Wednesday, September 23, 2009

LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!! (can you hear my sarcasm?)

I am in the middle of two birthday parties. Just finished torturing our selves with my 12 year olds sleep over birthday party and about to celebrate my youngest daughters first little girl party (or "princess party" as her majesty would like to call it) at 4 years old.  Kids are kids and not much changes there.  They are all still going to sing (at the top of their lunges), dance, fight and engulf their lips with red lipstick (if you are dealing with 12 year old girls).

Adult birthday parties are not exactly like the Canadian parties I was used to, unless we are talking about a birthday party being held at a retirement home (please don't flame me lol).

step 1.  enter the home and be greeted with three awkward kisses on the cheeks.
step 2.  congratulate everybody individually for the birthday persons birthday (even if they had nothing to do with the birthday what so ever) - this is once again usually done with the awkward three kisses.
step 3. find a seat.  chairs will usually be lined up nicely in a circle in the living room (including the couch set).
step 4.  the birthday person will offer you coffee or tea.  This is served with a single cookie or the birthday cake, vlaii or tompoece.
step 5. conversation tends to emerge in the circle of doom birthday circle.
step 6. birthday person will serve drinks ie. cola, juice and if you are ever so lucky a beer or wine.
step7. birthday person will put snacks out on the table - this may or may not include cheese blocks, pretzels, ham rolled around pickles, vegetable platter, chips, crackers with egg or crab salad.
step 8. birthday person will attentively make sure that nobodies drink goes empty and no plate or platter gets down to the last few pieces of food.
NOTE: the birthday person will barely ever sit down.
step 9.  somebody will finally build up the nerve to say that they must leave early and everybody will follow.
step 10.  the birthday person is left to clean up the mess.

As you can see the circle of doom begins even at the young birthdays.

The kiddie parties are pretty much the same as I remember as a child except you don't put a card on the gift - it is pretty much assumed who the gift is for and there is no child who can go with out saying "that one is from me".  Houses are usually decorated with a garland of flags, balloons and sometimes a banner (not much difference there).  Kiddies wear a pointed birthday hat and go home with a goodie bag just like I remember having as a child.

flag garland "vlaggetjes"

One thing that is very different is "trakteren".  This would be a treat the children would bring everybody in their class at school - whether it be a cupcake, cookies or sometimes even a small cheap toy.  What I have done when my daughter left pre-school to go to public school (and I will use this idea again for her upcoming birthday) is turning a tube of smarties into a butterfly. 
Adults will also bring something to share with their colleagues at work, usually cake or tompuce.

The butterflies "vlinders" I made for my daughters class.

There is a song the kids sing in Dutch to the Happy Birthday tune - I will translate it:

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you,
In the field there is a cow,
the cow says I love you,
Happy Birthday to you.

It rhythms a little better in Dutch but you get the idea lol.

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