A Child’s Party To Remember
When we were growing up, all my sister and I ever wanted, was to go to Disneyland for our birthdays. There was something quite magical about the promise of high-fiving Mickey Mouse or holding court with Donald Duck. For us it was less about the amusements and more about meeting our beloved friends in person. In later years, my sister was lucky enough to fulfil that childhood dream. At some point after I turned eight, I swapped my dream birthday to dining under the Eiffel Tower, which was finally delivered to me on my fortieth.
Over the years I’ve helped raise six step-kids and every one of them had completely different ideas when it came to child’s party requests. For the boys, tenpin bowling was always high on the list, as was mini-golf (progressing to golf as they grew tall enough to swing a club). So, too, were theme park requests and Go Karting. A friend of mine said he dreamed of spinning around the track in a V8 Supercar, while all my brother wanted to do was “boy stuff”, like adventuring across the saltpans on the other side of our back gate.
The girls in our family always rated shopping and/or movies and/or food as their number one pick. However, another friend recently mused how she begged for pony rides as a kid, possibly resulting from watching too many American movies.
A quick survey among Facebook friends resulted in a huge varied response, from superhero themed parties, to face-painting fairy outings. It seems boys love action, girls love dress-ups and glitter and most other suggestions were variations of these themes. Plus cake. Plus presents. Of course.
While it’s true every child has their own fantasy birthday party they’d long to live out (walking onto the MCG, AFL grand final day, was my father’s) a common thread runs through all: “Can I have all of my friends there?” “Who’s coming from the family?”
I’ve come to the conclusion that if kids only played chasey in the backyard and ate cake, they’d still be happy. I also realise, in a kids logical mind, the more people invited the more presents delivered – that’s a pretty easy equation to work out.
However, even when present-giving tends to slow after kids reach a certain age, the requests to share birthdays with family and friends doesn’t. And that’s an amazing and beautiful thing. My grown-up nephews remarked the other day their favourite birthdays still to date, are those which involve family – over a feast, or simply cake and coffee – in order to laugh, swap stories, talk about favourite movies, have a sing-a-long and maybe pull out the Scalextric Cars, or a basketball, at the end of the day.
So here’s my point, ask your child what birthday they remember most and odds on they’ll remind you of the one where “a funny thing” happened, which they shared with mates and family, while stuffing their faces with good food.
If you can host a child’s party which has those elements: fun, food, friends and family, ultimately, you’ll wind up with the most memorable party of all.