Creating Lasting Memories with Birthday Parties

Jayden doesn't subscribe to my "chocolate only" cake philosophy, so I added chocolate icing when he wasn't looking.

Jayden doesn't subscribe to my "chocolate only" cake philosophy, so I added chocolate icing when he wasn't looking.

Last weekend I threw a birthday party for my 10-year-old nephew, Jayden. I scoured Pinterest for ideas before designing my own invitations, baking cupcakes and renting a bounce house. My husband, who was on board with the bounce house by the way, thought I might be overdoing it a bit. He didn’t grow up with elaborate birthday parties, so he couldn’t really understand why it was necessary to have a theme. But for my family, birthdays and their accompanying parties were a huge deal. In addition to cake and presents with my parents and brothers on my actual birthday, I also celebrated with friends and had a party with my extended family.

Three parties may be a bit excessive, but I have really fond memories of these gatherings. When I think back to my childhood, birthday parties are front and center. Not because of the gifts or the fact that I was in charge for a day (although that might play a slight part in it), but because planning the party was creative and collaborative. I got to help pick decorations (usually pink), come up with the games and plan the menu (chocolate is the only acceptable cake flavor).

A Party to Remember

One of my favorite parties – and the reason I was so determined to give Jayden some birthday memories of his own – was for my 10th birthday. It was a sock hop-themed slumber party where my friends and I sang and danced until late in the night.

My mom helped me pick out the décor (pink and teal streamers, some large records and a few musical note danglers) and the entertainment (Gidget Goes Hawaiian might not have technically been from the 50s, but it was close enough). My aunt sewed a felt poodle skirt for me to wear. My uncle made a mixed tape of oldies music, and my dad wired the empty living room for sound so we could enjoy a dance floor unfettered by furniture.

My friends and I had a blast at that party. So much so, that 20 years later I attempted to recreate that same experience for my nephew (minus the poodle skirts). My first try may not have been perfect, but I hope it made a positive impression. And it leaves room for improvement when he turns 13!

What Do You Think About Children's Birthday Parties?

Are birthdays worth the effort or do you avoid event planning like the plague? Comment below with your thoughts or any memories from your past birthday parties.

Parties, Recipes