I did a little research before organising my son's first birthday party and I must say I'm really surprised at the level of pressure out there to perform when organising this event, when personally I find that very unnecessary!
Themes? Seriously? You don't need that. For goodness sake, talk about stressing yourself out when you don't need to! I just strung up a couple of balloons with some recycled ribbon! Prettily printed invitations sent in the snail mail? Come on! Just email your friends, easy! Thankyou bags? Maaaybbeeee, if you really want to, but doesn't that make it all a bit too formal? I'd rather have a relaxed affair where the mums and babies can have a good time. Well, I hope my friends had a good time at our party. We just had it at the pool area of my gated commuity, where there was plenty of space. I could have invited more people, several did say they wanted to come. But I was worried about the weather forecast which predicted rain, then we would have to all cram into my small house, which would have been ok, but not as nice. Luckily, it didn't rain. But I do think it's nicer to have smaller gatherings, then I can relax too, and get to chat to everybody. If I had everyone over on the same day, it would have been far too rushed and hectic, and I would have worried about neglecting some of my guests. It was far nicer, for example, to have my brother and family visit on the previous Sunday so we could hang out as a family without a bunch of people they didn't know.
One dilemma I did have was the question of gifts. If you read my blog, you might know I'm not really keen on our tradition of gift giving. But I don't want to be a kill joy either, nor do I want to offend my friends and family. So I did some research on this topic and discovered in some forums, that some people have quite a passionate opinion on this. I would have preferred to have said in the email 'please, don't bring gifts' but in my experience, that never works and some people always bring gifts anyway, no matter what you say. I found some people find it really sad and it takes the fun out of it for them. I also read that it was polite etiquette not to mention gifts at all, that to say 'no gifts please' implies that people should bring gifts, which some people think is rude!
My husband was home from work on holidays, so we decided we would put some nice nibblies on for the grown ups, and I decided not to mention gifts at all. That way, if people wanted to bring gifts, it was up to them if they wanted to, and at least we put on some food as a thankyou. I do think that if people bring gifts, they shouldn't have to bring food as well. It's not that hard to put on a bit of food. My husband baked some pesto and sweet chilli scrolls, marinated chicken wings and rosewater biscuits which were very popular. I made up a fruit platter and some dips with crackers. To further reduce stress, I tried to open gifts as guests arrived. This way there would not be a big parade of gifts everyone has to sit and watch, which I don't like. Unfortunately, I didn't quite manage it as three mums arrived at the same time when we were busy, so we opened their gifts after we did the cake ritual.
The fun thing is, I now have presents to make for 5 more babies as they all turn one soon, because Thomas was the eldest in our mothers group!