Gone are my glory days of major theme birthday party planning. I am no longer building full sized pirate ships out of refrigerator boxes or sewing doll sleeping bags for every guest. My kids are officially tweens, and our birthday party celebrations are much more subdued and simpler to plan. We typically send an e-mail to one or two friends a few days before the birthday and do something like swim at the neighborhood pool or go to a movie. No theme. No major prep. I am a little sad but also a little relieved.
One low prep option we tried this year is to take a friend to a blow-out hair bar to have hair styled and then home for a late afternoon tea. It is a perfect party for a small group, is easy to plan, and is a great option for girls ages 11+.
Book appointments at a BLO BAR like THIS ONE. It is a franchise and has locations in several cities. Even if you don’t have this specific brand near you, there are blow dry salons popping up all over. Pay a flat fee and clients choose from a menu of hair options. Appointments take about 45 minutes, and the group can usually sit in side by side seats and visit with each other. Following the hair styling, return to the birthday girl’s house for a tea or go to a nearby cupcake or ice cream store for a birthday snack.
For an afternoon tea, we like to serve THIS DILL DIP and veggies. Find shot glass sized plastic containers with a pedestal foot (they look like miniature trifle dishes) and put a dollop of dip at the bottom. Stack red and yellow pepper strips, celery sticks, and cucumber slices in the cups. This is a great way to prep the servings ahead of time. Make small, triangle tea sandwiches on squishy bread with the crusts cut off and offer a berry fruit salad with fresh mint cut in chiffonade and simple syrup drizzled over the top.
Serve individual sized cakes, so guests can serve themselves. We have a new cake shop near us called Nothing Bundt Cake. It is a franchise too, so I have seen locations in other cities. Try their bundtinis, which are the mini size and stack several bundtinis on a cake stand. Have one bundtlet size for candle-blowing-out and singing.
The Party Favor and Decorations
My local party store has a new line of paperware made by Meri Meri. It’s the Liberty line, and it has pretty floral patterns and other options that look like a lady’s tea. Create place cards to match by printing on cardstock. Set the place cards in the bristles of travel hairbrushes. Bed, Bath, and Beyond, CVS, and WalMart have many hairbrush choices.
If you need an idea for a group of 2-3 girls who are upper elementary or middle school aged, this is an option that works well. A similar idea would be to book appointments at a nail salon and have pedicures or manicures. Walk-in type salons like the blow out bar and nail shop do not usually book weeks in advance, so it is a party you can plan just a few days out if you have a small number.