Sometimes it's easy to forget that our parents spend a tremendous amount of time taking care of us and planning rituals and experiences for us, especially around special occasions, like birthdays. However, it's very easy to show your parents that you appreciate them. For example, give them a low-impact birthday party!
This year my sister and I decided to have a birthday party for our mom, who was turning 45. We thought it would be fun to have a surprise party, but that was not going to be easy, so we asked her to help.
Here is what we did, and you can too!
First, look at the calendar and find a Saturday night near your parent's birthday. Then ask your parent for permission to celebrate his or her life and the completion of another year on the planet. Second, decide what you want to do for the party.
We decided that we were going to invite five families and that the grown-ups would walk to the corner and have dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant while the children stayed home, enjoyed homemade pizza and healthy snacks. When the kids were done eating, they would decorate the house and set up for the rest of the party.
When the grown-ups returned, we planned to have a scavenger hunt for the cake (you could put it in the laundry room or the garage), sparking apple cider and confetti poppers (on the lawn with adult supervision, of course).
Once we had permission and a plan, we used the following timeline.
Four Weeks Before the Party
- Made a list of the people we wanted to invite
- Sent the email invitations, noting that this was a low-impact party (meaning the house would be dirty and no presents were allowed), and asking for an RSVP two weeks before the party
- Created a list of everything we'd need to make this party happen
- Pizza-making supplies for the kids
- Decorations for the house and the cake
- Cake (plain so we could decorate)
- Ice cream and cider
- Cups, plates, napkins and utensils
- Confetti poppers (at least five per person)
Two Weeks Before the Party
- Bought decorations
- Planned the menu
- Planned the activities
- Made reservations at the restaurant for the adults - they had a large round table for 13
One Week Before the Party
- Shopped for everything we did not have
Two days before the party
- Baked the cake
One Day Before the Party
- Cleaned the house (actually we didn't)
- Set out supplies
- Made the clues for the scavenger hunt
Day of the Party
- Make sure you have everything
The party was really fun and we had a great time. There were kids between the ages of 4 and 15. Several of us were certified babysitters, and we had a list of all the adults' cell phone numbers. However, we did not need to call, except to tell them they should come home when we were ready! While the parents were at dinner, the older kids decorated, cleaned up after dinner and set things out for the cake and ice cream. The middle-aged kids prepared the scavenger hunt, and the younger kids played on the computer and played board games.
Everyone had a great time. In fact, we all had such a great time we forgot to take any pictures and to serve the apple cider!
Glossary of Words
Ritual -- of or relating to a rite, according to a culture, an established ceremony, to observe an act or action in a formal way
Appreciate -- to grasp the worth, quality or significance of, to value or admire, and recognize with gratitude
Low-impact -- this means, if it takes more work, your parent may not find it fun. So, announce the house will be dirty and that paper products will be used. Then promise to pick up all the confetti in the front yard the morning after the party.
Reviewed by: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
Last reviewed: July 2019