Winter Birthday Party Blues

We all know, scheduled c-sections aside, we can’t usually choose when our baby’s born. Few of us are able to actually schedule conception after all.

This leaves many a parent struggling to plan a winter birthday party for a child. Sure, we pride ourselves on the fact that our child is still in school and can be feted appropriately (at the schools that still allow birthday celebrations in class, that is). But, we envy those who can invite everyone to the house to play in the backyard or who can host a neighborhood pool party with lifeguards providing watchful eyes while the parents enjoy some relaxation in the sun.

As proof, I point you to my son’s second birthday. Ridiculously (hindsight is 20/20) I planned a beach-themed event. I live in the southern United States, so it didn’t seem that crazy. Yet the day of the party arrived and there was an actual snow storm. Not even what my Canadian self would describe as a “Charlotte-snow-storm” where the snow is barely on the ground long enough for us to witness it. No, a real one. We spent the morning sledding, then came home to a number of party guest cancellations because people couldn’t get out of their driveways. Fortunately, I’d learned from the first-year-old Charlie Brown party to invite many people, and we still ended up with a crowd. They were greeted outside our door by this snowman

Winter Birthday Party

Since then, we’ve enjoyed most of our parties somewhere else where the kids can run around like crazy inside, and I needn’t clean up.

But I might have thought differently if I’d read beforehand this great advice (edited below) for winter birthdays from a Philly Parenting blogger:

  1. When in-house, always have a plan. Chunk the party into 15 to 30 minute segments (younger ages need smaller chunks), and allow some time to play freely, but not enough time where things can reach dangerous levels of chaos.
  2. When inside, consider rotating. For bigger crowds, use “stations” where kids rotate in small groups through three or four activities.
  3. Make preparing food or materials part of the party. Decorating cupcakes, designing their party bags, making slime or playdough can help focus the madness and keep kids occupied.
  4. Watch a movie. Or host a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) party — Minecraft marathons work similarly well.
  5. Set up a photobooth. This is super easy, cheap, and especially fun for the school age/tween crowd. Share the photos with parents and kids electronically after the party.
  6. Brave a slumber party

She suggests that’s the last resort. Having now hosted two of them for birthdays, I know why.

In the meantime, indulge me in this other memory from our snowy/beachy party — my son had no problem enjoying the beach-themed cake I made.

Winter Brithday Party

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