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#1 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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This question came up last night with my bro, SIL, and cousin. SIL said these days you HAVE to do themes so the child don't look weird and be singled out among their friends. The rest of us on a different note, we think if you want to then to it, but we don't see the big deal. Also to decorate their bedroom in the favorite character (the whole sha-bag, bed, ect..). So do everyone here do themes or plan on doing themes?
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#2 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 09:51 AM
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Heck no. I hate theme stuff. It's so unimaginative to me for decorating (at least characters--I like themes like "garden" or "treehouse" or "sailboat" or whatever. And as far as B-Day parties go, we're not even doing kid parties yet, and probably won't at least until kindergarten. It's big family BBQ, and a few kids her age (my sister's son, our neighborhood friends) come with their families.

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#3 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 09:52 AM
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But if your SIL wants to buy a ton of overpriced stuff that's her business.

ETA: wait, are we talking themes like Elmo plastered everywhere or "garden party, tea party, etc" ~ I think that's fine but I find the character use a little boring.
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#4 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 09:53 AM
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I do themes because I just love it and really enjoy the challenge of planning a big bash each year. I don't think it would be odd for a party not to heave a theme, the real theme after-all is celebrating the miracle that is your child!

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#5 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post

But if your SIL wants to buy a ton of overpriced stuff that's her business.

ETA: wait, are we talking themes like Elmo plastered everywhere or "garden party, tea party, etc" ~ I think that's fine but I find the character use a little boring.
She is talking about themes like children characters - Dora, Spiderman, ect...

That what I told her too. If you want to that is you. But she is like it don't cost that much 'why wouldn't you do it'.

She also believe I need to have him start watching those spiderman and dora things. Lucky thing I don't have the channels that play those stuff anyways and we about to get rid of this TV soon or at least out of DS sight. Why do people believe children have to watch these shows to have a normal childhood.
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#6 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 10:17 AM
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I don't like the idea of bedroom themes *at all* because I feel like even a tasteful, well-carried-out theme (I'm think "space" or "circus" or "garden") would likely get old before I was ready to redo the room/replace the bedding/et cetera. So I would prefer to keep the rooms more neutral in terms of "theme" and just work with colors/style. I would actually find decorating a children's room in a theme (like those that I mentioned) to be a blast, I think--I just wouldn't do it because I would be afraid it wouldn't "last" long enough.

As for parties, I absolutely don't think a kid would be singled out or made fun of if their party lacked a theme. We've done parties with themes and without, and like the bedroom thing, I think it's kind of fun, as a parent, to work on the details of a theme-party (again, I'm talking "space" or "pirates" or "music" or something), and I would be a lot more inclined to have a theme for a party than a bedroom--even if it were a character-based theme, I guess--just because the kid only needs to stay "into" whatever that theme is long enough to have a party, and that seems pretty feasible.
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#7 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 10:27 AM
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OMG are you kidding? That's just plain crazy. Esp for toddlers who won't even know the difference.

We don't like kids' stuff that's really just marketing--and most of this "theme" stuff is thinly-disguised advertising, IMO.

I also think the whole idea of having your toddlers "fit in" or be acceptable to their friends sets them up for a lifetime of unhappiness. Ugh.

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#8 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 11:01 AM
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Yes I do a theme. I dont feel I have to do one though. DS doesnt even, and wont be going to school - so its not like I will ever feel the competition surrounding that.

But I do pick a theme. I think - what would DS like. Find it, buy it, plan to make the cake to match and go from there!

For his first birthday I found 'One Special Boy' theme. Its designed for the first birthday - with party plates that say #1 on them for example. For his second, he was really into cows so I did a 'Farmyard' them. And this year, since we love Mickey Mouse - thats the theme! hehe

You dont need a theme no. But I like picking the theme. I like be organised and it gives me somewhere to go with the cake I will make as well.

I also want to add that though we have a 'party' ...they are never big. This year, there are only 4 children going to be there (thats including my son!) and the rest very close family. But I still do a theme.
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#9 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 11:02 AM
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I don't think toddler care if you have a theme or not. I am currently planning DS's 3rd birthday and am not doing a theme. It's gong to be at the kid's museum and we will just do multi colored decorations. DS's room isn't theme based although he does have mickey mouse club house bedding because that's what he picked and there were only a couple of options for a toddler bed and all were character based.

I think your SIL is kind of wacky to think little kids give two hoots about whether their friends have themes or not.

