Fourth of July Celebration!

Come To My Birthday Party

Come To My Birthday Party

I have this super-cute party planning book from the late sixties, and I’m sharing the ideas from it, one page at a time.  Each themed party was obviously submitted by very-real 1960s mommies, and that is AWESOME.  Up for our perusal– and logically so– is the fab Fourth of July party by Mrs Phyllis Anderson!  (Oddly, I actually *know* a Phyllis Anderson– she would have been a child herself in the late sixties, but I still cannot help but picture her in a swirly, patriotically mod party dress, hosting this event for my sweet friend Amanda.  Except Amanda was born in April.  Whatever. )

Yay!  Isn’t this book *cute*?  Birthday or not, I think there are some great ideas here for ANY Independence day gathering!

**If you cannot quite see the text in any of these pics, clicking on them twice– until they are simply enlarged on a black background– should make them big enough to allow you to read.**

Fourth Of July Party

Fourth Of July Party

We Do This!!!

We Do This!!!

Firstoff, let me just say that I love, love, love the little surprise I found at the intro to this party.  Every gathering in this book begins with a circle where the theme is being explained by the submitting mom, and this one rocked my world.  It says:

“Some children born at Christmas celebrate their birthdays on the half-year anniversary.  Others who really are born in July might enjoy using this theme too….”  Mrs Phyllis Anderson (for kids aged) 5-7 years.”

This is ahmahzing to me because *we* do that with my boy, and it still seems like a revolutionary new idea, forty-five years later!  I loved seeing it written here like it was a common thing back then, it just goes to show that there really are so few ‘new’ ideas in this world.  (And in case you’re wondering– it really is a great solution for those Christmas babies!  Kind of hard to explain to their peers, but its still good for so many reasons, mainly in the party attendance and financial arenas.)

Invitation Idea

Invitation Idea

INVITATIONS

Mrs Anderson says, “Cut red construction paper into the shape of a firecracker and attach a white string at the top for a fuse.  On the firecracker, write:
‘With colors red, white, and blue, and lots of games and fun,
we’ll celebrate that I am 5 (or whatever)–
sure hope that you can come.’
Then write the child’s name, time, and place.”

I love this idea!  Homemade firecracker invites would be pretty darn easy to make with our modern printers, and you could probably fit four or five rectangular “firecrackers” onto one sheet of cardstock.  You could fancy-em-up by embellishing them with a few strips of patriotic-looking washi tape, and the whole shebang could go into a regular business envelope that has been stamped with stars.  The star-stamping could be done by the party-kid in question, as I always find that having Fox help me craft for his party gets him more excited about the event.  (I say that as if it is at all complicated to get a young child interested in their own birthday celebration, but you know….)

Decor

Decor

DECORATIONS

“In July, it’s fun to have the party outside if you can.  I decorated our redwood table with red, white, and blue crepe paper in thick strips as a tablecloth, then used red napkins, plates and cups, but this color scheme is so flexible that you could use anything in red, white and blue for your table.  I didn’t do much more than the table, as I don’t think five-year-olds notice it too much.”

Boy howdy, Mrs A. isn’t giving those kids a lot of credit is she?  I kind of tend to disagree with her on this point– I think you *must* decorate and make a little bit of effort if you are hosting a birthday party in your own home or yard.  Your kiddo lives there everyday, its just his plain, old, boring all-the-time house. You have to make it special!  Crepe paper and balloons aren’t expensive, and a little bit of effort goes a long way…  do it!  Take *this* Mrs A’s ((pointing at myself over here!)) word for it on this one:  Dress your place up, your kiddo will remember it for forever!

ACTIVITIES

Mrs. Anderson’s first recommendation is kinda lame… she wants you to hide a balloon for each kid at the party somewhere in your place, and they are sent of in an ‘olly-olly-oxen-free  manner to find them, and the child that brings the host the first inflated balloon wins!  Doesn’t that sound annoying and frustrating?  My 6 1/2 year old cannot blow up a balloon, I don’t know who these unobservant kiddoes are with the fierce lung capacity that hang out with the Anderson kid, but this game sounds like a hot mess of discontented fivers with slobbery, flaccid plastic sacs.  Yaaaaay!

Nacktibidees

Nacktibidees

(Sorry, but in my house that game would go like this– kids would disperse looking for balloons, and all at once there would be a rush of sugar-hyped first graders demanding that you inflate their now wet-from-them-attempting-to-blow-them-up-balloons.  Yark.  Everyone would remain unhappy until there were enough inflated balloons– of the right colors, everybody has a favorite– to go around.  Sooo fun!)

