Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Have the best ---- party ever!

1) Follow the general guidelines about how to arrange a party. You need a solid ground and steady backbone your party is going to be build on. There's plenty of sites about this, so I am not going to talk more about that.

2) Add the awesome sauce

* what or who is the reason for the party? 

What do you associate with that? What are that person's favorites? Find out things like this, so that you can customize the party

There should always be a theme, and not just a general "something like" theme, like "Christmas". (Yes, sorry about that).
Is it "childhood Christmas"? "White Christmas"? "Winter wonderland"? Believe me, if your ordinary holiday party has a theme, people are going to think it's better.

You choose the theme according to the reason.

Parts of a theme:
- color
- emotion, mood
- symbols

Yes, you need to see the party as a movie you are staging. You choose the actors by inviting people. You choose the soundtrack to manipulate the emotions. You choose the settings for the same reason. Everything in a movie is chose to make a certain impact. People might not be as aware of the symbolism of things as they were earlier in the history of mankind (from cave paintings and saint attributes to language of flowers and memento mori), but I believe subconsciously we all are influenced by them.
Think about this staging when you prepare the festive venue for the party.

So, if it's Mothers' Day, the reason is your mother. Don't just arrange a "mothers' day party", but arrange the party as if it was your mother's birthday. Choose her favorite color as the theme color, and the "message" of the event is appreciating all your mother did for you (even if right now all you can think of is that she beared you.) You also need to know her favorite flower. So for my mother I would arrange a "tiger lily mother's day". She also loves hats, so it would be like a queen's reception, all the guests in hats and formal wear. My mother would love that. :-D

Make the main person the focal point of everything that happens.

On mother's day, give your mother a comfy chair in the middle of the room where she can sit comfortably and watch what is going on without needing to move, and where she can just wait to be waited on :-D Give her a crown and a throne. Guests should automatically drift to her, even if they weren't actively looking for that.

(Frankly, the only other spot no-one should need to look for, is the toilet.)

* please all the senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.

No, you don't need to care about such senses as balance, time and pressure, but... if you can, go for it. The more sensations you can pack into your party, the better. BUT KEEP IT BALANCED! Cacophony, chaos and sensory overload are not desirable qualities of a party. 

So, let's assume it's Daisy's birthday.

sight: Daisy's favorite color is yellow. Her favorite shape is the heart. He favorite pattern is polka dots. He favorite flowers are the daisies, of course.

sound: What ever is Daisy's favorite music style. Create a play list by taking her top 10 favorites and adding similar songs.

taste: Daisy's favorite food and spices are lemons and ginger.

touch: this is one of the most difficult things to mind, which is why most people don't even try. But ask Daisy to relax, and then think about her favorite spot in the whole world. What is she wearing? When she reaches out her hand, what does she touch? Let's assume her favorite spot is a meadow she used to play in when she was little. She is wearing a summer dress made of light cotton. She touches soft, green uncut grass, wild summer flowers and butterflies. So - soft, worn, thin cotton. You can have the tablecloth and napkins made of this. Silk ribbons feel a bit like grass, so you could make a fuzzy pillow of silk ribbons.

* social interaction is the most important part of a party. 

People think they have a great time, when
- they are relaxed and trusting, so see that nothing anyone can find scary, unpleasant or uncomfortable is a "must join" activity. People must be able to refuse without needing to fear any kind of social punishment (like people laughing and mocking one, or getting isolated etc.). If you plan some program someone might find unpleasant, plan also a couple of alternatives for those people.
- they are comfortable. Now, you can't do anything about their clothes, but see that the temperature is tolerable and that there are things like blankies and slippers if need be, and they know where the toilet is, and the toilet is impeccably clean and well equipped with towels and toilet paper etc.
- they laugh
- their needs are satisfied 
- they are included and engaged 

For a host to be successful, you need to
- be attentive, treat every guest as if they were the honor guest
- learn some jokes and funny stories and learn to tell them well. You can learn from stand-up comedians and funny people how to do that. It's OK to practice on video. No-one else needs to see that but you.
- learn good conversation skills. It is not difficult.
- learn to listen actively
- learn to dance and dance with other people. Learn to teach simple dances to people who don't know how to dance, because dancing is easy and it makes people happy, so you should be able to drag people to dance floor, first by example, then actively
- not be afraid of jumping in to entertain people with a show if need be 

Have some conversation pieces around, maybe a pack of conversation starters. Make this party specific! For example, a collection of vintage Halloween decoration. Some horror movie props. A coffee table picture book of mystical events.

Now, believe or not, but this started with me pinning things for fathers' day... and just like mothers may not be interested of anything else but *their kids, *beauty and spa. *housekeeping and *romance, fathers may not be interested of anything but *fishing, *sports, *tools and *beer
We too often forget that mothers and fathers are human beings with their own unique interests and hobbies and preferences. When kids are small, they aren't expected to think about this, but I think it's the responsibility of the spouse or parent's siblings and friends to coach the kids to give the parents something they actually appreciate and not just because it came from their kid.

