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Creating Your Own Birthday Theme: A Surfing Animal Party

Jessica FlanniganJessica Flannigan

        This time of year is busy in our world. We’re in the middle of what our family calls the “birthday season.” We have my birthday, my husband’s two weeks later, my older son two weeks later, followed by Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day and then our younger son’s birthday just in time for the 4th of July. It’s busy and it feels like I’m jumping from hosting one thing to the next in short order. I’ve had to learn to plan things quickly and as simply as possible.

My boys are animal lovers. Every year when it’s time to begin planning each of their birthdays, I start asking them about their favorite things and what they would like for their birthday party theme. It’s typically fairly simple. My older son had a super hero party this year, a completely manageable theme that is common and easy to find decorations, cakes and more for. My younger son, though, decided that this year, he would like a surfing animals birthday party, and in particular, he wanted to focus on “fierce” surfing animals.

“Surfing animals” isn’t exactly a theme you can pick up at your local party store, so I had to get creative.

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How to create your own party theme in six easy steps:

  1. Hire a graphic designer. I’ve found affordable options on Etsy and other sites and I’ve been able to get exactly what I want this way. She designed our invitation, some posters and the backdrop for the dessert table.
  2. A little DIY. I ordered mini plastic surf boards and hot glued my son’s toy animals to the boards. I added a few party hats for a festive feel. Most party themes can be created with a few simple supplies like this.
  3. Make the cake your own. I love to order a very simple cake from a local bakery and then add my own twist. In this case, we added our surfing animals to the cake. The extremely affordable cake was a last minute decision when we were forced to bring our party inside so I ran off to a local grocery store and asked if they could make the cake look like ocean waves. I was so happy with this and it was extremely budget friendly.
  4. Add props. It’s amazing how many things I had around my home that fit this theme in some ways. We incorporated our tent, used lanterns we already owned and every pineapple object I could find.
  5. Create themed games and activities. We originally planned for an outdoor party with a wave pool and water slides, making it easy to bring this theme together. When thunderstorms entered the picture, we moved the party inside. We made it work bycreating a quick seashell craft for the kids, throwing balls and beach balls in our plastic pool with fun beach towels next to it for a pretend pool party and added a beach ball piñata to the mix.
  6. Serve themed foods. We chose simple foods. Our original plan was just to serve ice cream and fruit pops outside. When we moved inside, we switched to cake, cupcakes and ice cream since fruit pops are a mess when combined with 3-year-olds. I picked up fish shaped crackers and surf shaped lollipops. I saw so many cute ideas such as Jell-O cups with “swimming” gummy bears. Whatever your theme is, there are so many easy ways to incorporate the theme into the snacks and beverages without spending too much time or money.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to hosting your next party. You can definitely do it in a very budget friendly way if you’re willing to make it work with things you already own like we did. Having a designer put together the posters and backdrop adds a personal element.

And of course, FedEx Office can handle all of the printing for you.

Order a printable party pack on Etsy or design your own using free software such as Picmonkey. Then let FedEx Office do the rest for you.

How to Print
You have several options of how you can print your own custom party files. You can save the files to a USB flash drive and visit your local FedEx Office for them to print. You can also use the FedEx Office Mobile App to upload the files and then pick it up later, or you can upload them through your desktop using FedEx Office® Print Online.

How to Download and Print:

  1. Download your files from Etsy or other sites.
  2. If you’re using a desktop, click below to get started with FedEx Office® Print Online: com/us/office/online-printing.html
  3. Click on “Set Your Own Print Options”
  4. Upload the PDF file and click “Continue to Print Options”

Most orders can be ready in 24 hours or less by ordering online.

You can have your local FedEx Office team print your backdrop on plain solid paper or have it mounted for a standing backdrop. They can handle party favor tags, signs and more. Any weight will do, although I do prefer a heavier card stock as things tend to hold up and stand up better this way. Your local FedEx Office can do all of the printing for you so you can simply set up and enjoy the party.

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