Next she suggests:  “Then you can play Pin the Tail (cord or string) on the Firecracker (red crepe paper taped on wall).”  *That* is actually a pretty cute idea!  Easy to set up, for sure…  I would just maybe decorate the ‘firecracker’ with an obvious top/ bottom (maybe like your invites looked?), so that the littles know what end the fuse is supposed to attach to.

As for other games, she suggests “Simon Says,” but once again underestimating her partygoers, she assumes that five year olds cannot possibly grasp who “Simon” is, so she changes it to “Mamma Says.”  (Does this start a loop of LL Cool J for anyone else?  I’m *sure* I would say “Knock you out!” if I were trying to play it this way!  Not the best prompt for a bunch of little wound-up boys, eh?)  I’m pretty sure my kid could grasp the “Simon” concept, as I was younger than he is now when I learned the (regular version) of that game, and well, he’s pretty dang smart.  If I could do it, he can too.  Plus– making it “Mamma Says” could really confuse the rules between it and “Mother May I,” a *very* similar game with slightly different play rules.

The remining suggested activity is sort of odd.  She says:
“And as a quiet game, I think it’s fun to give them each a page from an old calendar, and a bunch of red, white, and blue stick-um stars.  Make them race to see who can finish pasting a star over each day the fastest and the neatest.  It sounds too simple a game, but five-year-olds like it.  They get very confused with too complicated races.”

When she says things like this, I cannot help but wonder– is my kid a genius?  Are his peers exceptionally brilliant?  My son and his friends would be no more amused by this activity than they would be picking lint out of my carpeting.  Oh, the blank stares and scrunchy eyebrows this would receive!  I don’t know if kids were less bright in the late 60’s, but this task would not fly in our playgroup.  I’m already the ‘weird mom’ with my teal hair, fifties eyeglasses, and kid named after a woodland critter, I can only IMAGINE the rep that I would get if I attempted a game like putting stickers on an old calendar!

REFRESHMENTS

That is Not the Cake She Described.

That is Not the Cake She Described.

Geez, this whole era-gone-by thing sure is telling on some of these categories.  I’ll just start typing it out, straight-up-quote-style, and you see if you can figure out the part where the it becomes obvious that this was written some time ago, okay?  Fun game!

“The party I had was a great success, and one of the nicest things about it was that it only cost me a little over three dollars for four girls.”

Did you find it?  Did you spot the part that seems crazypants by today’s standards?  I gave a birthday party not two days ago, and I can assure you, I spent more than three dollars on each guest.  This counts other kid’s parents, grandma and grandpa, everybody.  I got to that part of the text, and I tell you, my brain just went, “WHAAAAA?!”  I cannot imagine.

Now, I’m one of those Moms that likes to serve a meal, and Mrs Anderson just suggests cake–“To an ordinary white angel food cake, add red, white, and blue food coloring for a marble effect on its icing.  Serve vanilla ice cream and red kool-aid.”  Wouldn’t you just go with a blue cake if doing white ice cream and red punch?  And how is she doing this marbling?  Is she mixing three batches of colored frosting and swirling it on, or… wait, angel food cake?  Those aren’t even frosted!  I am *so confused.*

She then further suggests adding little flag picks and using a sparkler as the candle, which are pretty cute but not that out-of -the box.  I would be tempted to have this party around dinnertime, and would maybe follow it all with some actual fireworks.  You’d have to know your crowd to be able to determine if they are mature enough for sparklers, but I think the kids we had on Saturday would have been fine with them– in fact, that would likely make for a party they remember for a long time!

It’s pretty easy to think in terms of a Fourth of July meal– hot dogs, coleslaw, potato chips….  maybe a red, white, and blue fruit salad with strawberries, apples, and blueberries.  You could get fancy by cutting your watermelon into star shapes with a cookie cutter.  So many yummy BBQ options with this theme!

***

I have friends with birthdays that fall directly before and after the 4th– Happy Birthday Eartha Mae and Christina!– and I’ve always wondered if it makes it feel more special or kinda frantic having your birthday on a holiday such as this one… you have the negatives of friends and family making plans all over the place, but the positives of it being such a *relaxed* occasion.  And there’s fireworks!

 

 

 

 

 


 


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