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#10 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 12:09 PM
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as far as "theme" parties go around here, it's letting my kids go to the party store to get their own paper plates and cups with whatever they want on them for their birthday barbecue/pool party. my kids couldn't even pick just one each, so we had star wars, pokemon, little mermaid, and tinkerbell for their combo party this year

i think their friends were just happy to come over and swim, drink punch and eat cake. nobody cared about the *theme*.

my kids are 6 and 9, with friends from ages 4-11

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#11 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 12:39 PM
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Gosh no, I loathe theme anything. If they get older and request it, probably just for them, but no, I do not plan on having anything theme. My kids do not even have any character clothes, etc. I hate them! People have bought us winnie the pooh shirts or something and they never wear them. Guess I'm weird but I can't stand them.

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#12 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 01:09 PM
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Not characters, no, but I like themes for parties like monkeys/jungle, or luau, or tea party, etc. I think they are fun to plan. That said, so far I haven't done any themes for dd's b-day (she's 3), just basic parties with family members, cake, and a few gifts.
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#13 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 01:21 PM
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MOre so than 'themed' birthday parties - I don't get big bashes for toddlers, seems overwhelming and not really fun for the kiddo.

We did a Cars cake when ds#1 was 3 (he loved cars) but otherwise - I make simple cakes and have simple parties with a few family members (small families as my parents don't live close and dh's parents have both passed away).

I have refused to do big parties for my older ones - $400-$500 for a party is insane. They still have friends.
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#14 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 01:21 PM
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for ds's birthday party next week we're doing a generic baseball theme, which I think is ok. (being in Chicago, there's been strong pressure to buy everything cubs or sox.. there's a whole line of mlb products at the party store) Don't you think kids will eventually get bored if every party they go to is the same old dora or whomever? I'm not into all the licensed characters. Anyone who wonders what's the harm in elmo and disney princesses, check out this book, "Buy Buy Baby" about how our tots are being exploited by branding.

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#15 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 02:30 PM
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We don't even do a birthday party. They would think we're really, really weird. LOL We just have dinner with family, open presents and have home made cupcakes. We may go out as a family somewhere DD would have fun. There are no other children in our family, just DD. I guess the only thing that might be "themish" is that we decorate her cupcakes. She likes skeletons on them because she loves the human body and skeltons pretty easy to draw on cupcakes.

DDs bedroom isn't even decorate, much less with a theme. Again, if we had to choose a theme, it would be books. Her headboard is a bookcase, but that's really it.
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#16 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 02:39 PM
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The extent of 'theme'ing' for DS's 2nd b-day was the winnie the pooh plates and napkins I picked out. Me, DH, and DS had a wonderful time! Oh, and I drew a few wobbly planets on his cake with blue icing, which he loved.

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#17 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 02:45 PM
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they've fallen for marketing, hook line and sinker.

we stay away from commercially licensed characters, dd is 2 1/2 and she hardly knows any of them. well, she knows about hello kitty , but she isn't into it like other kids are obsessed with dora, diego etc, and it's not an major part of her play or imagination like it is with many of her peers. she just thinks hello kitty is cute (i agree...).

anyways, her second birthday party had a "theme" was a MESSY PARTY, and we had all sorts of fun, messy art activities for the kids that they don't normally get to do. it was a blast. but we used plain white napkins and plates, and believe me, dd didn't notice (neither did anyone else, for that matter) and she is not "deprived" or "weird".

somehow, i don't think my idea of a theme and your family's idea of a theme are the same thing.

and we cosleep so i guess dd's bedroom "theme" is orchids...because that's OUR bedroom decor. she seems to like it, she loves looking at and talking about the beautiful flowers, and "flower" was one of her first words, she used to wake up and point and say "fwa, fwa".:
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#18 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 02:47 PM
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Well, I host themed parties, but not characters ... more like "under the sea" or "luau" or "dance party." I have been to lots of parties that do no have a theme and they are just as much fun.

As for bedrooms, both of my daughters have coordinated rooms that are just "girly." Flowers and pink and whatnot. No characters here!
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#19 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 02:51 PM
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We've never done a theme of any sort and my oldest is 5.5. Actually, I've never been to a theme B-Day party for a child, they must not be popular here.

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#20 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 04:14 PM
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I will only do a theme for anything if DS requests it. That said we do have a few "character" toys and blankets (mainly Sesame Street and Snoopy), but nothing planned out-- just things various people gave us. He does watch TV but I am too cheap to INTRODUCE the idea of a theme if he doesn't mention it!

