by Kytka Hilmar-Jezek, Ph.D.
We had a wonderful party for Zachary. He turned seven years old
and following a good rule, we allowed only one child per year
of age, so it was a small and intimate affair.
Knowing that Waldorf teachers do not make a large salary, and
as we are fortunate to have Zacharys birthday in the summer,
I asked our local teacher to "work" at his party and
gave her a donation of $40.00 for 2 hours to "supervise the
I didnt purchase any "party favors" but instead
chose to make our own with Zacharys help. We sought out
polished stones, shells and healthy naturally sweet treats (carob
raisins & nuts and granola bars from the local health food
store). We sewed beanbags with ribbon streamers coming off one
end. We carefully wrapped the polished stones along with some
glass pebbles in colorful tissue and ribbons. We also found a
lovely sticker store and found delightful fairy stickers.
Instead of store bought goodie bags we went to our local craft
shop and purchased simple bags made from recycled paper. We cut
2 holes into the front and weaved a ribbon through which we then
tied. Also, across the front of the bag we pulled out our rubber
stamps and placed a lovely border across the front, along the
bottom of each bag. We also tried to remember how we "do"
goodie bags at our home... well, Zachary remembered that we dont
give them to each child as they come in, instead we wait until
the very end. This is so that the children have something to take
home and keep, and they are not consuming too much sugary sweets
in such a short time!
Guests arrived at 2:00. Miss Michele (the teacher) had several
games planned for the children. They were all drawn to her sweet
singing voice as she began to sing a circle song. They played
several circle and movement games which kept them very active
and moving for about 30 minutes. After that she rang her little
hand held bell and announced that there would be a story under
the tree at the far corner of our lawn.
Meanwhile, I set up the cake, candles, and matches on a small
table. I placed 2 chairs by the table and our long (3 yard) rainbow
silk running from the 2 chairs, like a red carpet, down a walkway.
I placed flowerpots at the ends to hold it into place and I asked
all of the parents to help by placing themselves and their children
into a circle around the silk.
I passed out small cupcakes each with a small beeswax candle in
it to all of the children. I explained to all of the children
that the way we do birthdays is that we each get to have the candle
on our cupcakes lit and we each get to make a wish for Zachary,
so Miss Michele walked from child to child, lighting the candle
and asking each child what they wished for Zachary. "I wish
you to get lots of presents", "I wish for you to play
with me everyday", "I wish for you to be happy"
were some of the wishes. Each child delighted in that they had
the opportunity to blow out a candle and make a wish (and an important
lesson is that they made the wish for someone other than themselves!)
After that, Miss Michele told the wonderful story of Zachary's
Rainbow Bridge As she told the story, all of the children (and
parents) were in awe of Zachary. He sat tall and proud, after
all, this is a celebration of the day of his birth! As she spoke
of him coming over the rainbow bridge, he stood up, walked proudly
to us and then sat with us.
He was so pleased, he was squeezing my hand very hard because
it had such a "ceremonial" feel to it. She then went
on with the story and for each year of Zacharys life with
us, she lit a candle. When all of the candles were lit, she carried
the cake to Zachary who made a wish and blew out the candles.
We all sang "Happy Birthday to You" and the every one
went off to eat cake, cupcakes, and play.
I had written on the invitations that it was a "picnic style
party" and asked everyone to bring their favorite blanket
or lawn chair to sit on. It was very comfortable and calm, outside
under the trees with the cool summer breeze blowing. Miss Michele
took the children on a nature walk through the Bamboo jungle (we
lived on an 8 acre Bamboo Nursery at the time) and the children
loved it. Meanwhile, I did a quick clean up and set out a place
for the opening of gifts.
Now maybe I just have a personal peeve here, but I have noticed
that at each and every party we have ever been to, the gifts get
piled high, the cards and tags fall off, and the child rips through
from one gift to the next. I have always tried to teach that a
person puts much time, care and love into choosing a gift, and
that needs to be acknowledged.
So, for that reason, at our house, the gift giving is done a bit
differently... Each child (and parent) holds onto their gift.
When it is nearing the end of the party, we sit in a huge circle
and I ask that everyone please be patient as Zachary opens the
This may sound kind of tedious for many, but the actual experience
is a great "lesson" for all of us home and un schoolers.
Also, as each child carries and presents his gift, Zachary gives
them the goodie bag. Its nice because each child gets to
open a gift, plus they dont lose it during the 2 hours of
the party... it goes home intact! Ive taught Zachary to
thank each person by looking into their eye and either offering
them a hug or a hand shake and I truly believe that giving and
receiving go completely hand in hand and lend themselves to the
"breathing in-breathing out" rhythm.
I am pleased to say that it went very well. Of course, we will
now spend the next few days preparing lovely Thank you notes,
and at our house... doing that is almost as much fun!
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Kytka Himar-Jezek, Ph.D., is a writer, Certified Childbirth Educator,
Labor Assistant, Doctor of Naturopathy, Minister, Soul Counselor,
Reiki Master/Teacher, Life Coach and most importantly, a mother.
She is the publisher of several family & parenting websites,
two books and a regular weekly column. Reprinted with permission,
this originally appeared in the "Ask Kytka" column at
Learn more about Waldorf Parenting, Homeschooling and Kytka at
This article provided by the Family Content Archives at: http://www.Family-Content.com