So get a list from every one you are arranging a party for with those questions: favorite color, favorite music (at least 10 songs/pieces), favorite smell, taste, touch, hobbies, preferences, interests.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

¨My epic 24 hour birthday celebration

I have two birthday related goals on my list.

Have the biggest, baddest and best 50th birthday ever!


Celebrate my birthday for 24 hours

THE MAIN THING WITH BIRTHDAYS IS THAT IT SHOULD BE SOMETHING THE BIRTHDAY CHILD APPRECIATES. So don't just go on planning an "epic" birthday to someone else, unless you know this person VERY well and are ready to ignore your own personal preferences, opinions and values.

Which means that you cannot just copy this page and do all the things *I* want to do on my birthday! Use this as inspiration.

The theme of my party is "what Halloween would be like if in stead of scary things it's lovely things." Fun, joyous, delightful, enjoyable things. Stars and clouds and unicorns and rainbows. Kittens with pink bows and balloons. Fireworks.
MY favorite things. 
Things that make me happy.
Things that make me smile.
I want people to have fun, good, decent, clean, fun fun, where no-one gets hurt and everyone gets to enjoy things.

Now, her list is not something that I could copy straight out, but it's a great idea, and there are a couple of ideas on the list I find appealing.

Breakfast in bed with favorite cartoons

And I want champagne and flowers.

I am not Christian, so meditating Bible quotes is not my thing, and "yoga at sunrise"... I always do that anyway, but to celebrate the rising of the sun on my birthday, yes!

Start the day with a sunrise party! Yes!

Now, sunrise party is not when you party the all night until sunrise, it's to greet the beginning of the special day. Celebrate the fact that sun rises today and creates a "free" and ecologically sound "firework show". I mean, are there better, bigger and more beautiful light shows on sky than sunrise and sundown?

Now, I want some kind of "juice sunrise dance party" thing

"I arrive at ---  to bubbles floating out the front door and a blonde chick wearing a lei around her crown hugging everyone on their way in."

Yes! Bubbles! And leis! Get everyone leid!

Sun rises about 5:15 on my birthday here where I live...but will I be where I live on my 50th birthday? Perhaps I'm on Tahiti. Or Scotland. We'll see. ;-)

All the guests should be in that place at the time of the sunrise, so I suppose I need to arrange it so that they sleep over at my house as if they were holiday guests... and I don't have a house, so I suppose I have to rent a house.

Now, on my "50 before 50 list" there's this:
Rent a vacation house for a week and have friends stay over

Yes, I want to do this! (Maybe not for a week but at least for a weekend. I want to celebrate my 50th birthday the whole weekend!!! (Not really, but as you read this list, you'll notice there is the "birthday eve" and "birthday day", which ends in the early morning hours, so I suppose it takes about 3 days. Friday for people to arrive to the destination, Saturday to celebrate and Sunday to recover :-D
(Suitably enough, my 50th birthday is on Friday :-D Even better, it's the Good Friday... My 50th birthday is on Easter :-D The WHOLE WORLD CELEBRATES MY BIRTHDAY! :-D)
Yeah. It's my birthday so I may be megalomaniac. 

Other "epic" "morning parties" are Christmas morning. So, let's "borrow" some traditions from that day.

Present opening.
Birthdays mean gifts, don't they? And Christmas, too. So why not combine these two, and make the present opening event a personal Christmas! :-D

Now, I would feel bad to gather the whole family together to just sit and watch me open my presents, so I am going to combine this with Tolkien's idea :-D That is, on hobbit birthdays the birthday child gives gifts to the guests. :-D

Maybe we could all gather to my bedroom to enjoy gift opening, breakfast and my favorite cartoons?
Or those who want to.
Nah. I think it's better that everyone can do what ever they like, have a sleep-in or play tourist or what ever. It's not fun to force people to do things they really don't feel like doing just because it's my birthday.

Ok, I'm egocentric and greedy. But I want A LOT OF PRESENTS!!!
I love presents!
I love gift wrapping!
I love good surprises!
I love the feeling that someone has been thinking about you and bothered to get you a gift.
WHAT it is is less important than seeing a pile of gifts in pretty packages. 
It's like surprise eggs. 
It doesn't matter if the thing inside isn't "amazing". 
It doesn't matter if I already have one of them, or it's used or anything. 
I just love gifts.

I LOVE this idea! One gift for each decade, something memorable, something that was "so me", then, something specific... and I love those gift tags :-)

I also love the idea of writing to every one who has ever done anything with me (like teachers and coworkers etc.) and ask them for their favorite memory of me, or a thing they liked about me.
I would LOVE that.

this one is amazing, too!

