Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Party Themes 101

Brainstorming Themes

Why do I need a THEME?

Here's how dictionary.com defines theme:

THEME:  a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc., as in a work of art.

                    AS IN A WORK OF ART

ART is what makes life juicy and worthwhile.  I try to put art into everyday.  Now, mind you, I can't even draw the simplest stick figure- without following a step-by-step "how to draw a stick figure" manual.  Yes, they make those.  Google it.

So I'm not talking about the creating of a masterpiece on canvas.  Unless I am having an art party.  Then I guess I'd have to sneak in a step-by-step manual for that....you get the point.

ART is so much more than pictures and paintings.  ART is what makes your memories smile.  You know, when you think back on something you have done or seen or heard.  That part that makes your heart smile, that's ART.

And in my opinion, every party should be a work of ART.  Something people will think back on and smile about.  If there's no heart smiling, no WOW factor, then aren't you just adding one more thing to your TO DO list?  Raise your hand if you are just dying for one more thing on your to do list.  That's what I thought.

You want ART.  You want WOW.  Thus arises the need for a theme.

The beauty of making hearts smile, is that the "to do's" associated with your party will be FUN.  Not just one more thing you dread doing.  They become something you can't wait to do, because you can't wait to see all the smiles- especially on the face of the party's guest of honor.  

I can hear my friend Kari rolling her eyes at the thought that a "to do list" could be fun (yes, her eyes roll loudly and I can hear them through the ether).  I know some of you are skeptical.  But trust me.  What have you got to lose?  You have to throw that party, right?  You already committed to it, didn't you?  Well, do you want to dread it or enjoy it?  Ok then.  Jump on board.

I'm not talking about your typical "tea party" or "Bob the Builder" theme.  Mind you, I can show you how to turn one of those over done, over-commercialized themes into something that people will never expect or forget.  But when brainstorming a theme, there are NO LIMITS.  So, go crazy.  Make it happen.  Be GREATNESS.

I am constantly thinking about types of themes for parties, but when "brainstorm themes" is on my to do list for the week, I put pen to paper.  For 15 minutes.  I promised you 15 minutes.  That's all it takes to come up with a FABULOUS theme!

So, here's what you do.  Grab some paper, or your phone note pad, or whatever floats your boat.  My sister Sara and I have been known to come up with some amazing ideas on a cocktail napkin and a borrowed pen.  You need something to document your ideas.  

Now you need a timer.  Or a set amount of time.  I don't use a timer unless I am dreading the task.  But if I find myself procrastinating, I will grab a timer and set it for 15 minutes.  As my organizing guru at www.flylady.net (loove me some flylady!) states, "You can do ANYTHING for 15 minutes."  So, if you are not feeling the mojo, set your timer.  Trust me, it will free your mind and allow those creative juices to flow as it quiets those nagging, "I don't have time for this" thoughts.  If you don't use a timer, just make sure that you don't brainstorm so long that you start to get tired of it.  The trick to loving something is to stop yourself always wanting for more, right?  So...15 minutes.  The end.

Alrighty, let's say I am brainstorming themes for my daughter's 5th birthday party.  I would sit down, alone or with my partner in crime- aka my sister Sarita, and start jotting down possibilities.  In the words of my 4th grade writing teacher, Mrs. Baird, the wackier the idea- the better!  

I just start writing what comes to mind, thinking of things she likes or is interested in.  And, of course, I throw in ones that I am secretly pumped about and hoping she will love too.

Monkey's Bday Theme Options:

backward party
fossil excavation
dress up
bike parade
back to nature
willie wonka (the book we're reading right now)
wizard of oz (the book she wants to read next)
kids in the kitchen
yoga pretzels
kindergarten kritters
pet picnic
pen pals

Then I get up and move on with my week.  Sure, this festers, and I start to think about how I could do a Willie Wonka party without candy.  Or what a pen pal party would look like.  But the idea is to get my ideas flowing and to get excited.  

That's all.  Check it off the list.  You have officially brainstormed your theme!  And you are right on track for a WOW party.  Woo hoo!


  1. that or i pick a theme im obsessed with (aka pirates) and i spend a couple of years grooming her to pick it when the time is right. im just that good...

  2. um...then what ever happened to the monster party?