Having a birthday party can take a chunk out of your wallet. Having more than a couple of kids to give a party for can lead us to the poorhouse if we are not careful. This is true for parents everywhere, but a single parent or families with one income can feel the pinch that much worse. With the faltering economy being what it is most of us are leery about spending money unnecessarily. Just about every kid’s place in town now offers to “host” your child’s birthday party. This is great because that leaves the parents with one very small job, inviting the guests. At some places you provide the cake as well. However, there is no cooking involved, no party games to think up or to buy prizes for, and best of all, no cleaning up afterwards. What is the catch? You got it, big money. Money that most of us do not have to spend on a one-day celebration.
We love our kids and this would be a great idea if we had the money. It is a stress reliever for ourselves as well, but most of us point blank are not at liberty to spend on this convenience, especially right now.
I remember growing up and my mother having our birthday parties at home. Those were some of my best memories. The table was set with all kinds of goodies. There were hats, noise blowers that twirled out and made a “honk” noise and little goodie cups filled with candy on the perfectly coordinated birthday tablecloth and matching plates, napkins and cups. A bunch of balloons usually hung down from the light that was directly above the center of the table. A big “Happy Birthday” banner was also hung surrounded by streamers and balloons everywhere. I remember putting on my best party dress. Oh yes, I was a girly-girl and had to have my lacy, ruffled, satin party dress with satin ribbons in my long “Shirley Temple” ringlets that reached down to the back of my waist. I anxiously awaited the arrival of my “guests”, with my little sister by my side. My guests included all of the neighborhood girls, some school friends, and my cousins, of course. Those were the days.
Home parties are great and are a fraction of the cost of an outside party. With dollar stores everywhere paper goods can be purchased very cheaply. If you are on a budget you can pick up your prizes there as well. Games can consist of made up games with items you have around the house as props. I remember my favorite game being my brother standing in a doorway with a sheet secured around the doorframe. He would stand on one side all crouched down and would put prizes on a child’s fishing pole that the player was holding onto on the opposite side of the sheet. I loved that game and everyone won something. For the final purchase of this party, my mother made a cake and it was beautifully decorated by her.
A home birthday party does take more work, but we all helped out and afterwards we all pitched in to clean up and it was not so bad. The memories were wonderful and have stayed with me throughout the years. The good, old days were great. Money was tight, but stress was low.
Next time you need to celebrate a birthday party why don’t you consider going way back into your childhood and consider a party like we used to have back in the day. Your pocketbook will be more abundant and the memories will remain forever.
Angel Lynn writes in weight loss, single parenting, and health