October is a busy month in the Kolby household. My eldest son and my birthday are at the end of the month, as is Halloween and all the Fall Festivals and festivities. October is the grand entrance to our holiday season. November brings our anniversary and our daughter’s birthday, along with Thanksgiving! It is most definitely a celebratory time around these parts. And I couldn’t be happier, or more excited, or more stressed! Ha! Isn’t it funny how some of our most favorite things also produce the most stress? I’m speaking to myself here, but I’ve listed a few boundaries to help me cope and truly enjoy all the sparkling excitement that’s to come.

Birthdays are special days to be celebrated and lavished upon. In my book these are “go all out” days – full of favorites. A favorite breakfast, outfit, party theme, balloons… the list goes on and on. I have begun to consciously simplify our children’s parties. I still want them to feel exceptionally loved, but I also want to tamper expectation, expense, and stress. When “doing for” outweighs “doing with” I need to reevaluate my own goals and purposes. Our oldest is about to be five and the simplest things make him come alive — imaginative play together, jumping on the trampoline together, sharing a sweet treat…together. The togetherness is key. He feels genuinely loved and secure when we spend both quality and quantity time together. For him, there’s no need for all the extravagance I want to include. He needs a present mom (see what I did there?!!) whose attention and focus is on him. That being said, I have a few ideas on how to create meaningful celebrations that don’t break the bank or cause stress, and that are unique, honoring, and fun for the birthday boy or girl.

First up, ask yourself what you value. When it comes to celebrations, what grabs your attention?
Know what you value and are great at doing and focus on that one thing. Your time and effort will be spent on something that you enjoy and that speaks to you.

– The party scene and decor
– The handmade or catered food and treats
– The personal touches and overall theme
– The party activities – games, bounce houses

For me, I love, like LOVE, paper goods and handmade cakes. My mom is superb at floral arrangements. My sister in law is amazing at signage and carrying the theme throughout the space. My brother usually has a super fun activity or focal point – bounce houses, water slides, or a kickball game.

Think about what would best excite the birthday person.

– Lots of guests, or an intimate few
– Loud games or a quiet movie
– Adventure and something new, or everyday favorite activities

We all have varied personalities, but I tend to spin my wheels planning what I would like instead of tweaking my ideas for the specific person I’m celebrating.

In terms of throwing a party – who are you trying to please, impress, and celebrate? When I spend more time planning with my son in mind, the party will look vastly different from my original thoughts. And, he will feel loved. I will feel more present, less consumed, and truly joyful. It is a party, after all.

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