3rd Birthday Celebration: Pandemic Style & Inexpensive
This year, I had been dreading thinking about Celine’s 3rd birthday, for many reasons. One, because I am in complete awe at how quickly the years are going by and how much she has grown in so little time. Secondly, and most especially, because we are still living through a global pandemic. Every time someone asked me about what I was planning to do for Celine’s birthday, I would cringe at the idea of any type of festivity. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, she had been anxiously anticipating her birthday.
Nearly every day at least twice a day, in the weeks leading up to her birthday, she would ask me "Mommy is it my birthday today?". I knew I would later regret it if I didn't try my best to make her birthday as special as I could, in the mist of the many conflicting circumstances I had to take into consideration.
My first idea, was to do a tea party at home for her with just two cousins but, then I realized that doing something at home may tempt me to want to invite others. Even if it was only immediate family, that would mean having over 20 persons in our home. I decided to give Celine the opportunity to choose what she preferred to do for her birthday. I knew she had been wanting to return to the farm ever since we visited back in August (honestly, I did too). I told her she could have a tea party in the back yard with just 2 friends or we could all go to the farm. Of course, she chose to go to the farm. I decided to invite more of her friends to meet us at the farm.
Here were all the protocols I planned to take in order to comply with the current pandemic circumstances:
1) All guests met us at the designated farm location.
2) I did not make any prior reservations of a party room or anything of that nature.
*My little sister did an awesome job at even creating an itinerary for the day.
3) On the invites, I made sure to advise guests to please wear a mask, to bring their own hand sanitizer, and that there would be no formal gathering for eating or cake at the farm.
4) I ordered custom made masks for both the child guests and adults from a great shop I found on Etsy.
5) I pre-packed snack bags for the children to hand out at the farm.
6) I baked delicious gluten free pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pre-packed them individually for the adults and children. Click here for the full cupcake recipe. These I handed out at the end of the day along with the goodie bags for the children.
THE GOODIE BAGS
All of the items in the goodie bags for the children were purchased from Dollar Tree. Even the brown bags and the ribbons themselves I purchased from there.
Each goodie bag included:
-a small plastic bag with about 7 to 8 pieces of candy
-an arts & crafts Fall painting activity
-2 small boxes of Halloween themed stickers
All the children also received an extra smaller brown goodie bag with a cupcake for themselves as well.
The Official Birthday
Celine's actual birthday ended up conveniently falling on Colombus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day, so we were both off from work and school. We used the opportunity to get her a cake and invited only immediate family members such as her godparents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles to our home for pictures and cake. Of course, everyone was required to wear a mask while inside our home and I made sure to hand out one to those who did not have. The windows were all cracked open as well as our air purifiers were on the entire time. We had a finger foods platter with cheese and crackers only. In total we had about 12-13 people in our home.
Although everything turned out well for the most part, there were a lot of things that did not go as I thought they would for many different reasons.
1) I was really naive to think that just 2 weekends before Halloween (and during a pandemic that has caused more outings to be outdoors), that the farm would not be overcrowded with other guests. My first experience at that farm had been back towards the end of the Summer, late in August and during a weekday. There was barely anyone there and we had the place almost entirely to ourselves. This time around was completely different. The place was so overcrowded, I was anxious the entire time and it caused for most of the activities we planned to do to be skipped entirely.
2) There was so much traffic driving to the farm that not only were we late but a majority of our guests arrived late as well. Hence, the itinerary, was definitely a reach and ended up being discarded.
1) We ended up spending under $600 for both the farm birthday celebration and the actual official birthday celebration at home.
2) Celine got to spend time with friends and family of her similar age group whom she missed being with.
3) Mess free, stress free, and not much pre-planning or preparation required.
4) As soon as we got into the car to leave the farm, the first thing Celine said to us was "I had fun!" and she repeated this over the entire rest of her birthday weekend until she went back to school that Tuesday.
I am so glad that I decided to take the time to make Celine's 3rd birthday as special as it could be under the circumstances that we are living with. This is the first year that I noticed how much she really understood what it meant for it to be her birthday and she had been anxiously anticipating it for so long. At the end of all the celebrations, I could really tell she enjoyed it. Since the pandemic, she hadn't really been around children her age except for when she's school. I know that made a huge deal for her to be around friends again. Watching her smiles, her joy, and happiness just overfilled my heart with satisfaction...
...Sew This is Life!