stress-free celebration planning tips

It’s the night before your kiddo’s birthday…the cake is baked, treats are ready for school, the gifts are wrapped and everything’s a go for their special day.

But it’s late and you have only a few hours of sleep (and a big day of activity) ahead of you. You’ve once again done too much, spent too much and vow to yourself that you won’t be doing this again next year.

We’ve all been there so we’re sharing some stress-free celebration planning tips to keep the festivities fun AND your sanity (and bank account) in check.

1. reuse & repurpose

There’s no sense running around town purchasing new decorations for every celebration only to toss them out at the end of the party. With some clever repurposing techniques, you can use the same decorations again.

  • purchase staple decorations in a neutral color that is suitable for all sexes and ages in your household
  • add personal touches (such as a name or age) with less expensive items and one-time-use items like candles
  • keep all decorations together so you know where they are when you need them—see the next tip!

2. keep it together

How many times have you had to repurchase something because you couldn’t find it when needed, only to find it the next day?

  • set up a ‘birthday box’ to keep all balloons, banners, hats, candles, etc. together and accessible when needed
  • when purchasing gifts ahead of time, wrap them and designate a box just for gifts then check that item off your to-do list!

3. wrap it up!

It’s your son’s tenth birthday and all you have is ‘Happy 50th Anniversary’ and ‘Hello Kitty’ giftwrap in your closet. You seem to never have the right giftwrap (or enough of it) to wrap your gifts. The solution? Purchase two or three large rolls of plain colored giftwrap to have on hand at all times.

  • personalize plain colored paper with bows and ribbon
  • have the kids draw on the giftwrap to decorate it (grandparents love this!)
  • works for not only birthdays but also holidays and other celebrations
  • saves money—larger, plain rolls of wrap are typically less expensive than their printed counterparts
  • saves space—no more storing (or tossing) wrapping paper that is no longer age- or gender-appropriate

4. it’s okay to ‘cheat’

You had all the intentions in the world to make a cake from scratch and to personally bake and decorate 35 cookies for classroom treats but you ran out of time. It’s okay to cheat…we won’t tell!

  • purchase premade cupcakes then sprinkle them with jimmies in your kid’s favorite color
  • pick up a cake from your supermarket and adorn it with their favorite action figures or movie characters (use toys they already have and wash them well before ‘borrowing’ them for the decorations)
  • buy premade, plain cookies (or a roll of cookie dough to bake) and have the birthday boy or girl help decorate them

5. let someone else do the work

Let’s face it, we are all busy these days and there is no reason to stress yourself (and the rest of your family out) by trying to throw a birthday party when you just don’t have the time.

  • consider hosting the party at a favorite restaurant to take the stress off you so you can focus on the birthday boy or girl
  • have your other half take on some of the to-do list or enlist some of your older children to help wrap gifts, blow up balloons, etc.

6. gift purchased…check!

Have you ever not been able to get the gift you planned on giving or paying expedited shipping costs because you waited too long to purchase it? A little bit of planning helps to alleviate that stressful (and possibly expensive) dilemma.

  • start looking in advance and watch for sales
  • be sure to order well in advance to avoid paying premium shipping costs
  • consider shipping direct to an out-of-town recipient so you aren’t paying for shipping twice (most retailers offer giftwrap and a personalized note to include)
  • shop throughout the year and keep gifts together in a designated ‘gift’ box (get a jump start by wrapping it before storing it…just make sure to put a sticky note on it with what it is so you don’t have to open and rewrap it!)

Cheryl Says

Birthdays should be fun! Don’t let the stress of planning dampen the celebration.