My eldest, my daughter turned four early this November. Her party was a simple, beautiful celebration, one that minimized consumerism and tread lightly on the planet. Here’s how:
Rather than opting for a house packed with guests, with all the noise, expense and excess gifts that involves, Aria invited four friends to join us for a “princess party”. Limiting the number of guests to her age (4) made sense to her and made managing the party so much easier! It’s a new birthday tradition for our family. We did invite grandparents as well, who did not count in her 4-guest tally.
I wanted to make this party very special for the Aria and our guests. What’s special about the usual Disney princess invitations, plastic tablecloth and cheap decorative doodads? We skipped the party store and headed over to www.pingg.com. Aria and I chose a free Pingg invitation with a vivid jellybean photograph and off it went to our friends via email. No waste, fast and free!
So how does one make a princess party without falling back on mass-marketed products? Why, with dress-up, of course! With my recent Waldorf conversion, dressing-up seemed like the perfect party activity. Set out some play silks, jewelry, crowns and shoes, step back and let their imaginations take it away! And, less facilitating meant more time for us moms to chat. Perfect!
To compliment the dress-up princess theme, I was inspired to make princess wands for each guest. Crafting is something deeply rooted in Waldorf culture, something I’m finding time to do more often. After all, since I wasn’t spending money on party store supplies, I could purchase felt and dowels to make a gift for each child, in lieu of junky party favors. My mother had ribbons, beads and notions about that I used to transform each design into a one-of-a-kind creation. Let me tell you – this wasn’t easy for me! It was hard to get going and it did take quite a lot of hours, but each wand completed was encouragement enough to continue. I loved them all and couldn’t wait to give them to the girls during the party!
And, then, the food. Our party was after lunch, so we served cake and tea. I made almond-flavored white cupcakes from my Martha Stewart cookbook, whipped up some cream cheese frosting and had daddy buy some naturally flavored and colored jellybeans from the health food store for decorating. I was quite surprised by how good those jellybeans tasted! Aria was absolutely thrilled to decorate the cupcakes with jellybeans. They were quite a surprise since candy is a very special treat in our family.
The day went beautifully! The girls were lovely and played so nicely together. Keeping the number of guests down helps everyone feel included, I believe. After dressing-up and mingling for awhile, I casually invited a child to choose a wand from the glass vase. With wide eyes the others approached and silently plucked their gift. Aria and I had spoke in advance about letting all of the guests choose first. I had also made one extra, so that everyone could really choose. Because they were all different, and all so special, there was no conflict, just joy! I enjoyed watching them play with the wands and new that each girl felt like a princess that day.
After playtime we served tea and cake at a table dressed with simple tablecloths and set with my mother’s teacup collection. After presents, an impromptu puzzle and storytime ensued… a perfect ending to a simple, eco-friendly birthday party.
Yes, it was a princess party, but not one made by Disney. Those five beautiful princesses made magic all their own… or with a little Waldorf inspiration.