How To Guide for an Easy Birthday Party

I used to be good at birthday parties. But my poor, pitiful third child has gotten the short end of the stick on many things- and birthdays just happen to be one of them. If you want to make Pinterest cry, then you’ll be ready to toss a party together in these easy steps.

1) Dig out class list and try to remember which families go with which child. This happened for me about a week before the party; clearly, more time is socially acceptable and preferable. I sent these moms texts or Facebook messages that read a little like this: “Y’all. I see it on the calendar, but Sister’s birthday is in about a week and I haven’t done a thing to plan. Can you show up at the pool on Monday? You won’t have to cook that night and I’ll wear your children out.” Or something equally as classy.

swim with friends

2) Blissfully forget about it and go about your regular business. Run a monogramming store (or 2!) and travel to Texas that week after just getting home from Georgia. Yes- that’s brilliant. Have husband call and book the pool area for reserved tables.

waving in pool

3) Arrive home at midnight on a Sunday night before party on Monday. Start to freak out because you’ve only heard from 2 families that can definitely come. Spend a lot of the day Monday texting families who are not in this child’s class. Go on to invite family friends, other sibling’s friends, people who live near the pool who we might not really know- because at this point we need warm bodies for photos. My text to these people says, “Don’t worry about a gift. I’ll buy extra and say it’s from you. Just show up! SOS!”

eating and decor

4) Run to Tar-jhay in a state of panic at 3:00 (party starts at 5:00). Wheel through there like you are on Supermarket Sweep- birthday edition. Sister wants a Hello Kitty theme (same as last year; have no idea why; we have no affinity for dolls or toys with this but whatever) and I run by the bakery. Jesus smiled on me and had a baker there who whipped up a painted/ hand crafted/ amazing Hello Kitty cake in 10 minutes. While she was doing that I filled my cart (AKA “buggy” in Alabama) with gifts, a banner, generic plates, balloons, juice boxes, grapes and chips. Also grab big bag of goody bag crapola. I wish I could call it something better, but you know how goody bags are; there’s no getting around it. (Babysitter puts together bags as soon as I get home. She’s amazing.) Jason calls and orders pizza during this time and has it set to be delivered to the pool- genius.

blowing out candles

5) Grab things like candle (from my mom the week before!), lighter, cake cutter, tape- all those things I’ve forgotten in years past.  Drawing from past experience for the win. {I just counted and this was about the 20th birthday party we’ve thrown in the past 9 years.}

family pic

6) Get a family picture and YES! Birthday party success. (People who tan on the left; people who don’t on the right.) I believe this is how birthday parties were thrown in the 70s and I’m just vintage. Pretty sure I’m bringing back the last minute/ scattered mom theme in full force.

So there you have it. Solidarity, friends. I still haven’t written thank you notes (but will this weekend) and am still in recovery from the whirlwind and constant craziness we live in. But birthday party? Success. Sister was thrilled and she won’t be in therapy… for that, at least. 😉

Hillary Dunham

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