december birthday theme for twins

bigtop etsyJust a quick screengrab from etsy. holy organized people!

Oh, yeah. It’s true. I’ve totally lost it, all sense of perspective and sanity. Poof. Because when you spend even half your day researching “Vintage Circus Theme” and “Under The Big Top” parties for soon-to-be four year old twins, you’ve become a wee bit obsessed. But it’s fun! And so precious! Quit whining and just embrace your passions, lady. The wee ones will love it all. Yes, this is about them, dear, let’s not forget that… And, I’m talking to myself.

When I was pitching my rejection-themed “Greek Tragedy” as a half-hour laffer, I came ready to play, with future episodes up my sleeves—one of which, centered around a lavish birthday party… for a child:

Hattie Mae is a child talent scout with the personality of Simon Cowell. Despite the fact that kids’ birthday parties have become a new status symbol about town, Hattie Mae wants none of it for her nine-year-old daughter Alice Ann. No helicopter rides, grand ballrooms, or Justin Bieber serenade (how tacky). But when she decides to throw a dollar store do-it-herselfer and no one shows up, Hattie fears her social statement was made at the detriment of her daughter’s happiness. Floundering to get bodies into seats, Hattie summons her child talent clients, who arrive in sequined pageant outfits, singing “Happy Birthday” in hallways, thinking it’s an audition opportunity. Our lead Emmaline steps in, sharing her own embarrassments and rejections with Alice Ann, telling her that she can’t let this moment define her. In saying this, Emmaline realizes she must move beyond her grudge against Savvy (the witch who’d made her life Hades in college) + agree to model in Savvy’s charity fashion auction… where, naturally, Savvy thrills in dressing Emmaline in a gown resembling a Ukrainian Easter egg. In the end, it was Mabrey’s typo on the invitations (pm instead of am) causing the guests to arrive that evening.

I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d react if no one showed for my kids’ birthday party. Can’t. Especially when they’re at the age where they would take it personally. But it does happen. And it’s truly not the end of the world. But I could see how it might turn someone off from celebrating his birthday. I wonder if this ever happened to Phil (he won’t even let us sing to him, or wish him a happy birthday more than once). He gets angry about it. “Someone needs a cupcake,” I tell him. Sometimes he smiles. Other years he doesn’t. Now, I tell him it’s too damn bad. “Your birthday is for the kids, so lover, there will be cake, there will be candles, and sweet Christopher on Moore Street, there will be dancing!” And drinking, clearly.

It’s months away, I realize, but the birthday of my beans is approaching. And this will be their first ever birthday party, with invitations and kids their own age. Phil had resisted up until now. And he still might be against it. I can already hear it, “Leave me out of it. You wanted this, so you deal with it.” Poo poo. 

So, help a mama out. What should I do to celebrate my boy/girl twins, turning 4, in the cold (yes, even for Texas, no outdoor party) month of December?



  1. I LOVE the circus theme! I’d post on the invitations that all the kids need to bring one of daddy’s white t-shirts to wear over their clothes, because of course, there will be face painting! There must be “Three Rings’ with something going on each place. One for face painting, one for dress up, and one for showing off their best clown talent! (balls to juggle, hoola hoops to twirl, and if you’re really brave, a pony to ride)

  2. Speaking only for myself, I can’t remember anything about the birthday parties my mom threw me before the age of five. I think as long as there are balloons and cake and a game of some sort, the kids will be happy. I’d say don’t go crazy over this– I’d save up that energy for when they’re a couple years older and can actually remember the details you spend hours on.

    Then again, if this party is really for you and to show your friends how awesome a mom you are, then of course, go nuts. But if you’re at all like me, you are probably spending oodles of time and energy on this instead of writing because it’s a very easy-to-justify procrastination, and because it’s more fun than working.

    For what it’s worth, you’re obviously a good mom, even without color-coordinated place mats for your toddlers’ uber hip themed parties.

    1. I just watched a BBC Reveals on parents who spend tens of thousands of pounds on kids’ birthday parties. In most cases, the kids were kinda embarrassed by the productions their parents put on.

      But I agree, I don’t remember birthday parties until I was in Elementary School and then I remember things like having snowball fights (Feb birthday in Montana) or playing tag.

      I think it’s sick that birthdays have become yet another Keeping Up With the Joneses thing, another competition between parents to show off how much they can afford, another means of measuring how much your kids mean in dollars and cents. It’s not about spending money, it’s about making memories and having fun.

      But what do I know? I don’t have kids. I go to my nieces and nephews parties and I see kids (all under the age of 6) who would rather roll in the grass than play in the bounce house, who would rather play hide and seek than sit and watch an entertainer, who face plant into their 300$ cakes rather than eating on the fancy plates. It just seems silly and it seems to set up expectations that each party thereafter is going to bigger and better and more expensive.

