It’s Xan’s turn for a birthday party this year. Knowing her favourite theme from early on, I started collecting relevant party stuff since early this year. Whenever I saw inexpensive Peppa Pig-related decor or party items with coordinating colours, I would get them. I saved quite a lot by getting the giant foil balloons from Amazon; they cost triple here! By planning early, I didn’t feel the pinch when the party finally took place.
It may looked as if we spent a lot on this party but trust me, it was a budget-friendly one. Because of advance planning and lots of DIY, we managed to save quite a bit. Let’s just say the party cost lesser than having it at a soft play area. I’m not a fan of how commercialised children’s parties have become too – loud music, overexcited children overloaded with sugar, lack of personalisation for the birthday child and her guests, and ka-ching for every little thing.
We didn’t want E to feel left out hence we roped him in to be my Helper #1. He assited with deciding the games, packing the party bags and writing the invitations to Xan’s guests.
For venue, we checked out 3 public parks and settled on Al Sufouh Park for its location and practicality. We liked that it was small and had two playgrounds close to each other for us to monitor the children easily. Best of all, it was free for public use.
Because of limited budget and also my priority in keeping the party small and nice, we could only invite the girls from her class. Nine guests turned up on that day. We engaged the services of Polkadot Party Hire for the rental of small tables and chairs as well as some decor props and helium balloons inflation. I wasn’t stressed out at the beginning until they arrived late by half an hour. Other than this lack of punctuality, they were actually great and reasonably priced. They helped us to set up the party.
The kids ran free in the playground while waiting for the party to begin. We also kept them occupy with these activities:
The thrifty side of me didn’t want to spend a fortune on a cake, so we ordered a simple pink cake from my all-time favourite bakery Gateaux and decorated it with Xan’s existing Peppa Pig mini figures. They kind of sank into the cake in the end (instead of standing) but let’s just close an eye because all the grown-ups commented how yummy the cake was. They thought I baked it LOL! For the first time (in our history), there was no leftover of the birthday cake!
For games, I was initially considering hiring a party entertainer but gosh, the charges they quoted me were ridiculous and beyond acceptable. Who would actually pay AED500 for ONE game? So we brainstormed with E and my ever-reliable Husband took charge. There were very simple, no-brainer games but the kids had a blast.
From my observation in previous parties, many children left feeling disappointed when they didn’t win anything in party games. We decided to make everyone a winner. As long as they participated, they would walk away with a small prize. It didn’t cost us much too – I went to Day to Day Mart to get these prizes. They ranged from hair clips and crayons to pencils and bouncy balls. Children are simple and easy to please!
For food, we did self-catering and DIY-ed everything. Because the party was held at 4pm, we served snacks such as fish fingers, spring rolls, sausages, fries, pizza and vegetable sticks with humous. For sweets, we prepared fruit skewers, chocolate pretzel with M&Ms, fruit tarts, popcorn and the strawberry sponge cake. I made lemonade for drinks and got a bottle of apple juice for the children.
Needless to say, Xan was really happy that day. When asked which part of the party she liked best, she said: “The pink cake! And playing with all my friends”