What you talking about? Santa?

What you talking about? Santa?

I think as parents we live what we’ve learnt and parenting is no different. Growing up, we enjoyed Christmas, it was a fun time, but I don’t ever remember believing in Santa Clause nor do I ever recall being led to believe in him at any time. So, obviously now that I have my own kids I don’t see the point in having my kids believe in him either, right? *roll eyes* I actually wish it were THAT simple. Its not.

Growing up at my grandmother’s house we had a Christmas tree at some point, then after a few years we stopped putting it up. I don’t know why maybe if fell apart and we couldn’t afford to replace it, who knows? But, that didn’t make Christmas any less enjoyable for my sisters and my cousins and I. We had no gifts under the tree to unwrap and ohhh and ahhh at. We couldn’t afford that. That didn’t stop us from having fun on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day. My aunt baked fruit cakes till way into the morning and the smell of the deliciousness fermented ever core of our house. We ate fruit cake well into January. My husband, had a nice tree and presents under it, and his memories were also great of Christmas past except the part where he believed that Santa brought him gifts.

Herein lies the debate, to believe or not to believe, he thinks there is no harm in letting our children believe in the magic of old Saint Nick, because Christmas is a cherished time of lovingness and giving and receiving presents. Children revel in the idea of Christmas when they think a mysterious jolly old man with a white beard brings them gifts on Christmas eve. They like the stories of Jolly Saint Nick and enjoy writing him requesting a long list of things they don’t have jobs to purchase themselves.

This same old man in red can also absolve parents of any potential blame for any heartbreak, melt downs and disappointments on Christmas morning when some kids don’t receive what they asked ‘Santa’ for. Santa sure gets a lot of blame around this time. I mean, there are benefits to using Santa as your front man. He see and hears all nice or naughtiness and acts accordingly, which clears parents of having to deal with disciplining kids atleast during Christmas time.The quickest way to get a kid to act right is to threaten a Santa strike and a lump of coal.

However, being the big pile of party pooper that I am I’m not sure I believe in lying to my children about someone that doesn’t exist. Also, I think I deserve some credit, Santa didn’t track down that Elsa doll by perusing twelve million websites. Where was he when I was pulling my hair out when sold out appeared beside every doll on each website. Where is my milk and cookies? How does Santa take credit for my hard work.

So, we are at a crosswords as Christmas draws nigh and the debate ensues. The Images of Santa Clause are so dominant, every five minutes on our TV, computer, everywhere! We are going to have to do something soon. I can’t even go to the supermarket without a giant sign reminding me how many days are left before Christmas. The pressure is too much, on one hand the commercialization of the season is nauseating, but on the other hand, its the season to don we now our gay apparel and traverse through snow, and if you don’t have snow then traverse through freshly fallen leaves. Everyone is sitting on Santa’s lap these days, should I deny them that? What will be next, the Tooth Fairy? the Easter Bunny? its a slippery slope you know…

Atleast I don’t have to worry about my one year old, he will unwrap a colander and play with the box it came in and be content until he poops. However, my three year old is quite precocious, she will unravel any lie with her famous twenty one questions. She is not easily fooled, she knows way too many words for her age. I don’t want to stamp on my kid’s childhood and ruin their potentially heartwarming memories by being the party pooper. I’m already quite notorious for restricting juice and candy, now I will surely earn the prison warden title my husband so lovingly bestowed on me. I cannot be the only mommy in this dilemma? I think I will just pretend that Santa does not exist and see if they notice him around town. Why bring it up huh? Ignorance is bliss, atleast for now, right?

How to Plan Baby’s First-Birthday Party

How to Plan Baby’s First-Birthday Party

Baby will only have one first birthday — and that’s a lot of pressure to do up the party right. But you’ve never done this before! When do you have it? Who do you invite? How do you make it fun for a kid who doesn’t even know what a birthday is yet? We’ve got your step-by-step planning guide right here.

Photo: Getty / The Bump 

When to throw it

Of course, you’ll want your friends and family to be able to make it, so the weekend before or after baby’s birthday is a good bet. That said, be careful of letting their crazy schedules dictate your plan. “I always tell people that the best time to throw a party is the time that works for them and not everyone else’s,” says Marla Mase, founder of Party Poopers, a New York City event planning company that specializes in producing children’s birthday parties. So don’t send around an email to 50 people asking them when the best day is to throw it — they’ll never all agree. If baby has a nap schedule, Mase recommends planning the party for after baby’s naptime so she’s well-rested (and slightly less likely to be in a bad mood).

And as for how long you should make the bash, it depends on your baby. XO Group creative services director and party design expert Lori Richmond says, “There’s no ideal length for a first-birthday party, and only you know how much your baby can take. Err on the side of just a couple of hours, rather than an all-day affair — parties can be overwhelming for small babies, especially if you have a lot of guests!” Richmond recommends having the party in a venue that has a private quiet space, so if baby gets fussy or needs a breather, you can take her there to nap.