And this!
Husband Turns 40, Wife Gets Award

"I contacted 40 individuals - friends and family -
and asked them to send  THEIR FAVORITE book to give to Vic for his 40th"

Also, I love gift baskets...

Another USonian Christmas tradition is to give the family a new pajamas so that they all have something new and nice to wear at the gift opening event.

They even have these "Christmas Eve Boxes"!

 So, I am going to give everyone a Birthday Eve Box

Another thing I like about that 24 things on my 24th birthday list is all the RAKs.
I would love to do 50 RAKs to celebrate my 50th birthday.

Now... if I will be renting a vacation home for a weekend at some country place, this might not be the easiest thing to do... So I need to think about this a bit. Perhaps I could arrange something in a city?
I could also support some things that don't require my presence, like buy goats and chickens to people in developing countries, or donate to other good causes. I could make a book of me doing these 50 RAKs and make a book of it and have that book as one of the program points of the party. Or have a picture show :-D

I am going to wear a tiara the whole day

On this list there are a couple of other things I want to do.

Some pampering.
Massage. A healing therapy session, like Rosen therapy or something.  

A Day of Presents
I want 50 presents, and I want to get them delivered every full our of my birthday, a bit like this:

And there will be two gifts in all packages :-D
Wondering about the math? Ok, there's 24 hours in a day. 24 times 2 is 48. How do I get that to 50? You see, the day starts and ends with a gift... that makes it 25 packages.

The exact time of my birth is 17.50, so there will be presents 4.50, 5.50, 6.50, 7.50, 8.50, 9.50, 10.50, 11.50, 12.50, 13.50, 14.50, 15.50, 16.50, 17.50, 18.50, 19.50, 20.50, 21.50, 22.50, 23.50, 0.50, 1.50, 2.50, 3.50 and 4.50
And then I can go and sleep.

No, it doesn't need to be anything amazing and expensive. I don't want diamond rings and Herm├ęs bags and such. If it's all something handmade, or used books, or things from trift stores etc.

I really love presents :-D

Birthday brunch 

* I want some background music
* I want so "program" - like board games

Birthday scavenger hunt
in style of a hen party - all dressed up, especially me :-D something silly and a tiara and a featherboa. Of course.

30th birthday scavenger hunt

"I also tried to have a number of clues that related to Jeremy’s background and interests. So for example, I got challenges related to D&D, Magic the Gathering, ducks, penguins, Batman, and generally being awesomely goofy. And of course, I created a list of 30 challenges."

Treasure hunt

Epic cake

I just don't know WHEN to serve this... it would be fun at brunch, though, and then available during the rest of the day.

Afternoon Tea

I love tea parties!

Birthday banquet

And I want it to be a 12 course dinner.
And it may take hours, and everything will be things that I love.
And it should be dressed up, like from an Agatha Christie novel.

Ok, so I like food :-D
The thing is that it's only 5 meals, and you don't have to stuff your face. Nothing stops the champagne breakfast in bed to be a light breakfast, like just melon, ham and champagne.
One doesn't need to eat as much as one can at brunch, even when it's princely.
One doesn't need to eat too much at Afternoon Tea. Just a cup or two of tea, a dainty sandwich and a baked delicacy.
And even when there's 12 courses at the meal, they are not "all that can be stuffed on your plate" courses.
Just because there IS food, doesn't mean you must eat it all!
(Or, frankly, ANY of it, because it's MY birthday! :-D)

And after that it's dancing and party games and mingling and lounging and eating more :-D

And drinking, of course. I do want to try some cocktails.
So why not throw in a cocktail party to finish off the day :-D

I mean, there's always some kind of snacks available at a dance/mingling like this. Why not make it a cocktail party? :-D

Besides, we are going to be up all night - it's a 24 hour party! So why not emulate New Year's Eve as well?

I want it to be a masquerade party- so that too is like the early 20th century New Year's Parties.

I also want to do something supernatural, paranormal, new age spiritual, witchy stuff, like having a medium at the party or someone to read hands or cards or so. Shamanic drum journey. Past life regression.

I am a bit... well... uncomfortable, I guess. I know that a lot of my family think these kind of things are stupid, and wouldn't want to participate, and that is kind of planning things for my birthday party I KNOW some of the guests think is not fun. But - it's MY birthday party and *I* think they are VERY interesting, I don't necessarily believe in things like that, but it's interesting.

I want a photobooth, too

It would be lovely to ask the guests to decide what to do, too...
Right now on my list is 24 people - me included - so I think it would be fun to do something each of them think I'd love. Maybe I get lucky and someone picks bungeejumping or skydiving! Now, this might be a bit cumbersome to arrange in a foreign country weekend trip, but where there's a will, there's a way.