Letter From The Editor

The night before one of my children’s birthday parties is always chaotic. I am vacuuming, I am reorganizing my fridge to fit a massive cake, I’m questioning all the life choices that led me to believe I should create an enormous balloon garland. But I am also excited. There is a frisson of joy running through my tasks like an electric current. Sure, we’re hosting a massive party for 15 preschoolers and their parents (most of whom we don’t really know) and I still have two dips to make when my alarm goes off at 6 a.m. tomorrow, and I’m pretty sure I forgot to get birthday candles, but we’re doing it all because we have a kid! A kid who has grown and is another year older. And we get to celebrate that kid. What a gift.

Now, I may be tempted to stay up until 3 a.m. making fairy wand fruit skewers, but it would devastate us if you were to read the stories here and conclude that you have to be the Hostess with the Mostest to throw a good birthday party. We’re also not going to tell you to “do less” if you love to go all out. Whether you’re a Pinterest mom or someone who doesn’t even like parties — it doesn’t matter. The only necessary ingredient to throwing a great celebration is the love you have for your kid, and we can help with the rest.

We’ve curated tons of ideas for party themes, games, and activities to keep little guests entertained, and those magical details that make even a small family celebration feel extra special. We’ve also asked the experts to weigh in on some of your most pressing party etiquette questions. (What are we doing about presents these days?) Because no matter what, the highlight of your day should be watching your child shut their eyes and then puff up their cheeks to blow out their candles with a wish.

—Samantha Darby, Senior Lifestyle Editor

Your Party Planning Checklist

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Every Question You’ve Ever Had About Throwing A Birthday Party

There are a million moving parts to a kids party — and a million decisions to make. And as birthday parties have changed over the years, so have plenty of customs and even points of etiquette. But there’s an easy way to make sure you’re making the right decisions...

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