While the home kitchen is largely the domain of women, when it comes to the professional kitchen, the gender rules turn upside down. Men dominate the professional kitchen space and most of the top chefs are men. It certainly isn’t because women cannot cook or handle pressure because women having been doing both for ages so there are other things at play. When I heard of a chef party being thrown for a little girl by mother who wanted to expand the images presented to girls from the princess or damsel in distress to something more substantial, I jumped on board! I just love empowerment of women and the truth is we have to start with our girls.
We have been blessed to be friends with amazing people. In the expatriate laden Dubai, it is hard to find and maintain meaningful, lasting friendships. If it is so difficult for us as adults, imagine how much more so it can be for children who see their friends in their neighbourhoods and classrooms come and go every year with a warp speed turnaround time. But expats or not, it is important for us as parents to help our children celebrate their friendships and spend time bonding together, sharing the most important milestones in their lives. No celebration is more important to a child than the birthday party.
When our friend, Nicole Samuels was throwing her firstborn’s six year old party, she got very creative and decided to give her daughter and her friends an experience that they would always remember. What I LOVED most about the whole thing was how involved Nicky was in the entire planning and execution and how it reminded me of parties we used to have back in our day (albeit much more refined and modernised for today’s child). Nicole threw a spectacular Chef Themed Birthday party for Giselle. It was a wholesome affair with lots of activities that allowed for engagement, bonding, sharing, fun, and what put the icing on the cake, is that they actually had the kids making their own chefs hats, lunches and snacks and even decorating the birthday cake!
As a former advertising executive, former general manager of international advertising firm, McCann Erickson in Jamaica and managing major international brands such as Red Stripe beer, Nicole has has quite a bit of experience in creating memorable events that suit particular audiences. As a mom of two beautiful little girls and an executive coach, she also has a wealth of experience to share about how to make children’s parties exceptional without the need to take out a second mortgage on your house. We’ve asked her to share her tips…
5 Steps To throw a Magical Birthday for a Child
by Nicole Samuels-Williams
Birthday celebrations are key milestones that mark another year of proud accomplishments, sprinkled with some lessons learnt and simply, to give thanks for the amazing gift of life.
Everyone celebrates differently; some choose to be low keyed (like my mom) and others tend to go over-the-top (sometimes me – perhaps overcompensating for getting 2 hard-boiled eggs on my birthday morning every year as a symbol of good luck, strange family tradition, but that’s another story.
As a proud and loving parent, like all other parents I know, many of us are constantly seeking ways to make our kids’ childhood happier and more magical than our own. What better time to do that, than for birthdays! Here are 5 tried and tested steps that you can use to create an unforgettable birthday that your child will treasure forever.
- Establish what your child wants
First of all, talk to your son/ daughter and ask them how they would like to celebrate their birthday. I know this seems pretty obvious, but this is one way to not become the pushy/over bearing parent. This empowers your child and makes them feel valued and respected. Especially, as your kids get older, they will have their own ideas of how they want things to be done.
- Theme it!
Once you have respected their choice, whether it’s a massive party with the entire class, family and neighborhood or a simple playdate or picnic with the immediate family – theme it! It just makes idea generation and execution easier. It makes each year stand out – taking it from being generic to something truly special and unique for your precious one. Finally it is more creative and fun!
- Brainstorm ideas
A great place to start of course is with your child, you can also involve other siblings and make this a fun family activity. Rule #1 – no idea is a bad idea. Jot ideas down on paper/Ipad, or have them draw pictures of what they would like if their vocabulary is limited, get them to choose favorite colors, favorite characters and activities they enjoy. A great resource is Pinterest. Themes are infinite, the photos and details are inspiring and the tips on how-to-make-it and where-to-buy-it are endless. You can create a folder and drop all images and articles related to your theme for quick reference and inspiration, which your child will love too.
- Set a budget
It is very easy to get carried away with the infinite possibilities of creating the most magical birthday ever, but remember you still have bills to pay once the euphoria is over. Differentiate between needs and wants and then select accordingly. Always include a 5% contingency into the budget for any last minute incidentals.
- Capture the memories
Enough has been said about living in the moment, and the pervasive effect of smart devices in our everyday life. However, the quick access of camera phones really help us to seal memories that otherwise would fade in a few years. Whether you choose to use your camera phone or hire a professional photographer/videographer, be sure to capture the details or at the very least the highlights that really matter, but of course without missing being in-the-moment. Looking back on the photos not only helps you to relive the moment, but your child will feel proud to see what he/she has created from their own imagination which in itself is something to celebrate.
Have many happy birthdays!!!
About The Author
Nicole Samuels-Williams, working mom of Giselle (6 years) and Nyla (3 years), Jamaican expat living in Dubai, simply trying to do her best in creating magical memories and raising well balanced, thoughtful, creative human beings.
Here are the rest of the images from the party. I also shot Giselle’s very first birthday party so it was great to be able to do a comparison…