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Confessions Of An Overboard Party Parent

My daughter’s third birthday party is in three weeks, so I’m heavily in party planning mode. I’ve been skimming the internet for inspiration, and I off-handedly said to my husband, “Man…some people really go overboard on their parties. He looked at me and laughed. “WHAT?” I said. “Heather, you totally go crazy when it’s time for a party!” When I started to protest he said, “You don’t go so overboard that you get like, live animals and rock bands, but you definitely creep up to the edge of the boat.”

I admit I put a lot into the parties I throw — be they for me, Annie, Halloween, or Christmas. I love entertaining people in my home, and I really enjoy throwing parties. Above all, I have a lot of fun planning parties and putting together all the little details.

It might look like I throw overboard parties, but I don’t actually go overboard.

First, I make a list of every single thing I could ever possibly want at the party, then I set a budget. I never, EVER go over the budget. I figure out what elements of the party are most important, then figure out everything else around that. For Annie’s parties, I usually have something as the focal point. Last year it was a balloon twister, this year it will be a face painter. I shop around for the best deal and once I’ve found it, I adjust the other elements of the party accordingly. This usually means slashing away more than half of the things I thought I would want at the party, but I quickly realize what is important to me or Annie and what isn’t.

I keep my guest list tight. We are heavily in the “kids and parents” party stage right now, so our guest list is virtually unchanged from party to party. This gives me an advantage because I know exactly how much food and drinks to get (although I adjust up slightly as kids get older!).

I also keep a running shopping list. I make this as soon as possible and then I shop around. Big box stores, Amazon.com, Dollar Tree, and Oriental Trading company are my favorite stops. By making my list far enough in advance I am always able to secure the best deals.

But perhaps one of the biggest ways I go overboard is with the DIY. I usually make all the decorations myself. I again figure out everything I want in advance, and after I go through left over decorations from previous parties (for example, I made or bought everything for my last birthday party with Annie’s future birthday party in mind, and I will reuse ALL of it!), I figure out what I can realistically make and what I will have to buy. Then, I do a little bit of prep work every night leading up to the party. The night before Annie’s 2nd birthday party, everything was already done. I got a great night’s sleep!

But again, I really enjoy putting together parties. It’s definitely not something everyone finds fun, and that’s cool. Not everyone wants to spend their downtime putting together banners! But I love it. And I think when you love doing something, it doesn’t feel like you’re going overboard. You’re just having fun!


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