Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Made up holidays (or the story of Dinosaur Day)

Last year my oldest daughter decided she really wanted a dinosaur cake for her birthday and begged for one every day. The problem? Her birthday was still 5 months away. After about a week I couldn't take it anymore, so I thought of a solution. Dinosaur day!

That Saturday night we were having another couple over for dinner so we decided it was the perfect chance. I baked a cake, slapped some green icing and a package of plastic dinosaurs from the dollar store on top and called it a day. After dinner I brought out the cake and we all sang 'Happy Dinosaur Day' (which sounded suspiciously similar to 'Happy Birthday'). She was beyond thrilled.

This year we decided to go all out and have an actual party. We invited tons of kids, which could have been tricky, but since half of them ended up cancelling last minute with stomach bugs and the flu we ended up with the perfect number. We also kept it simple and low key. No need for an expensive, Pinterest worthy extravaganza. We just wanted it to be fun for our kids.

I made a table of healthy snacks.

I made dinosaur cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread using my trusty dinosaur sandwich cutter.

I cut out watermelon in the shape of dinosaurs using cookie cutters.

I also served cantaloupe, veggies sticks and dip, as well as a jug of water. Despite there only being healthy choices all of the food was devoured. When you don't offer a table full of junk kids will usually eat what is there.

Once the kids had filled up on real food we brought out dessert. Chocolate cupcakes with green frosting and topped with little plastic dinosaurs from the dollar store. That way each child got a tiny toy to keep.

We put all our dinosaur toys and books on display for the kids to play with.

The kids played pin the horn on the triceratops (drawn by my husband. It's handy to have an artist in the family).

He also made this for taking photos of all the guests as dinosaurs.

The only requirement for guests was to wear their favorite dinosaur T shirts and clothing. My little one even wore her dinosaur diaper.

I loved having a made up holiday party. Since it wasn't a birthday there was no financial pressure for anyone to bring gifts so everyone could just come and have fun. Made up holidays are also great for long stretches of time without anything exciting going on. I can see them being a great idea for kids with Christmas birthdays who want to do something else halfway through the year.

A friend of mine had 'Banana Day' for her kids. They ate banana splits and had banana decorations. The holiday was born because her son overheard her talking about his 'BD party' in hushed tones on the phone with her mother and instead of being caught out she told him she was talking about 'Banana Day'. That's the beauty of made up holidays, you can make them whatever you want, whatever you want and change them without notice. Which is perfect when you have kids.

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