      1. I agree with Bayou. Kids’ parties seem so outrageous these days. Parties should not be about outdoing each other and about impressing others. It’s about creating a fun day for the kids, which can be centered around the simplest things: finger painting, dress up, running around and screaming at the top of their lungs…. If it’s too overwhelming for the parents to organize, it’ll be too overwhelming for the kids to enjoy. There’s something to be said about keeping things simple.

        1. Author

          I agree. I do not want a bounce house or anything absurdly over-the (big) -top. I like simple. But honestly, what kind of kid party do you throw in December? I’m all for pizza and two fantastically delicious cakes. But uh, what do you actually DO with an AT HOME birthday party in COLD WINTER?

  3. Good for you for holding out til 4. I am the idiot who celebrated since 1 yo in a way big enough to ensure that the birthday kid would either be napping or in tears for the whole event. Sounds silly, but the one thing we did each year that was a highlight was making necklaces out of licorice strings and Froot Loops. Its leftover from my childhood, and somehow, has the same appeal.

  4. Arts & crafts based on whatever theme you go with. So if you go with the circus theme, after a game or 2, herd the kids to a long table set up with pre cut cardstock horses or elephants and lots of feathers & glitter & googly eyes & whatnot to dress up the animals for the circus. Of course,I’m not a fan of circus animals…how about an amusement park theme and the craft can be decorating carousel animals. And a carousel cake! OK, that takes care of the 4th bday party. Now let’s talk about the b’nai mitzvot…how adorable will 13 year old Abigail & Lucas be, together on the bimah?? I LOVE twin bar/bat/b’nai mitzvot.

  5. I just did a carnival theme for my four year old–a few simple games, bowling, ring toss, fishing, and basketball throw. Gave tickets sort of randomly for each game, which they put in bags they had decorated at the beginning of the party. After the games, I had a prize table with tons of little trinkets and candy. They didn’t really “get” the idea of 5 tickets for the big prize, so I ended up filling the bags sort of like it was Halloween. The prizes were the party favors and they played with them after the games. We had cotton candy and cupcakes. The game part went much quicker than I thought, I’d plan no more than a half hour for that. We had blow out noise makers with the cupcakes, I think that might have been the biggest hit of the party! A few dads stayed to help with the games and said it was one of their favorite parties of the year.

  6. We did a party with “The Mad Scientist” and the kids were mesmorized. Covered the floor with new blue plastic paint tarps and for the last experiment they made cotton candy. FUN ! Also did a party with a traveling puppet show theater.

  7. I too have been trying to gather ideas for my little guys birthday. He’ll be two on Christmas day. (He was a preemie, born at 28 weeks. If memory serves, yours were that early too.) His will be held a few weeks early because I want his birthday to be all about him and not shared with Christmas.

    Today I was researching themes and all that good stuff. Then, I checked out your site and was relieved to see you are also planning far in advance. Made me feel a little better about planning so early. I love your idea. I may have to steal some of your ideas.

  8. assuming none of your guests have food allergies…..

    – design your own pizza with assorted toppings using english muffins – they could select from traditional toppings with sauce, pepperoni, etc or dessert pizzas that include marshmallow fluff and jelly beans…not a big deal if they don’t eat it and the boys might get a kick out of making some crazy/gross combinations. most pizza places will also sell their dough, then it could be a design your own pizza, plus make and bake a dough sculpture
    – crazy coloured macaroni and cheese (let them select food colouring that the adult adds and then they get to mix)
    – if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, bake large animal crackers that the kids can paint using edible paint – or bake them out of salt dough ahead of time, punch a hole in the top, give them ribbon and let them design their own ornament with regular paint.

    who cares whether or not it fits in with the “theme” – if it’s fun, novel, and is an activity they can do without needing a lot of adult help, chances are they’ll enjoy it.

  9. my friend had a luau for his birthday (in January). normally very conservative, he cranked up the heat, dress-code was bathing suits, shorts, sundresses, and served hot dogs, potato salad, berries, and ice cream.

  10. Best all time Birthday party for a child I ever attended was my friend’s daughter’s vintage circus party. Her child was 4 turning 5. The invitations were a work of art. There were pompom pat hats or paper top hats that were unbelievable as you walked in the door. There was a friend handing out cones of cotton candy, that was being made in a home size cotton candy maker. The entire 3 rooms that the party was held in were decorated in full out vintage big top. They had music on low that was a mixture of old Edith Piaf and kitschy vintage show tunes and songs about the carnival. Sounds bleck, but it was anything but. The food was set on outrageous settings with little paper trapeze acts and tiny paper big tops on the table. Bowls of animal crackers ( think lions and tigers, Oh MY!) striped throws on the deck. There was a popcorn popper with someone putting the hot popcorn in tiny little circus popcorn bags. Animal shaped balloons everywhere. There was pin the tail on the donkey& hula hoop contest. a table of printout animals and vintage circus scenes to color and cups of crayons.Soft squishy balls for the children to juggle with. (or try to)-It was so visually stimulating and vibrant that children and grownup alike were just awed. The cake had sparkler candles, there was a balloon artist that made any animal you liked. The best part, the finish, the real closer. A rental pony that took the babies the length of the yard and back. There was hot chocolate served in amazing circus cups for the babies as they waited their turn. To this day Maggie, their daughter still rates it as the best day of her life. She is 9 now. To this day I still rate it as one of the best parties I have ever attended. It was a visual masterpiece. My friend accomplished this feat by planning way ahead. Making many of the paper items, scouring eBay (before esty was around) and going all out. Sometimes the party is wasted on the child. Other times it becomes a memory they never forget.

