Delight or Disaster? Planning Birthday Parties During the Holidays

It seems like anytime you have a birthday during the holidays, things can be stressful. Can’t we do both?? How many of you ladies have holiday babies?? Can you see my hand waving? Can you see me jumping up and down? My boy celebrates his birthday the week before Christmas. I wanted him to always feel that he could celebrate both his birthday and Christmas without having them smashed together. No Christmas wrapping paper for his birthday gifts. Nope. That would be unacceptable at our house. It’s important and I want to make sure he knows it. My birthday is the same week as Valentine’s Day. My parents always made it a point to celebrate my birthday and Valentine’s Day separately and I appreciated it. I’m that Momma now and I made a vow to do the same for my little ones. It’s all about effort. For my family, getting together and remembering good times is super important. 

As a young mother shopping for a party, a lady saw me and gave me some of the best advice I could’ve ever heard. She saw all my goodies and she said, “Whatever you do, whatever your budget, make sure you always have enough to hire a photographer or have someone take photographs for memories.” She said, “one day, your kids will want to see you in the picture beside them instead of always behind the camera. They’ll want to remember how you looked. They will want to see you…” Truer words have never been spoken. Without my Daddy here now, the photographs I have of him from Christmases, birthdays, events, games, just day to day life…they’re all so special. I’m grateful, and she was right. I make a point to always have someone document so I can enjoy the day and also have great memories to look back on and smile.

Gaming Birthday Party - Happy Birthday.

Every year since I’ve had my babies, I’ve planned a big event and we have a blast. I will be sharing all of our fun times throughout the blog in the upcoming year. I love doing it! I’m a low key event planner. I love parties, decorating and making events memorable. It’s a tradition and I intend on passing it down to my kids. We all have fun and I want them to LOVE their birthday! It’s a great time and they should want to celebrate it. So many of my friends hate their birthdays. They don’t enjoy getting older or celebrating. My thoughts are…hey, you could be dead (insert shrugging emoji) It’s tight but it’s right. We as women, especially, need to learn to embrace age, birthdays, gaining wisdom with experiences (and experiences only come with age), most importantly, be thankful for one more day and one more year. 

Party Time

Normally I start planning these epic adventures at least 6 months ahead of time. I generally talk to the kids and we come up with the fun stuff they want to do for their birthday. After we get that figured out, I go to work! This year was different. I didn’t plan to have a party at all. It was just a lot to handle; for me. That was the kicker, it was a lot to handle for me, but my little one shouldn’t have to go without because of it. So, in true Mommy superhero form, I sucked it up and we started planning a party. I had a few weeks to make magic happen, so I got on it. Parties during the holidays CAN BE DONE!

Game On Invites by Eddy Fung of the Etsy shop, Paper Talk Studio. Portrait by Christy Semmont Photography and Sonic portrait by my husband, James Colwell.

Game On Invites by Eddy Fung of the Etsy shop, Paper Talk Studio. Portrait by Christy Semmont Photography and Sonic portrait by my husband, James Colwell.

The theme was “Gaming” mixed in with nods to the most recent Bruno Mars tour, hence the Roman numerals (the boy loves him), Sonic the Hedgehog, PS4 and all other things gaming. It was honestly easy. First came the plan, I went through viable options on how to make this all possible, factoring in availability at such short notice. Games 2U, a mobile gaming truck, was the answer to my prayers and they had everything that we needed. There were video games, laser tag and an obstacle course, two attendants, all outside (YES!) and everything was perfect.

Etsy and Staples were lifesavers for digital downloads and printing needs. All of the invitations, the “Thank You” cards, goodie bag contents and banners were from various Etsy shops. Eddy Fung of Paper Talk Studio was incredible. His simplistic designs of the classic NES controller was perfect for what I needed. I used lots of my son’s toys and gaming equipment for other props and decorations.

I called my favorite baker, Adrienne at Adrienne and Company and we got the party started. The weather was gorgeous, the kids had a ball and everything was great. Paula and Marty from a local print shop brought my tee shirt design to life (that had his birthdate in Roman numerals to go along with a Bruno type connection) and I had a gaming hat personalized with his initials and the Roman numeral for “10” (more Bruno) . It was epic. These are just some of the images caught by my friend Diana of Eyes of the Heart. We pulled it together, the boy was happy, we lived to see another year and God is still so good. 

Who are we?

We, as a family, are going on our second year without my Daddy being here. My son was one of the greatest loves of his life. It devastated me last year because he wasn’t here to see the “Big 10” for our little man. Ten is a huge birthday for little ones. It’s like a rite of passage and the idea of Daddy being gone, Thanksgiving without him, a huge birthday and then Christmas…it was overwhelming to say the least. 

It was so difficult and there were times that I thought God was gone, y’all..for real. Have you ever stopped to wonder who am I that God listens to me? Death can pull that out of you. But let me show you how good God is. Let me show you how much God loves us. Last year, there was a time after Thanksgiving that I began to weep, I mean WEEP about the fact that my Daddy was no longer here with us. I was devastated that he wasn’t going to be here to see my first baby turn 10. It was hard. Then God reminded me of a conversation that I had with my Daddy during a visit. He came in, like normal, sat down and he said, “Boy, I had a dream about you and your sister. Ya’ll were all grown up and you were a good lookin’ man and your sister was pretty. You had a family…”

That memory took my breath away. You see, God knows our hearts, He knows what we want and I believe He longs to see us smile; cause that brings Him glory. God knows the end at the beginning. He knew that my little man would turn 10 and his Pop Pop wouldn’t be here. He knew that my Daddy loved my babies and that he wanted to see them grow up. God knew that I wanted more than anything to have Daddy here to see it. So God gave us all the desires of our hearts. God heard our prayers, He saw my Daddy and knew how much he loved Him and us. God thought so much of us that He granted the dream, the conversation and the reminder. That’s who I serve. He’s awesome like that.  

Psalm 37:4 

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

I believe this scripture and I’m a witness that it’s real. God loves us and He shows us countless times. I can’t say thank you enough for God’s love. I would be L.O.S.T. without it. 

Gaming Birthday Party - Happy Birthday

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane! I’m currently in the middle of planning this year’s party now. Don’t let the holiday season and birthday party planning intimidate you. It is possible to do both and have a great time. Trust me, focus on the important things in life and it’s always a delight; and like the Word says, when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. For me, one of those desires is joy and He always comes through.

Happy Holidays!