Any parent reading this post will know how difficult it is to organise a kid’s birthday party. And it’s exponentially worse when it’s a last-minute kid’s birthday party! I found myself in this unenviable situation a couple of weeks ago, so I can sympathise. My son turned 7 on February 20. Sometime in January this year, I started asking him if he would like me to organise a party for his friends. As the month of February in Delhi is the best time to host a party outdoors, I shared many potential ideas for what we could do. However, my shy boy steadfastly refused to have a birthday party for his friends, settling instead for a small tea party for family. Then, exactly a month later on March 20, he suddenly decided he wanted a big party where he could invite every child in his class! I could have (and probably should have!) said no, but I just didn’t have the heart to (single child problems?!). Since it was a very belated birthday, we wanted to organise it quickly, and I’m proud to say that we managed to put it all together in just six days!
Now that I feel like an expert at this, here are my top 5 tips for planning a last-minute fuss-free kid’s birthday party:
MAKE A LIST OF EVERYTHING YOU NEED
This one is a pretty basic tip and should be the starting point for organising any event. Specifically in the case of a last-minute kid’s birthday party, however, it will help you put everything down in one place, so you can prioritise what’s important and delegate duties. A rough list would look something like:
- Guest List
- Invitation card
- Food / Drink
- Games / Entertainment / Music
- Return Presents / Prizes for games / Pinata
- Food for nannies
- Accessibility to restrooms / parking
- Outfit for your child
MS Excel is my go-to platform for making all lists, though I do extensively use the Notes app on my phone too.
OUTSOURCE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN
If you have the resources to spend a little extra, I highly recommend outsourcing as much of the responsibility as you can. Now don’t get me wrong. I love being the DIY hands-on party mom too. For my son’s actual birthday party at home with family, my husband and I blew up the balloons and decorated everything ourselves. I’m not much of a cook, but if I was, I would’ve loved to make the cake too!
However, for a large guest list, I just didn’t have it in me to do it all by myself. Fortunately, we decided to outsource the birthday party to Tumble House (TH), a children’s soft play area located in the heart of Delhi. They took care of 75% of the things on my list. All we had to do was choose a theme, make the guest list, invite people, order the cake, buy the return presents, and a set of new clothes for my son. And pay the massive bill to TH, of course 😀
I was so impressed with TH. I literally turned up an hour before the demarcated time of the event to drop off the cake and return gifts and was amazed to see how they had transformed the space to follow my son’s preferred theme which was based on the Netflix TV series ‘Grizzy and the Lemmings’. Their food was catered by Kwality Catering, a trusted name for serving high quality and delicious food. And even the photographer was theirs (a link to the photos as well as a pen drive was given to us when we left the party that evening).
DEMARCATE A DAY TO RUN PARTY ERRANDS
As mentioned above, I had only six days to put this party together, which is a really short period of time for a working mom who runs on a haphazard freelancer’s schedule (I had two major deadlines due the day before the birthday party, but that’s a story for another time!). So, I put aside a day to run all my birthday-party related errands and informed everyone that I wouldn’t be working that day. This included following up with invitees (politely, of course!) to send in confirmations; buying return presents and other gifts and having them wrapped and transported home; ordering the cake; and shopping for a new outfit for my son to wear on his big day.
RELY ON YOUR TRUSTED VENDORS
A few years ago (right before Covid in fact), we had hosted a big party for my son’s fourth birthday. We did it at our local community’s club’s lawns. They had recommended their vendors for the job, including a person for the bouncy castle, decoration, magic show, food, temporary tattoos and games. My first instinct when my son asked for a last-minute birthday party, therefore, was to return to the club and repeat the same party with a few tweaks. The kids had loved the last one, and so had their parents because it was outdoors, and we could serve alcohol to the grown-ups! Unfortunately, this time around, the venue was not available. That’s when TH came to our rescue, and have now become our trusted vendor for the future.
For the cake, however, I did not have to look far. My tried and tested favourite, Defence Bakery has always been my go-to for special occasion cakes. They never disappoint even when it comes to themed cakes, and they did a fabulous job with the ‘Grizzy and the Lemmings’ theme too.
The bottom line is, when you find yourselves in a high-pressure situation like organising a last-minute kid’s birthday party, don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Choose what you know and love.
BE SURE NOT TO STRESS TOO MUCH
For someone who is prone to taking on tremendous tension at the smallest of things, getting a party together in six days is no mean feat. I won’t lie, I was stressed, but I’d also promised myself that I would enjoy myself as much as I possibly could. So, after TH had been handed over most of the responsibility and varying loose ends had been tied, I requested for an extension on one of my two big deadlines. That immediately helped me calm down. Then something interesting happened.
The morning of the party, I woke up with a crick in my neck. As someone who has struggled with a painful slipped disc / nerve impingement situation in the past, I’m quick to address niggling pains in that area before they get worse. So, despite the numerous things that had to be done that day, I made time to go for acupuncture (which was how I’d treated my slipped disc a few years ago). This acupuncture session did wonders for me – I got a much-needed nap, the pain vanished, and most importantly, it calmed my nerves. Hence, the party went off smoothly without me feeling stressed, nervous and yelling at people 😀
You don’t have to go in for acupuncture, but you should certainly recognise the signs of stress and do something that calms you down (go for a walk, listen to music, meditate, dance, or whatever else). A calm mind will ensure calm proceedings too.
So, these are my 5 tips for planning a last-minute fuss-free kid’s birthday party. Do you have anything to add to these? Do share your thoughts in the comments below, so others can benefit from our collective wisdom.
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