With two birthdays at our house within a week, the pressure to make each one special has been a challenge, especially when dealing with two completely different age groups. But, I think again, I was able to pull yet another rabbit out of the hat this year.
It never fails that as I'm going through the process, I think of several things I would've done differently if I'd only thought of it earlier. These are a few passing thoughts I'm going to try for next year:
1) Make cloth napkins with "Happy Birthday" embroidered on them.
I came to realize this would be a good addition to our party decorations. We use cloth napkins daily and never keep disposable ones on hand. This year I forgot to buy some for my son's party and had to point the boys to paper towels instead. Our daily cloth one's probably would've been fine, but somehow I always lean towards "safe" when it comes to entertaining wows. Mind you, our daily napkins are fine, but I think making some special ones would be better.
Tip: I buy really nice tablecloths on clearance for really cheap - the larger the better. I then cut them up into napkin size, serge the edges and voila! new napkins on the cheap. Instead of embroidering the napkins, I could use a rubber stamp with fabric paint to decorate them too. hmmm...
2) Make a birthday tablecloth.
I think I may do this too, again using something inexpensive, but resists staining easily. This will also reduce some of the need for additional decorations as it does make quite a statement at a party. Embroidering, stamping or whatever I am inspired to do to make it special/gender neutral!
3) Plates and cups?
I switched to plain white Corelle brand dishes long ago for daily use. I like these because you can add them to any holiday and they work. Clear plates have the same value. I'm absolutely comfortable using these for any family member.
I've wrestled over the cup issue. No glass because late night sleepovers lead to broken glasses at some point. I think my best option is reusable plastic cups in a wide range of colors. At least it will be easier to tell glasses apart when used.
I'm sure there are more reusable decoration ideas out there, but for now, this is a start. I just wish I'd thought of this years ago. With teenage children, my years of sleepovers and parties are drawing short, but hey maybe this could spark other holiday ideas? I'm thinking 4th of July napkins, Easter, Christmas, Valentine's day etc. This would sure take some of the pressure off each year as we prepare for each holiday and make it special.
Reducing the waste is where being green and frugal intersect. It's a great marriage.