DS's 2nd birthday is coming up soon. It will be the dead of winter & we have a small house (can't afford to rent a place either). So I'm trying to figure out how to make it work. I have a group of 5-10 friends that will probably come (with their kids, mostly toddlers) and both sets of grandparents plus perhaps a couple of aunts and uncles. I'd love to do just one party but I don't think we can comfortably fit that many people in our house. Plus I'd like to have 'no gifts' for the friends but I know the grandparents will want to give him gifts & won't be dissuaded! I was thinking of doing a party with all his friends and then just get together separately for dinner or something with each set of grandparents, but they may be disappointed at not being at his party. Or I could have the friends come earlier in the day & the grandparents come a little later but that would be a long party plus it would probably be awkward if everyone crossed paths. I guess we can just have 2 parties but that seems like a whole lot of work. What does everyone else do???
It makes sense to me to do a "friends" party and a "family" party if space is an issue. Maybe the grandparents could come on the actual b-day for dinner, and the friends could come on the weekend for kiddie games etc.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
If you just want one party, what about having some fun activities for your friends with toddlers earlier in the day with cupcakes or whatever you were planning on serving and then in the evening let the grandparents and other family members come over for dinner and sing happy birthday with the birthday cake? You can take care of everything in one day.
We skipped a birthday party for DD's 1st but had one for her second. For her 3rd, we're going to take her to a show and invite a few people over for cake and icecream.
We usually do a kid party in the earlier part of the day and then after nap/downtime, a "come hang out and nosh on the extras/leftovers and have another dessert" party later.
Hmm good ideas, I do like the idea of getting it all over in one day. I love birthday parties but get very anxious with the food/drink aspect of it, I guess because our diet is so vastly different from everyone we know so it's hard trying to figure out how to feed them things they'll eat (within our budget). If I didn't need to provide food I would gladly do two separate parties on two separate days. I wish our house was just a hair bigger!!
We usually do a "family" party on his actual B-day and then a kids party the weekend before or after. For me it easier to break it down in to 2 parts.
However I really like the idea of doing it one day if you have the stamina and you don't think your kid will melt down. Maybe you could do a early afternoon party for kids. There would be no expectation of lunch and at that age plain old water should work for everyone. You could just do crafts/games and then cake (if you do sweets) and send everyone home around 3-4. . This could give your kids some downtime and then have the family over for an easy dinner around 5-6. Not sure of the dietary restrictions but maybe a simple pasta dish, bread and salad? Cheap and filling but homey and warm on a winters night.
Pardon me while I
I do it differently in that I only do family birthday parties for the 1st one, all the rest are friends only. We had family around growing up as well but it was always done so birthday parties were for children and friends, and then family could see the child another day if they wished, but no party. I personally do not enjoy children's parties where the adults outnumber the children so I have continued to do it the way my mom did. No one in my family has gotten their feeling hurt but I know it might be different in other families.
Maybe I should ask the family how important it is to them, maybe they wouldn't actually care that much (as long as they had some opportunity to see him at some point!!)
I don't think he'd melt down over 2 parties in one day but I'd have to time it right because he usually naps from 1-3pm. I had been thinking of a late morning friends party (11am or so) but then yeah I guess I'd have to do lunch -- though feeding his friends is less difficult, it's my family & inlaws that are tough. They are all very picky, eat mostly bread & meat, no veggies except for potatoes & prefer highly processed food or pricey takeout, whereas we are vegan, gluten-free, minimally processed & nothing artificial. I feel bad that DS isn't often able to have snacks/meals at parties so I hate for his OWN party to be another situation where everyone's eating food he can't have, you know?
Oh and DS's cousin is 6mos younger than him so he would fit in better at the 'friend' party but SIL would want to go to the family thing. I'm probably over-thinking this lol.
It does get complicated sometimes huh? We have some very close friends who are more like family, and DS definitely wants them at the "friends" party, but I'd feel bad not inviting them to the "family" one, but of course I wouldn't want to make them go to both parties. This year we ended up just having everyone over at once and it worked out fine, but we had nice weather and a good portion of the guests spent almost the whole time outside. If weather were an issue we definitely would have split it up.
