Riley’s fourth birthday is fast approaching. April 7th will be here before I know it, especially with Spring Break over and classes and school work kicking into high gear for the final six weeks of the semester.
I started talking to Riley and Shawn about the upcoming celebration over the last couple of weeks. We decided we would do a party for all of Riley’s friends, and the party’s theme would be Candy Land.
(I should confess first and foremost that I got the very idea to have a Candy Land party from Pinterest. I saw a couple of cute party ideas and then proposed the idea to Riley, who really liked it. And of course, I knew she would. The girl does not know a sugary food she doesn’t like! So even from the outset of party planning, Pinterest was a player…)
So now we have three weeks to go, and we need to get serious about planning her party. Here’s the problem: Pinterest has upped the stakes. I have a board for birthdays and a new board for Candy Land parties. All of the ideas are great, but they are sort of stressing me out. Now I have to make choices. Now I can see ways to be cute with candy for activities and decorations, and I have the pressure to put these ideas into play.
Consider how we planned Riley’s third party. The biggest decision was which park to plan it at. She choose dinosaurs and lizards as the theme without any input from me, and we went along with it. I bought some dino decorations and plastic toys from Dollar Tree. I picked up a few dino party game ideas from a book a friend of mine found at a library in Denver during our vacation out West last year. I think the book had three ideas, and we used two of the three. For decorations, my dad made a sign and I bought some balloons. For favors, we went with bubbles and a few little dino toys. My twin sister helped me make a dinosaur shaped cake I found on a website. We bought pizza. We set out a cooler of drinks and bowls of grapes and pretzels. And that was it. Boom. Done.
All told, I will probably execute a similar approach to Riley’s party this year because of time and money. I will try to spice it up with some great ideas from Pinterest (like giant balloon lollipops, a candy buffet, and some cheap decorating ideas). But all those other ideas on my inspiration boards will haunt me a little. I love planning parties for my kids. I love going all out. Pinterest works on both of these desires of mine in paradoxical ways: I can collect all sorts of great ideas, and that growing body of ideas increases my anxiety.
I realize that shouldn’t happen. Right? I mean, Riley doesn’t know what Pinterest is or what it does. And for her, as long as her party has food and friends and fun, she’ll be all set. But still. Now that I know all these greats ways to carry out a Candyland party, I want to put them into practice. I want my online inspiration to positively influence my offline party planning. The problem is, Pinterest doesn’t care about time or money. On Pinterest, my resources are limitless, inconsequential. It’s in the translation from online to offline that things get problematic. When Pinterest meets practical issues, something has to give. And as a result, I hover in this party-planning purgatory, plagued by this uncomfortable feeling of stress that I know I should not feel, but feel all the same.
Filtering seems to be the issue. I have to filter content from Pinterest to pull off Riley’s party. On Pinterest, the only criteria for filtering is a simple question: Do I like this idea or not? In reality, filters abound: How long will this take to make? What do I need to buy? Do I really need this? Will Riley like it? Do I know enough about jello? Can I manipulate tissue paper?
Don’t get me wrong: I am still enjoying the party-planning process with the help of Pinterest. But I do get this funny little feeling at times, and I need to remind myself to breathe and relax. I already have invitations, and maybe next weekend we’ll start shopping for decorations, candy, and supplies. Hopefully, I can spread out the preparations, so the days before won’t be frantic.
And after the party, I’m sure I’ll blog about it. Maybe I’ll even have a new pin or two to put up on my board for pins I’ve used, bought, done, or made.
I’m sure I will.
*Note: all of the images in this post are from Pinterest pins.