I loved this post so much from "the crafty minx" that I had to share it!
1. Take it outside – pray to all your gods for good weather, throw open the doors and festoon the backyard with decorations and a cheerful 50s tablecloth or two. Or find a prime spot in a local park with access to shade, picnic tables and a playground. Stake out your colony with blankets and a radio tuned to hits.
2. Set a theme for the children – how about simply dress-ups? Easy on the grown-ups, and lenient enough to allow for princess, fairy and pirate fixations.
3. Bunting – festive, easy, cute… need I say more?
4. Be at one with the sugar content – there are times when fairy bread, cupcakes, lollies and chocolate are okay. This is one of them (adults won’t be complaining, either).
5. Keep it short, sweet and small – set a time limit of say, two hours, and only invite friends your children recognize. All-day affairs with squillions of guests are a modern, somewhat tiring phenomenon.
6. Old school games – pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey, What’s the time, Mr Wolf?, egg & spoon and 3-legged races are all oldies, but goodies. Pack a few extra prizes for cheering up teary kids who came last.
7. Alcohol – for the grown-ups, obviously; reward for spending their precious weekend watching a bunch of kids go nuts. Failsafe drinks? Champagne and Bloody Marys. And keep the number of guests without children to a minimum (your twenty-something co-worker might say they’d love to come but trust me, she’s just being polite).
8. Save your efforts until children are old enough to realise what’s going on. If you start with the first birthday, you’ll be over it by the time they hit 3, and that’s when the fun really starts.
9. Keep a list of who gave what – parents will appreciate a thoughtful note, saying thank you for the welcome doll/Lego/book/princess shoes they spent good time making or shopping for.
10. Goodie bags for all the kids – compensation for watching their host tear apart gifts with wild abandon, screaming ‘mine, mine, mine!