I don't know what you can do about the food thing. If you do lunch for the "friends" party, since you said that food would be easier, then could you invite family to come over from 1-4 or something so that light snacks would suffice instead of having to plan a whole meal around everyone's preferences?
aaargh i've had that exact quandry. the work. until i realised the best present for my dd IS a party.
when dd was younger i did one giant party. however you have to remember it was summer and so able to do it at the local park. however the big party was necessary coz the gparents wanted to meet dd's friends. it was a chance for my new momma friends to meet the rest of the family and get to know them a little. we did not open presents. for dd's first to 4th bdays i had GIANT parties. 70 - 10 people including at least 40 - 50 kids. i was single. lived in a small apt. couldnt invite really anyone to my apt. so that was my way of thanking all those playdate mommies for having me at their house. it was crazy... so opening presents was not missed as there was always so much going on. and parents were happy to do picnic potlucks so i didnt have to provide all the food.
from 5 onwards we had smaller parties. a bunch of small ones. family and friends were now separated. gparents passed away.
I don't really do birthday parties. My youngest has never had anyone over for her birthday (first birthday we were vacationing at the inlaws, second it was just small DH, Me, DD1 and her), DD1 has had 1 and might have another one this year. Only reason Im debating this year is we move in the beginning of April back to the states and I wanted to be able to see all our friends before we move. With the baby coming and the move January might be the last time we can all get together. Her first birthday we had a party I was pressured into that I still regret.
Growing up we always had a family dinner on our birthday. Usually it was just my brothers, mom, dad, grandmas and grandpa. Thats what Im pretty much planning unless my daughters (and son) asks for something different.
This was the first year we did anything with friends (DD is 3). We did a friends party (and invited local inlaws) on the weekend near her birthday, and then another party with my folks and other family friends a week or so later when we were on vacation visiting them (they live many states away). I don't know how long we'll keep this up, but it seems to be really important to everyone (including DD) and I don't have to do any of the work and planning for the second one--my mom does it.
We don't have family in town, so our deal is different. Could you talk one of the grandma's into hosting a dinner party for the extended family? Would one of them enjoy that?
(just trying to think of a way to make it easier for you!)
but everything has pros and cons
Unfortunately they'd hate that lol. They're not into hosting guests at all. That would be sooo convenient for me if they'd go for it!
It would be cool for family to meet friends... I think that's the other reason I'd love to just have one party. Maybe I will give finding a location one more shot -- maybe I can find somewhere affordable if I look hard enough... Otherwise I guess I'll just do the two parties in one day thing...
Around here it seems the norm for people to have two parties, one for friends and one for family. I did both on the same day this year and it was TOO MUCH. For me anyway. DD seemed fine.
Last year I had a kids party on the weekend, my family went to CEC for lunch with us on DDs bday, and my inlaws took us out to dinner. That was a good birthday!
I used to do 2 or 3 parties, but it was becoming too much work. Now I have the 'kids' party from 2-4 pm, serve fruit, ice cream and cupcakes. I have extra of everything (no more work, just double or triple the cupcakes and fruit). Family is welcome to join us, but they don't have to. I have a mini family celebration afterwards. Some family arrives at 3:15 ish, in time for the cupcakes and others trickle in afterwards. The family party is more casual, whereas the kids' party has more structure to it. Sometimes I have supper for the family (something easy like a pot of chile and bread), sometimes not - it depends. This system works for us.
I would not bother with a party at all for a 2yo. Not a sausage -- nothing.
DS will be 3yo in 6 weeks and we might must about get him a pile of cookies to eat. He'll be delighted with that :).
~ Yank Transplant to Britain and Zookeeper of 4 DC age 15 and under. ~
Same here but with grandparents, as well. And any local aunts, uncles, and cousins. I did our first kid party when ds was 5. After that, we seemed to have a kid party every other year.
All his friends have been having kid parties & birthday parties are one of his favorite things right now. So I think we'll do... a party in the late morning with his friends... and an informal party with the grandparents (and his cousin) either that evening or the next day. I did ask my mom about not doing a party with the family but she pointed out it's one of the only times they get to see my inlaws so I guess it's good for family relations to have some kind of gathering.
Once I counted up all his friends I realized that will still be A LOT of people crammed into our house so I'm kind of nervous... but maybe I can open up our bedroom & make it into an extra play area for the party...