Birthday Parties: An Easy Tea Party

petit four from Sweet Melissa


Birthday season is upon us and, this year, we opted out of the big party thing. Jasper and Magnolia‘s birthdays are eight days apart, and we usually wind up doing a joint affair with lots of guests. But they’re getting to an age where they want something separate and the idea of doing TWO something separates in the span of one week was just too much.

Instead, we decided to think small. Fun, but small.

Jasper gets an outing into the city (Victorian Gardens) with one friend. And Magnolia had a little tea party at our house. It was easy and, I have to say, I think she was pretty thrilled with it.

Here’s how things went down.

Guest list:

Only two kids plus our own, for a cozy party of four. The parents dropped off, so that left only us, our dear friends Alfred and Toby, and the grandparents. Remember: small.

birthday cake


Girlie princess plates and napkins picked out by the birthday princess herself. Plus, cut flowers from our garden. Lots of color, but no streamers, hats, or — hate ’em! — goody bags. Super-simple.

Food & drink:

Homemade birthday cake, chocolate as per request; dainty petits fours from local patisserie, Sweet Melissa; strawberries. To drink? Pink lemonade in bright cups.

pink lemonade

Happy Birthday, Magnolia!

The agenda:

Food, presents, play time, and then bye-bye kids. Perfect.

A note on gender:

While it’s true this party was for a little girl, it should be noted that the boys in attendance had absolutely no issue with it — the presence of cake times two trumped all else. If you did want to make it feel more traditionally suitable for boys, you could skip the petits fours and do dress-up-your-own hot dogs or mini-pizzas followed by cake. Basic idea would still be the same: something small and food-centric.

How do you handle the birthday thing? Go big? Keep it small? Family only, or full-on friends, family, classmates, and assorted others?


5 Responses to “Birthday Parties: An Easy Tea Party”

  1. 1 Amy W August 5, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Genius, sweet Melisa!

  2. 2 Melisa August 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

    thanks, Amy — and thanks for being such a faithful reader! makes cranking these posts out a pleasure. 🙂

  3. 3 Amy August 5, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I know you have lots of faithful readers…in fact, some are friends of mine in Brooklyn and beyond. I guess they aren’t quite as “vocal” as I am.

    Your blog is an absolute treat to read — love the recipes, travel, and shopping posts — and since your kiddos have a couple years on mine, I like your thoughts on parenting. You are like my personal taste-makers and guinea pigs all rolled into one. Bet nobody’s called you THAT before!

  4. 4 alicia August 6, 2010 at 10:41 am

    What a terrific idea! I always dread throwing those big and fussy birthday parties, and since this was simple and sweet… dont mind if I copy it.

    I’ve included it im my weekend link roundup! Cheers!

  5. 5 Mrs O August 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    this is a fantastic idea. I may copy it, for the reason, just because its fun, cheap and very cheerful!!! : )

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