How many people to invite

It can be tough to figure out how intimate or huge the party is going to be. If it’s going to be intimate, the guest list might include grandparents, aunts and uncles, and a few baby friends from mommy and me classes. If you want to go all out and have a huge bash, you can invite your whole extended family, your friends, coworkers who have kids and so on. It ultimately depends on your own preferences. “Either way, it’s a day to commemorate,” says Mase. “Your little one has grown so much in this first year, passed many developmental milestones, and you have made it through the first year of being a mom or dad, and that’s definitely an achievement to celebrate.” Your budget also plays a role in the size of your party — obviously the more people you have, the more food, beverages and space you’re going to need.

Start with your must-invite list — the people you wouldn’t dream of celebrating without. Then, if you can stand to add to your head count, keep going.

Where to have it

If you have a big enough home and want to save some cash, throwing the party at your house could be a good option. If you host the event at home, your guests could hang out longer, baby has a place to nap if she gets tired (her room!), and baby might be more comfortable in familiar surroundings. Having it at a restaurant or even a children’s play space could get costly, but the big advantage there is that you won’t get stuck having to clean up. There’s also no prep or mess to deal with, and you won’t have to work hard to entertain guests. If you live in an apartment or a small house, that setting would be ideal. If you don’t want to have it at your house or a play space, why not head to your local park? You can set up food and decorations at a picnic table (some parks even have grills for barbecuing!). And there’s already a play structure there to occupy the kids — just make sure that there are enough adults to keep an eye on them. Check with your local parks department to see if you need a permit or have to make a reservation for the space.

How to choose a theme

Baby probably doesn’t know whether she likes fairies or birdies better right now, so it’s up to you to decide the theme. “Take inspiration from the family’s general preferences to choose the perfect theme,” suggests Richmond. “Does your baby have a favorite giraffe toy that she sleeps with every night? Then giraffes or zoo animals as a theme could be perfect. Or are your family members huge baseball fans? Maybe a little-slugger sports theme would work for you.” Also, think about the season and take into consideration if you’re having an indoor or outdoor party. Some fun theme ideas could be Sesame Street, teddy bears, carnival, Hollywood or Candyland.

Make a budget and DIY

If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend on baby’s birthday party, DIY is your best bet. “Bake your own cake, have your party at home and go to a closeout-type store because they often have great toys and stuffed animals for low prices,” suggests Mase. “If you want balloons, I’d say Party City is the least expensive place to get them — there’s no need to rent a helium tank.” If you’re making your own cupcakes or treats, you can turn decorating them into an activity for your guests. “Not spending a lot on a professional cake will also make you feel less guilty about your baby digging in face-first for the classic cake smash photo [LINK TO THE BIRTHDAY SLIDESHOW],” says Richmond.

For invites, it’s totally okay to save money on stamps and go paperless. Pingg.com allows you to upload your own designs, but Evite and Paperless Post have ready-made templates to choose from. “My favorite benefit of these services is the RSVP tracking and automatic follow-up,” says Richmond. “You can set up specific reminders to go out to guests who have or have not RSVPed by a certain date, as many times as you want.”

Food to serve

When planning the menu, take into consideration whether the party is going to be mostly adults or if there are going to be kids of all ages present. If baby has a favorite food, serve it. “If you have little guests and adults at your party, then you should accommodate everyone with appropriate food options,” says Richmond. “First-birthday parties are active events. Foods and snacks that are healthy and can be eaten on the go are good choices.” For your kid guests, serve things like pizza, mini grilled-cheese sandwiches, chicken fingers, little cups with puff cereal or single-serve boxes of raisins. It also depends on the time of day. If the party’s at noon, you should serve lunch. If it’s 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., you can probably get away with juice and dessert only (also a great way to save money). Be sure to note on the invitation whether you’ll be serving a full meal or just snacks and cake, so guests know whether to eat before they get there. For older guests, many parents will probably be running after their kids. That’s where casual, on-the-go foods come in handy. Try sandwiches and wraps, veggies and dip, and finger-food appetizers like pigs in a blanket (a classic crowd-pleaser everyone loves to love).

Because food allergies are so common in kids today, you might also want to double-check if anyone has eating restrictions (having to use an EpiPen isn’t the kind of story you want parents telling about your party). “You can use a fun marker similar to a cupcake topper as a way to note which foods are safe for those with allergies,” says Richmond.

Party favors

At the end of the day, it’s customary to send kids home with favors. You can have some fancy swag bags or keep it small. “I haven’t been to a party that doesn’t give out goodie bags,” says Richmond. “I prefer to do one larger-ticket item as the giveaway. For my son’s birthday, we gave away harmonicas. It was much better-received than the bag of little plastic toys and candies that might annoy some parents. For one-year-olds, a bath toy is a good favor.”

It’s okay to just give favors to the kids, but it’s nice to also put together something small for the adults. Or have one that the whole family can take home like a photo frame with a Polaroid snapped at the party. When you hand out the favors to the kids, give the goodies to their parents first just in case they want to take a few items or candies out before giving it to their child.