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Birthday Parties: Whatever You Choose, Make it Great!

Birthday Parties: Whatever You Choose, Make it Great!
By: Dr. Erin Jacobs Stagner

What do the following all have in common: Paw Patrol, Shopkins, Batman, VeggieTales, Princesses and Trolls?  

I’ll give you a clue: sugar-laden small children celebrating with toys and goodies, otherwise known as birthday parties.   

Kids make a big deal out of birthdays, and they have every reason to do so. It’s their special day. What better way to celebrate than with friends and cake? 

How much time and money should we spend on birthdays? It really depends on how much you want to do yourself and how much you are willing to outsource. 

Birthday Cakes

There’s a ton of options here. You can bake your own at home with homemade icing, or go for store-bought. Personally, I order them because my girls want specialized cakes. Of course, you can use your local grocery — WalMart or Kroger — but I prefer local businesses myself. Kanisha Moore, of Greenwood, can make a basic three layer round cake or half sheet cake for $35, and a two-tier cake for $75. She also provides options for edible images, for an additional charge. Veronica’s Bakery in Greenwood charges $59 for an average birthday cake. Both of these ladies do amazing cakes that taste delicious.   

Party Decorations

Again, you’ve got to decide how “crafty” you are and what you would rather pay for. Sandi Westerfield, a resident of Coila, did a construction party for her son Hunter’s birthday last year. It required sand and construction fencing. Tonya Hopkins, who lives in Carrollton, frequently creates her own décor for her daughter’s birthday parties. This year, her youngest is having a Trolls-themed party, complete with homemade signs and troll hair headbands. Amanda Vaden had a “Cupcake Wars” themed party for her daughter, with customizable cupcakes. That simple idea completely took care of the entertainment, decorations, and even the cake! 

Food/Snacks

This is totally customizable to your child’s liking, or to the tastes of the adults that will be attending. Sara Pinkston suggested providing snacks that would satisfy both groups, including veggies, fruit and Cheetos.   

Location

So many places can work: backyards, churches, parks, movie theaters and trampoline parks. The most unique idea came from parent Sara Guido, who rented a hotel suite. The kids have access to the indoor pool, arcade, games, movies, free breakfast, and no clean-up! Yolande van Heerden hosted a sewing party for four little girls, who made their own simple bag at Greenwood’s ArtPlace for a fee of $200. 

Invitations

While most still have the conventional paper invitations, you can instead create an event on Facebook and invite people that way. E-vite is another online service that invites people via email, and you can link to your favorite charity for donations instead of gifts.   

Total Cost

On average, the moms I talked to said they spent $150 to $300, with most staying around $250.  By far, decorations and cake take the most out of the budget. Facility rental is another major expense, should you choose to not host the event yourself. 

There’s no right or wrong here; it’s up to you. I’ve done a backyard Batman themed party, with a surprise visit from Batman himself. The costume was totally worth the look on Lydia’s face! 

Whatever you decide, remember that they only turn this age once, and you’ll never get the chance to celebrate it again. 

Dr. Erin Jacobs Stagner, DC, MS, MSHAPI is an avid health nut and OCD organizer. She is braving this world one day at a time. 

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