Every year, we plan big birthday celebrations for both of our boys. It’s been my thing since they were born, and it brings me great joy to make these occasions unique and special. We’ve done everything from hosting snake shows in our back yard to taking groups to Medieval Times, iFly and Hurricane Harbor.
When the kids were younger, we used to include the whole grade so that no one would get their feelings hurt from being excluded. Now that they’re older, they’ve formed close-knit connections with terrific bunches of boys, which has made our celebrations much smaller. Lately, our party playbook involves dinner at an entertaining restaurant like Japanese Palace or Simply Fondue and a sleepover, or a weekend of water sports and fishing at the lake.
We were skiing in Utah over spring break when COVID-19 started to mushroom across the US. Like everyone, my first concerns and strongest prayers were for my family, friends, medical workers and all the hard-working people who keep our home – and our community – humming. But I did wonder about the plans for my soon-to-be 15 year old’s birthday party.
I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy for me to deal with all of the government recommended changes at first, but I know my children are watching my reactions right now more than ever, and it’s critical that I stay strong and keep up our family’s morale by maintaining our connections, our faith and yes, our fun.
I had to think outside the box (or in my case, inside our property) to craft an amazing celebration that he would forever remember. Luckily, my party planning skills started to come out like the little munchkins from their homes after the Wicked Witch of the East was killed by Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz.
After much thought (and some great suggestions from readers! Thank you!), I devised the perfect plan: A Birthday Party Car Parade! It hit all the feels: It was unique, it was fun, it involved his friends, family and even his teachers from elementary school. But most of all – everyone could participate while maintaining a safe six-feet distance!
Here’s how I did it:
I designed a quick digital invitation on PunchBowl.com. They have a section of online invitations specifically designed for virtual get-togethers! We sent it to our inner circle of family and friends and special teachers from school, including the lower school principal.
In the invitations, I made a series of outrageous – but hilarious – requests:
- Dress in a Halloween costume, a wig, face paint, crazy hair or whatever silly get-up you want.
- Decorate your car however you want. Simple or extravagant or not at all! It’s up to you.
- Make a sign and hold it up through your sunroof or tape it to your PASSENGER-SIDE doors.
Then, I gave our guests their marching orders: At noon, everyone would start driving down our street honking the car horns the whole way. Then, they were to pull into our driveway to wave at the birthday boy and get a delicious to-go treat!
I also reached out to Steve, the owner of Party Warehouse to see if he was doing no-contact balloon delivery, and sure enough, he was! I ordered a balloon column and 150 balloons. We floated 100 of the balloons on the ceiling of our front porch and tied 50 balloons to a few railings at the nearby country club parking lot for our guests to attach to their cars.
THE DELICIOUS TO-GO TREATS
Actually, the first phone call I made was to Karen Wade, owner of The Velvet Crumb. Her cookies are not only the yummiest cookies but by far the cutest. I have been thrilled with her work from several recent projects. There really isn’t anything she can’t do, IMO. So naturally, in theme with the times, I had her design toilet paper rolls and virus cookies. Hopefully, there will be a ray of light after this whole mess is over. Plus, she provided a no-contact delivery right to our door!
And finally, a party is not a party without Mama’s Pizza. I called Jordan, the owner (and my middle school boyfriend for 2.5 seconds) to see if his team could no-contact deliver 35 boxes of large cheese and pepperoni pizzas for our son’s surprise birthday car parade. Sure enough, he personally showed up with the stacks of cheesy gooey pies!
THE BIG DAY!
I am proud to say my unorthodox party plan played out to perfection. With my younger son leading the way in his go-cart wearing rubber gloves and a mask, the parade began!
We handed every car a whole box of pizza and three cookies. In return, we were pegged with beads, firecrackers, confetti eggs and more.
I haven’t seen our oldest son smile this big in a long time.
Everyone put so much effort into decorating their cars and really getting into the birthday spirit. They yelled and honked and laughed and cheered.
Let’s face it: Kids are dealing with so many disappointments right now, from canceled sports tournaments and rescheduled SATs to the fact that they can’t hang with their friends like usual. With the regular routine of school out the window, it was a warm welcome to see some of the amazing teachers who help guide our children on a daily basis to be the best humans they can be! Teachers deserve big props, and it was awesome to see their faces in person. (Sad we didn’t get a picture of the lower school principal, but she was there, wig on and all!)
I feel so blessed that on this day, for this milestone, we were able to make a memory for my son that was 100 percent about hope and happiness, for us and others!
Was this birthday over-the-top? Maybe, but I was so happy to be able to help so many local businesses. What we all will remember most is how many people in our community came out to make sure my son felt love on his birthday.
To all the peeps who are celebrating special occasions and big milestones during these trying times, remember that joy is possible, and the easiest way to create it is by coming together.
And speaking of JOY, I know this quarantine cray has been a bit daunting, so I’m giving away a $50 gift certificate to Mama’s Pizza and one dozen cookies from The Velvet Crumb! Hopefully, these goodies will help you look forward to the good times ahead.
Drawing the winner on Wednesday, April 22nd at NOON! Be sure to read the TERMS and CONDITIONS in the Rafflecopter link below. Good Luck!