Birthdays are about much more than how many friends can be stuffed into a celebratory environment. These very special events are explicitly about infusing joyous, unique and lasting, special moments into an especially significant date. This is a day to commemorate a treasured life, which made two people into “parents”, or grew their beloved family, with a new addition to their amazing team.
The 21st Century has been a catalyst for great changes in every life, and yet, the 3 “must haves” for a successful child’s party are a “kicked-up version” of what has always been: the child, the cake and the love.
About the Child
No party, held at any time, is Pinterest Perfect. Making the child’s day feel extraordinarily special, and that he/she own’s it, from sunrise to bedtime; this is the goal of loving parents, parental figures, grandparents, and extended family. In 2019, efforts are made to create family traditions which are designed to show love, worth, and appreciation for the young birthday celebrant. Even before the sun comes up, often the previous night, parents do the prep work to stage an “eye-opening”, stellar, starting event, followed by engaging new behaviors or celebrational habits such as:
a) Affixing streamers, or helium balloons, wrapped in plastic, and taped to the doorway of the birthday child’s bedroom, which upon opening, will swirl, shake, and float about as a “good morning greeting”.
b) Adding a lighted birthday candle to their favorite breakfast of pancakes, muffins, eggs, or other personal choice
c) Offering every meal eaten on a birthday, served on a very special plate, reserved only for this event
d) Filling large balloons, which have been time-dated, with surprises such as notes of affection, movie tickets, mini-ninjagoes or mini-books, unicorns, silver dollars, or whatever tiny treasures reflect the child’s interests. Throughout the day, at specific times, each balloon is popped, and ongoing intrigue is sustained.
e) If the child is spending most of their day at school, when being picked up, parents often fill their car with a few colorful balloons, gently flow outside the rear windows, and a sign designating that “only a (new digit, age specific) is allowed to ride in the car.”
These are just fun, family-oriented, activities that can be tweaked to fit various tastes, interests, habits and hobbies, that they embrace, as an act of endearment. It isn’t just the party which commemorates the day, it is that event, and how the parents, and family’s loving attention, has made their child feel.
2. The Cake
Children love to have a party that flows from one energized activity to the next, chosen with their interests and happiness as the source, and with cake as an amazing, delicious reward. Getting a child involved in picking a party theme, which creates giggles and excitement, and crafting original invitations, to be snail-mailed; generates rare, and very bonding, family moments. The party participants are as crucial for a child, age 5 and up, as the cake-eating itself. The act of sharing this munch-fest is the essence of the entire experience. Friendship, even early on, is priceless. Invites sent four weeks prior to the date, and RSVP’s requested, eliminates the issue.
The cake is more than a tasty treat in 2019. It is a trending statement of party-readiness, a focal point for the day. It signifies the importance of the event, in the eyes of the curious, growing, complex, excited, and probably, by now, over-stimulated birthday child, and attendees. The newest expectation for cake creation, is based on the theory that children today want surprise elements contained within, or a 3-D effect to this culinary delight. Home-made or purchased, birthday cakes have a “spill-out” feature, usually crunchy candy, ice cream, nut and fruit fillings, or some neon-colored frosting, oozing or pouring out, when cut into sumptuous slices. Why have an epic cake experience? It is a symbol of this event, picked with consideration of the child’s tastes, with attention to sugar content and allergies. It personifies the theme, and along with tiny, shaped, sandwiches or other healthy snacks, keeps energy’s up, and meltdowns quelled.
3. About the Love
When parents, whether helicopter, nurturing, pragmatic, or some other label, too humorous to mention, take on daunting birthday tasks, in an effort to demonstrate the purest, loving, emotions and devotion; this act, as a stan-alone-effort, is living proof of their willingness to flaunt their unconditional love, dedication, and on-going-for-life- commitment to their child’s happiness. Deciding how this event can supersede previous special occasions, while slipping in a few moments of life lessons, is a parental obligation, of the purest and most deeply felt variety; precipitated by the sense of higher purpose that loving children, affords them.
These life lessons include:
a) Making sure that inviting guests hurts no one’s feelings
b) Skipping the present giving, and having guests show off a talent. Less is more, and the focus is on everyone
c) Using good manners to thank everyone who attends for participating
d) Being a good sport and taking turns at games and activities
e) Picking party favors that guests will enjoy, like baked treats, smush balls, little books, and puzzles.
Lastly, taking photos and videos of the birthday party, the fun shared, laughing, cake-filled faces, challenging activities, silliness, and surprises, documented for all time, is a very loving testament to every child, not only at the special moment, but for a life-time to come.
Parent/family love is as complex and beautiful, real and tested, as the unique and priceless emotion can possible be, in any century, on any date, at any time.