Parties - Deciding to have a party at home!

OK, so you've just managed to regulate your breathing and get your heartbeat back to normal after realising that your child’s birthday is coming up and they've spent the past 11 months talking about their next party.

Queue heart palpitations and black spots in front of your eyes as phone call after phone call results in discovering that all venues are booked out on your available dates so GASP, you have decided to have the party AT HOME.

Now, pick yourself up off the floor and BREATHE. This IS do-able.
Date and time
First things first - set the date. Lock it in. Ideally it will be 3 - 4 weeks away, but regardless of whether it's in a week or a month a decision has been made. This is good.

Also think about if you want a morning, midday or afternoon party, or the almost unthinkable - a slumber party! Think about your child and the ages of children attending. If they are toddlers who still have midday sleeps then morning parties are ideal. Morning parties also mean that kids then have the afternoon to burn off sugar/sleep off the party and you might have a chance to clean up. 

Afternoon parties give you time in the morning to finish setting up (a.k.a. Panic Mode because despite all best intentions, who really has absolutely everything done the night before??) Older children might be ready to have sleep overs so parties starting late in the afternoon could also work. If you work all week and Saturday is your only day for shopping, cooking and running around manically, then plan the party for Sunday. Don't rule out weekday and after school parties. If the date hinges on your child's best friend attending - check with best friend's parents to ensure availability.

Date and time set, you can now take another breath.

You know your home - will this be an indoor or outdoor party? If you have a large enough yard and some sort of outdoor shelter, this might help keep your carpet/child's room/sanity intact. If the weather/apartment living means that you have to have a party indoors, is it going to be an open-house-free-for-all, or are you going to designate a party space? 

Just decide on your party space now. Later you can think about the additional details of getting extra chairs, setting up and decorating the space.

Number of guests
OK, so you know where you want the party to happen - how many sugared-up bodies (plus any parents who stay) will be comfortable/can be controlled in that space? Do you have one party for family on the actual day and another for friends on the weekend, or just one party? Do you have any rules or traditions for determining numbers? Some people:
  • have the same number of children as the child's age (7 years old - invite 7 friends);
  • have as many kids as you can fit chairs around the dining table/kids in the pool/sleeping bags in the lounge room;
  • follow the social tradition of inviting everyone in the class during the first year of school, then in following years narrow it down to friends they actually play with (you can ask the teacher who these are);
  • invite just the boys/girls in the class; or
  • invite the social & family network - 2 or 3 close school friends, plus cousins of the same age, plus friends who they've grown up with but might not go to the same school.
However many you decide to invite, once you've decided on the final number, STICK TO IT.

Party space and numbers decided, your breathing levels should now be almost normal.

Here's a little secret that doesn't often get shared - you don't have to have a theme. You can if you like, but it's not compulsory. You can have a very vague theme which can be something as simple as your child's favourite colour, a shape such as stars or just balloons, but if you want something a little more elaborate, knock yourself out. 

If you do decide to have a theme, while this may make your heart-rate increase a little, the first thing to do is decide what that theme will beThen you can plan how to apply the theme to the party.

Once you've decided on your theme, you can still your racing heart a little as the next post will tell you how to schedule your party plan and prepare invitations.

Congratulations - you've decided to have a party at home. You have a date, time, party area, guest list and theme - YOU CAN DO IT. 

So far it's just been an idea, the next postParties at home - Planning & invitations will help you get the ball rolling and party started!


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