An Impromptu (& Thrifty) Birthday Tea

Our eldest has had a big party every year for her birthday – even through two pregnancies and the year her sister came along – but now that we have three kids it’s simply not going to be possible to continue the tradition. You can’t throw one a party without the others getting one, so Hubby and I set to work months ago in order to lower her expectations.

We went round the houses thinking of other options. In the mix were Peppa Pig World, Legoland, a theatre show, going away for the weekend. Then it dawned on us that doing any of these things would:
– be more expensive than a party
– higher her expectations not lower them
– send the completely wrong message

Her birthday was on Friday, and on Tuesday evening we decided we’d let her invite her three besties over after school for a play date. All three parents accepted the following morning, and the excitement began. One of her friends couldn’t actually make it in the end, so it was three five year olds and our 2yo, but they had a ball.

We had a really nice morning and packed our new 5yo off to school as usual. Then time disappeared as it does when you’re entertaining a toddler who is refusing to nap, feeding a hungry baby and getting no help from hubby because he’s actually working from home and not just pretending to! Needless to say we didn’t go overboard with decorating the house – just put some bunting and balloons up, and had the Frozen soundtrack on when they got back, but they loved it.

For tea I made pizza bases and (tomato free) sauce, then chopped up various toppings so they could all create their own. I did something similar with cupcakes and various icing flavours and toppings for desert, along with strawberry or chocolate milkshakes which went down a storm. The two courses were interspersed with trampoline bouncing and mud pie making in the garden. Then it was time for birthday cake, who doesn’t like chocolate fudge cake? I didn’t do party bags, but gave our guests some leftover cupcakes to take home instead – in a brown paper bag with their names on – which again they loved!

The two girls were gone by 6.10, at which time a couple of neighbours’ kids were hovering by our garden and invited themselves over. It was great as they kept our two entertained while I cleaned the kitchen. They had a late night by their standards, but were asleep by 8pm and slept all night long. The true mark of a successful party!

The whole thing only cost around £10 in ingredients we didn’t already have, and took minimal time to set up but we still had a very happy five year old on our hands. Just goes to show once again, that the best things in life don’t have to be complicated or expensive.

What does your family do for birthdays?

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19 thoughts on “An Impromptu (& Thrifty) Birthday Tea

  1. We have been thinking the same thing, Isla was 2 in May and we just couldnt afford the whole hiring a hall, food and entertainment like we did with Noah for his first 2 birthdays. It would just be majorly expensive. We kept it at home and invited close friends and family over. It was lovely – your party idea was lovely too and intimate. I am glad you got a chance to clean up afterwards too! haha.
    Pizza looks great, tomato less too… who would have thought 🙂

  2. Oh wow you were brave! Last year we were meant to just have a few of the neighbours and it ended up being about fifty people in total! Thrifty with the invite list, love it 😉

  3. It’s all about the little one isn’t it. It sounds like you had a lot of fun. I noticed this year that my little boy didn’t need all the friends and certainly didn’t need the siblings. Next year I will be more thrifty, maybe not in what I spend but in who we invite which will be more cost effective. Popping over from #ShareWithMe

  4. Sounds like the perfect party! As you say it just goes to show that kids don’t need expensive and elaborate things to keep them happy 🙂 Thanks for joining in with #ThriftyThursday 🙂

  5. I think it’s so easy to give in to the need to give your child an amazing party because you feel they will be missing out otherwise.  I think you are right to put the brakes on and do the sensible thing.  Not that I did that with mine!  I did succumb to the pressure and looking back, I think, what a waste of money that was…

    Your party looks lovely.  There’s something about lots of coloured plastic bowls that really make it into a proper party, along with good friends.


  6. Happy Birthday! Looks amazing and kids will be happy no matter what as long as their is fun and family around them. The tea party was a great idea. Lovely post. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  7. It just goes to show that you don’t need a huge budget to have a marvellous time. It sounds like a great party, especially the Frozen soundtrack x #sharewithme

  8. Ah sounds lovely! I love the kids birthdays and our parties seem to be getting bigger and bigger every year! Now that we will soon have 4, we are also thinking about scaling down, and this sounds like just the way to do it 🙂
    x x

  9. Sometimes the best days really are those done on impulse, and great that it didn’t cost much. I think we sometimes forget that the simple things really can be the best! #shareware …and Happy Birthday to you daughter.

  10. That’s brilliant, it really does show you don’t have to spend much to make a birthday special. In some ways this was probably more special than a big party.

  11. Sounds perfect, lots of fun with making food themselves. After all how can it not be a fun time with trampoline pizza and cake!! Party bags….what a nightmare, cake is way better to take home!!! X

  12. Sounds like the party was a huge success. We often find that most of the time, less is more. It is important for our children not to expect huge parties and to appreciate the little things in life like choosing your own topping on your pizza, decorating your own cupcakes etc. You did a fab job there!

  13. Ah this is so true hon. I have to admit that I’ve already spent rather a lot of money planning EJ’s circus party but I’m into the DIY phase now! I think JJ will have a much cheaper and less meticulously planned party in September but as long as there is a bouncy castle with a slide I know he will be happy! (I owe him this much for his fifth as he didn’t get a party for his third or fourth birthdays poor love!). Looks like your little girl was very happy with her little celebration too! X

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