It takes forethought to resist the trend toward children's birthday parties produced by hired specialists or that are exorbitant "activity" events. It also takes prepwork to balance your busy schedule and plan your child's party on a sensible budget.
Paula Jhung, author of Guests Without Grief (Fireside, 1997), urges parents to simplify. "With so many bells and whistles, we've forgotten how to relax and enjoy our guests," she says. "These are not coronations. They're birthday parties."
Is there a way to host a "simple" party with enough pizzazz to please a discerning prince or princess? Absolutely. These tips will help.