Written by contributor Summer Robertson of House & Hold
I love birthdays. I love birthday weeks. I love to go all out & throw birthday morning parties, making my family feel extra special. But? I honestly don’t like to spend a lot of time (or money) and always seem to run last minute. A few years ago I had accumulated quite a stash of birthday decorations & supplies – some bought, but mostly handmade.
And it hit me: I never have to plan anything ever again! With all of the supplies on hand, I could assemble a Birthday Party Kit! And with some strategic planning, I could re-use decorations in different ways to make it unique for each birthday.
On the eve of a birthday, I pull out my kit, decide on a couple decorations. String it up & bam. Party time, ready for birthday morning. Maybe not less than 5 minutes…. but close. A complete list of what to include in your Birthday Kit is outlined below.
Pick 2 areas of your home that you will always decorate. My 2 areas naturally ended up being the mantle in the living room and the dining room. These will be the 2 areas that all of your decorations with “work” in, and will look knock-out fantstic every time.
Decide what will go in both areas. And stick to it. Then you will not have to think about how to decorate. Only make & buy decorations that will fit/work in the designated space.
My first area to decorate is the mantle in the living room. It’s the spot where I hang the “happy birthday” banner, a balloon chandelier (more on that later!) and add a bit of color (a bit of frill or crepe paper).
Next, I decorate the living room. I hang 2 buntings criss-crossing each other from the ceiling. I have accumulated quite a selection of buntings & fancy crepe paper over the years (and will share more on that later this month!). Regardless of the materials, I always make the buntings the exact same length so they fit in the space every time. I have installed hooks in the ceiling where I hang the buntings for easy installation. Using decorative washi tape would also be fun.
After the 2 main areas are decorated, I spend a few minutes on the goodies, setting up the dining table. I throw out a few party favors (keep a pack of treat bags on hand & trinkets from the Dollar Store for an instant sibling party favor), little washi tape flags for cupcake toppers (I serve cupcakes for breakfast! A simple 1 bowl cake recipe is good to have in your arsenal.), candles, straws and napkins. I generally do not go for themed birthdays. I do however, indulge and buy themed napkins or plates of a favorite character (not pictured). And don’t forget the confetti! A total mess, but loads of fun.
What to include in your Birthday Party Kit
(and most of it’s from the Dollar Store!)
- Balloons — I buy packs of these at the dollar store & empty into a large zippy bag.
- Streamers — From the dollar store. Cheap and lots of cool decorations to make beyond the basics.
- Tissue Paper — Use to make buntings and frill. My dollar store has the basic colors.. but other stores carry brilliant colors.
- Cotton Twine — I designate this roll to the Birthday Kit! Butcher Twine works well. I found this ball in the automotive section at the dollar store.
- Scissors, glue stick, thumbtacks & clear tape — Drop these in a zippy bag & designate for the kit.
- Reusable Birthday Banner — I love the black letters!
- Candles — From the dollar store as well, though every once in awhile I’ll buy the fancier ones at the market.
- Cupcake liners — Fancy or basic, it’s good to have a few set aside for birthdays.
- Party Favor bags & trinkets — Both can be found at the dollar store. Nothing overly fancy as the kids rip right into it.
- Straws, napkins & plates — Basic or of the themed variety. Kids always seem to appreciate their favorite character…!
- Toothpicks & Washi Tape — For craft night you can make a couple dozen cupcake topper flags & store then in your kit so you’re always prepared. This is a good tutorial.
- Confetti — Buy a few different colors and sizes. A little goes a long way and a single bag will last forever.
- Store everything in plastic zippy bags. You will be able to see what you have easily & everything will stay organized (Unlike the image above! That’s a styled mess – ha!)
- The goal is to reuse your decorations. As you take them down, take an extra moment to pack them up nicely.
- When decorating, focus on color rather than a theme. Decorating by color allows you to throw a party up in a matter of minutes instead of trying to create something tricky.
- Impress yourself with how clever, crafty and creative you are. Your family will be thrilled.
Our birthday tradition is a morning birthday party. Just us, everyone in their pajamas and totally cozy. The birthday boy wakes up, bursting with excitement over all of the fancy decorations, a pile of presents and birthday breakfast cupcakes waiting. Being able to execute the party part of our tradition in a matter of minutes with some stealthy planning makes the whole event enjoyable and I look forward to each celebrating my family.
What are your last minute birthday party tips?