My eldest daughter celebrated her birthday recently. It went fantastically well and my house still has some of the decor up.
We used the opportunity to help Sanura learn about stretching money by making and following a budget prior to the day(s) of the celebration. (This is something we do every year but this year Sanura was much more active in choosing what she wanted). Kevin and I gave her a total dollar amount that she had and let her know it was for everything she wanted to do for her birthday including her gifts from myself and her father. As a child, she of course had many grandiose ideas, so we wrote them down and figured out the cost of each thing and added them up so she could see how out of budget her ideas took her, and then discussed how we could still do most of what she wanted with some tweaks.
Her master plan was to invite her entire class, plus a few close friends, to a Minecraft-themed party at someplace that held events. Depending on which place she chose it would take her well outside of her budget. For a gift, she really wanted her own tower garden, plus toys and make-up and other things that set a nearly seven-year-old’s heart to joy. (Regarding the tower we told her that if she could save up half the cost of the tower we would pay the other half for her. )There were to be decorations and cake and goody-bags and pizza and so on and so forth.
The first thing we changed was her location and amount of people she was inviting. Instead of paying for a location, we discussed having the party at a park or at home. As strangers could randomly join us at a park, Sanura decided to bring it to our home. Next, we brought the list down from 34 people to 7, there was no way we could have everyone plus their parents and possibly a few siblings at our house at such a large number. Instead of paper invites, we sent text messages to the parents of those invited. As there were fewer people coming we were able to add more to the good bag cost.
We talked about making the decor but decided to purchase a Minecraft party pack online instead. It contained a banner, cake toppers/decorations, balloons, and bracelets. We went to a local dollar store to get themed plates, cups, and cutlery. We lucked out on one of our shopping trips and found goody bags that looked like chests and a plastic table cloth that looked like blocks of grass. Inside the gift bags, we used the bracelets that came with the decorations, bought some playdough, and got some bulk candy.
Sanura originally wanted to go to a bakery to get both a cake and cupcakes. We tend to eat gluten-free (for multiple health reasons) and getting her cakes at a bakery was going to be expensive. After seeing how much of her budget the cake would eat up she decided we would make the cakes instead. We made an eight inch round for the day of her birthday, using white and red icing to create a minecraft cake. We were happy with the brownie consistency of the cake and used the same mixture to make cupcakes for her party, which we decorated to look like grass blocks. Sanura loved that we were able to sneak some veggies into the cake, no one believed her when she told them.
The day of her actual birthday we opened gifts and cards from family, ordered pizza and had the round cake. Sanura used the remaining balance of her birthday money to choose out a small lego set and a doll for gifts from Kevin and I. Zen had gotten her a book set and a stuffy for her owl collection. Over all it was a low-key evening.
The day of Sanura’s party was great. She had spent the evening with her best friend at a hotel the evening before (to celebrate her friend’s birthday) so we had the entire morning to set up decoration and prep the snacks for when guests arrived. All of the guests that Sanura invited came to the party so we had a full house for a whirl wind two hour span. They ate snacks, played games, searched for bracelet, played with playdough and just overall had a good time.