Who needs decorations and party planner when you have Christmas! Cristiano’s birthday is during the 12 days of Christmas so I planned this over the top party with a budget that did not break the nut—pun intended.
Christmas tree, check, garland, check, ok and totally free, but it was still a little sparse. We watched Disney’s the Nutcracker and the Four Realms over and over until we figured out a plan. Honestly, I was a struggling a bit, I had to tie in the roses somehow (from the monthly roses shots we did), but thanks to Anna and Tina who religiously watched this with me, they actually figured it out for me. They said we had to do one room staged like the opening Christmas party at Clara’s Godfather’s house with the string game with gifts, we needed a flower room to tie in the roses, we needed a candy room, a snow room, and they wanted the fourth realm, but we ran out of time.
I went on Etsy and got some scores on Nutcracker themed plates, party favors, and decorations, it was so close to Christmas that they were already discounted due to arrival after Christmas. But I waited until after Christmas to hit the stores for total scores. We filled the candy room with European candy from Home Goods, every Christmas item was ½ off, but what Home Goods and most non-church going folks don’t realize is Christmas starts on Christmas day, so thank you secular world. Michael’s also had heavily discounted items helped us fill the room, we got candy garland and pink puffs to decorate the cabinets and chandeliers, string for the main room, and snow for the snow room. Finally, we hit Trader Joe’s they have the prettiest roses and rose champagne—all at low prices, but luxury look of course.
We stayed up until 3am setting everything up, I am not exaggerating. Thank goodness for Christmas break, I had Anna and Tina, we set up string game, put out all the roses, set up the candy room and it looked fab!
Day before the party I waived the flag and used Instacart for shopping. I also finally scored the birthday surprise—a nutcracker ballet performance.
But I did cook! Mom’s stop catering, its so easy to cook, it is way less expensive, tastes better, less waste, I will never go back to catering. For appetizers, I had Italian lunchmeat and cheeses, chips, breadsticks, and dips. I had made tomato sauce earlier in week, I made baked ziti and salad. I wanted Chris to grill sausage, but he cheated and ordered premade from Rex’s (the best fast Italian in Chicago—very Sicilian), and my mom made Sicilian-style eggplant parmesan (different than what you are used to, so good). During the party, I got a little too ambitious and wanted to serve courses, but didn’t prepare right so it was kind of a mess—almost ran out of plates. Next time I’ll use my grandmother’s china and pre-plate all the plates so I can. I love coursed meals at home! Do you?
While we were playing the string game where everyone could claim their mini-nutcrackers , swords and rat king hats (they may or may not have been left overs from the Peter Pan first birthday bash I threw for the older girls birthday), the ballerinas arrived. They started with the Arabian dance—my favorite—I almost screamed and clapped during the acrobatics, but didn’t want to make her fall! Then continued with dancing in the snow with the kids for the Waltz of the Flowers, they then divided the kids up into team Nutcracker and team Rat King where they got to use their swords (they loved that one), they learned how to bow and we got one last dance to Dance of the Reeds by the prima ballerina. Can I tell you how much fun we had with this—someone asked if I was going to get him dancers for his 21st—LOL!
We finished with dessert, I ordered Cream Puff Cake from Italian Bakery in Addison—my favorite—the kids had cupcakes and my mom’s Christmas cookies. The espresso machine overflowed during the set up, but luckily my Dad and Chris cleaned it and the whole kitchen while the kids left with goody bags filled to brim with candy. And that is how you do a first birthday party.
For more images, videos, and pictures, check out my instagram @theresapanzicak.
Girls’ Clothing: Lapin House Oak Brook
Cristiano’s Nutcraker Outfit: Bibiona and Olla Children’s Wear
Food: Tony's Finer Foods, Rex's Italian Foods, Italian Bakery
Ballerinas: Carol Dilts
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