Taking the Worry out of Planning for a Birthday...
My friends think that I am crazy when I say in June that I have all of the supplies needed for my daughter's end of December birthday party. But, I am a planner and organizer and I have always been and I am moreso now that I am a mom. What I do is just browse, not with a mission in mind per se, in a store or 2 that I frequent in the party or card deparment. Sometimes things are on sale and sometimes they are not. Some of the time I do not like the themes that are on sale, so I don't buy just because it is on sale-I am not one of those types. But, when it comes to parties I enjoy sales because...venues cost enough. Why spend the money on accessories?
Anyway, for instance I was at my favorite grocery store in our area called Wegman's and I was looking in the card section and spied all of this birthday party merchandise for like 47 and 69 and 99 cents. Then to my surprise I saw Strawberry Shortcake items. I don't know about your kids, but my daughter likes a plethora of characters. She loves Cars, she adores Shrek, Holly Hobby is her favorite, but she is crazy about princesses. So, I just pick for her. A lot of parents can't believe that "she lets me do that." First off, I am the parent, so she does not let me do anything, but that is for another topic! HAHA! I know that she enjoys Strawberry Shortcake because she has some of my old toys and more modern Strawberry Shortcake things as well. She was actually excited when she saw me loading the cart with all of the items. I then told her that she could use them for her 4th or 5th party it was up to her. She said 4th.
Long story incredibly short: I got a birthday banner, thank you notes, invitations, a tablecloth, 3 pks of 8 plates, 3 pks of napkins, 2 pks of blowouts, cups,1 pk of party favors(I buy so many party favors so they don't have to be theme oriented). I spent 10 dollars! All that I need to add is the cutlery! If more people come than the requisite 8 that I planned on, then I can just buy solid pink items to blend with the others. We had not decided on a theme, so this was a nice surprise. A few weeks prior to that, I saw Angelina Ballerina ballet bags for 1 dollar in the dollar section of Target and I snatched 8 of those up. I also saw some really cute foam letters there and grabbed the ones of friends that I knew would be there because they are close family friends, these letters could be used as a prop in the children's rooms because they are their initials. About 3 months before, I saw these adorable clear plastic with turqoise and fuschia swirls, Chinese takeout gift boxes for a dollar a piece. They are wide enough to use as favor boxes and I can stuff the little ballet bags in them and probably 2 more favors.
Since I did not know the theme of my daughter's party originally, what I am going to do is put my daughter's favorite things in the favor box. One of the things will be the ballet bag, and one will be the initial for those I got them for, Strawberry shortcake favor for the other ones, and somewhere I know that I will find the piece de resistance when I least expect it to finish the box off. But the key to it is, not to look for it, but for it to find me. That is what makes all of this fun. I am normally not a bargain shopper, but party stuff tends to be marked down as character's go in and out of fashion, so why not? Basic recommendation for party favors. This is the 4th time I have relied on them, Target 1.00/2.50 section. I always get so many compliments on the favors and people think that I spend so much on the favors because they are not the typical cookie cutter favors that come as part of a set. The Target stuff always looks so much nicer than other favors, and you will be surprised that a character that you are planning on using, or a theme will pop up there and it is like "Eureka!"
Good luck and happy hunting!
I know that I am responding late, way late on your comments. But thanks. I am still in the business of planning early for parties. I will have to write a revised or more up to date one. I appreciate your compliments! Dana
You aren't the only crazy planner out there! It's January and I'm worried that I haven't yet booked April b-day party locations for my twins. But I'm almost ready to make a decision based on my fact finding - yet another spreadsheet comparing the same aspects for each location. Price comes into play but only when you factor in the "extras" each provides. Thanks for your article - reminded me to start looking for the paper goods and goodie bag items - Target is definitely a great place to get low cost goodies.
I REALLY enjoyed this article! It was really helpful, smart and funny - all at the same time. Great job and you should post this on a birthday site, as your feedback is SO helpful!