here people give it an excuse and say ‘oh it’s because they don’t like to say no to you.’ So they’d rather not say anything, leaving you in doubt. How helpful is that!
So on the few, half of them had to cancel at the last minute.
Luckily, all MY favourite persons came and my daughter had a great time with the friends she plays the most. She could even eat all the junk we normally say no to.
Anyway, I am happy I delighted the palate of all my friends who came. For us anything is food related. Our family lives for food. Groceries shopping have the largest part of our monthly budget. Yes, we basically eat our money, just say it.
But for us, a healthy life goes along with healthy eating habits. We can’t help it, we are French.
So here are the lessons learned:
- Don’t bother inviting your child’s entire classmates. Only few will come. And the birthday boy/girl will be playing with only those she plays the most anyway.
- Always invite your own squad; they will not let you down.
- You will have as much fun and save money.
Thanks for reading me 😉