If he does request a character theme for a party in the future, I probably will do it though.
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#21 of 21 Old 08-10-2008, 04:54 PM
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I like the "messy party" theme someone mentioned...will have to store that one away for down the line.

Our parties frequently have a theme, but only because I find it makes my planning more focused and easier...and pushes me toward greater creativity. My kids choose the theme by age two. I try not to influence them.

It is never character themes. (Though, do you know the "Miss Spider" books? Even before they become some craze, my mom has adored them, so when ds arrived, she sent a couple along to us. My ds now loves them, and we almost had a "Miss Spider" theme for his birthday this last year.)

dfd's first birthday party was at home...a 1980s themed party because she was big into 1980s music. We told her guests to come dressed for the 80s (which apparently was in anyway) if they wanted, and we dressed dfd up like she was our child of the 80s. But other than that and all the 80s music we played, that was about it.

Her second birthday party was also at home, and was a "book party." We did this mostly because that is what dfd said she wanted. She's my little book worm. The side benefit was that we'd just moved to the land of my in-laws, so we were trying to encourage books if people wanted to bring gifts because we don't share values regarding play things for little girls...the theme provided the perfect opportunity. I made photo colorcopies of the covers of some of dfd's books, and we put these on the wall as decorations. She also had a cake decorated like a book. I know there was more we did for the theme, but can't remember.

As you can see, we typically don't go crazy with themes. Just a little something to tie things together in a creative manner.

Let's see. I don't recall having a theme for ds' first birthday. It was at home, and everyone had a good time just hanging out. Second birthday we had at the fire station (that station did free birthday parties, which was great because I REALLY didn't want to have to clean the house for guests to come over only to mess it all up again, and it was an instant a theme ds LOVES!). We got a little crazier with that theme because it was just so easy. We had all red and yellow and orange foods, and red and yellow balloons. We put up red and yellow and black crepe paper. We brought in all our toy fire trucks and ambulances from home, including a pop up tent one. We gave as favors firetruck straw cups, which the kids used at the party along with firetruck and firefighter stickers. The kids got to tour the fire station and climb and play in the firetruck, and even try on firefighter gear. And the firefighters gave them each a firefighter hat to take home. There was more, but I forget now.

His last birthday party he said he wanted a surprise party LOL! So cute. The impetus for that is the Miss Spider ABC book (there is a surprise party in it), so we started planning a sweet little Miss Spider surprise party for him. Then suddenly he changed his mind. He wanted a "truck party." As we planned, we had to make it a "things that go" party for flexibility. We had it at our church so I didn't have to clean house. I brought in all our toy cars, planes, trains, busses, etc....both ride-on toys and push toys (we had a nice big room). The cake had trucks on top as decor. We put up "road signs" around the room. Can't recall what else, if anything.

We have also had a roller rink party for our kids, which was a lot of fun and was a built in theme...we all just had to show up and put on skates LOL!

When I was a kid, my mother always had our parties at our house, and they were these sweet themes she created. For example, one year she threw me a baking party. A lot of kids had parties at different party venues, so I did feel a little different (probably enhanced by differences in class), but in retrospect, I love that our parties were always individualized, well-thought out, and made-by-hand by my creative and thoughtful mother. Plus, they were fun parties.

I hope I can give my kids memories like that.

Regarding bedrooms, I find themes to be a little limiting over time. Also, because we are a foster family, our rooms require some flexibility. We don't mind doing quick paint jobs, carefully chosen bedspreads, etc., but we don't do wallpaper, and we don't make any investments in a particular "theme" bigger than a new set of sheets and bedspread (generally just one specially themed one per child). I like a sort of eclectic mix of complimentary and creative decor. My main requirement for kids rooms is that they are designed for kids: nothing on adult level, etc....everything kid sized. My second requirement is that my kids are involved in designing their rooms. I had a kid who wanted an all-purple room. As in, not other colors. And not just any purple. He choose some very um, specific shades, most of them very similar. This was the only room we've ever had that has really been themed. We painted the room purple and found a wooden desk at a thrift shop that we sanded down and painted a glittery purple. We got him a purple bedspread, a set of purple sheets, and some purple pillowcases. Later he saved his allowance money and got some more purple decorative pillows, a purple chair, and eventually, he changed out the curtains so they were purple too. I gave him a purple clock at some point as well. That room was so purple I couldn't stand it, but he loved it, and so that was great. But like I said, that's the only time I've ever done a real "theme room."

I don't see why they are necessary, except for the corporations that want to sell stuff.

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