I mentioned many months ago that, in order to preserve my own sanity, I was “outsourcing” friend parties this year. In the past, I have hosted everything at my house and, while it all went fine, I would run myself ragged. I do not have a large house, nor am I a natural housekeeper, and I usually wound up frantic and feverish.
This year? I vowed to avoid that. I decided way back in the summer that I would let someone else provide the setting for these parties.
I am not, however, a huge fan of bounce houses, Chuck E. Cheeses, or athletic facilities that require you to have a party of 15-20. Quite frankly, my children are now at ages where they truly enjoy a few friends– they like to be able to visit with them and interact with each on an individual basis. They don’t HAVE 20 close friends. Neither do I, for that matter.
Winter babies in a cold climate come with their own challenges. It’s not as simple as just “heading to the park” for us. Could we do “half-birthdays”? Sure. But I’m not a big fan of that, to be honest. Not judging those who have success with the concept, but I always feel like asking a child to wait six months to celebrate is kind of torture-land… time passes S-L-O-W-L-Y when you’re a kid.
We don’t have gazillions of dollars to drop on a birthday party, but we’re not destitute either. I decided that, ideally, I’d like to keep each party around the hundred dollar mark. To some, that will sound like lots of money. To others, it will sound like a pittance. Either way, that was my target.
For my daughter, the Christmas Eve baby, I decided to organize a Manicure & Pizza Party.
I started out by simply surveying my town. I looked at where the nail salons were located. I found one that was pretty centrally placed in town. I checked to see what eateries were within walking distance, because I knew I didn’t want to be in charge of transporting all these little girls from one place to another.
I wasn’t sure what the salon owner would think about my request for five appointments, all for 6- and 7-year-old girls. I chose a Friday during Christmas break to do the party. The salon owner helped me choose a time (mid-late morning) when they weren’t as busy and the little girls could be the stars of the show.
There was a local pizza place just two shops over, so that was my next stop. I talked to the older Italian man who owns the place and he told me he’d be delighted to have us and that, no, it was not a problem for me to bring in cupcakes. Awesome.
I will tell you– without hesitation– that this was my favorite party I’ve ever thrown. The salon had technicians ready for each girl, so they got their manicures simultaneously. They were DARLING choosing their colors and gabbing under the dryers. Each had tiny flowers painted on her nails and it was cute beyond belief. Their “private” nail techs held their coats for them and pampered them with the royal treatment. So sweet.
After, in the restaurant, they debated the merits of Sprite vs. chocolate milk. (And, in the end, ordered white milk and root beer– ha!) They were perfect little ladies and the waiter gushed appropriately over their fancy nails.
Even in rather pricey Connecticut, the “child manicure” price is less than ten dollars– eight dollars, plus tax, to be specific. Even with tip, it wasn’t bad.
Our extra large cheese pizza, drinks for everyone, and the ingredients to make the cupcakes all came in under $30.