    1. LOVE this! It’s always my goal to make a memorable party for my kids…and I’m glad that it’s worked out for some folks! *crossing my fingers* my kiddos remember :)

  11. We’re in Austin and I’ve attended several kid parties with Bonzo Crunch the Clown doing his routine in the family great room and making balloon animals for all. Look him up if you want a clown at your house. Doodle Bug the Clown has performed at our neighborhood Halloween parties…she’s good, too. I cannot believe that I can give 2 good clown references in the City of Austin.

    Also agree about not going overboard, and believe me – you don’t want a zillion kids running around your house or at Main Event or where ever you hold the party. They’re on the young side, and also – believe me you DO NOT want to deal with all of the gifts that your children will receive. In 3 months you’ll be sending them to the Goodwill – bet you don’t even open all the boxes.

    Maybe do a Childrens’ Museum Party. Save the incredible details and cupcake picks for later. You can do big custom cookies for favors – I was very happy with the ones I got from Polkadots!

    Also…lots of kids will be busy with family and holiday parties in December – might you postpone it? Good Luck!

  12. I also live in Austin and have a december baby. Honestly, we’ve had outdoor parties bc it’s hasn’t been cold at any of the 4 parties i’ve thrown for her. She’s turning 5 this year and I’m planning outdoors again (cowgirl/ponies/big pot of chili – i always serve a full meal), though i guess my contingency plan is indoors, arts and crafts project, sing-along movie with lots of hot, buttery popcorn. We did the circus theme last year and it went nicely. just remember – kids want to play and eat fun food. And parents (at least in our group of friends & classmate-parents) have always appreciated beer/wine at parties. not a keg, just an option that isn’t punch.

    And good for you planning in advance…I start in Aug. too :)

    1. Good to know that others out there do have outdoor parties in December. My son is turning 4 and this will be his first real birthday party and I wanted to do it outside if weather permits. We live in Houston.

  13. You could do a small craft table and have them make ornaments and that could also be thier party favor to take home.

  14. >>Savvy thrills in dressing Emmaline in a gown resembling a Ukrainian Easter egg. In the end, it was Mabrey’s typo on the invitations (pm instead of am) causing the guests to arrive that evening.

    This doesn’t feel like anything I would see on TV anymore — it feels like part of a chick lit book. I suspect that was part of the problem.

  15. My mom started taking our birthdays away from the house…she hated having to clean the whole house before everyone came and again after they left. Looking into a party package at a children’s museum or a local pool (in Oregon, pools are generally indoor) would be great! I worked at a pool for ten years and our party package included an hour of pool time for up to 50 guests with a half hour of lobby time and could include a cake, for $125 dollars. Saves money, time, and a big mess in your house! I don’t know what Texas has, but my mom brought food and a cake, she didn’t have to prepare anything else for most of our birthdays!

  16. I don’t know you from a stack of cats, and just stumbled across this page. BUT, as an actual TWIN with a birthday in December, I have a few tips.
    For the love of all that is holy, please, please, never wrap the kids presents in Christmas paper. Ditto, any presents that say “For Birthday and Christmas from X.” Worse, are presents “For A & B, For Birthday and Christmas, from X.” EVEN more horrific, we had a relative whose birthday was the very next day, so,you guessed it, we had one big party…for all three of us.

    This isn’t a big deal for a 4 year old, but let me tell you, never getting your OWN cake (or deciding even what kind) does not make one look forward to birthdays. Bad enough to share a birthday- what, I have to share the freaking cake, too? It isn’t an issue for tiny kids, but when they are older, two cakes will seem like sugar overload, but trust me when I tell you this: everyone wants to blow out their own freaking candles. And small children are not always in the mood for sharing, especially on their birthdays.

    December birthdays are hard. Twin birthdays are hard. The double whammy is, for a parent, pretty difficult.

    Note to parents of guests to twin’s birthdays : your kids get presents on each of THEIR birthdays they don’t have to share with siblings. Buy two comprable, if not identical gifts. I mean it. And I don’t care if you have a lot of Christmas wrap just lying around, go out and get some birthday paper, or at the very least plain wrapping paper/bags.

    Good luck, and sorry for the rant. “bitter, party of one, your table and your cake is ready.”

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