We know that seventy percent of American’s are either overweight or obese, and we know that nearly everyone is either on a diet, just off of a diet, failing a diet, or considering a diet, so why do we fight so hard to keep in place the habits—albeit traditions—that got us here?
Yes, food is delicious and fun. But when you break down the amount of time devoted to planning the food, preparing the food, and eating the food, these major life moments and celebrations can pretty much be dialed down to: food and eating, eating and food. But what does putting things in our mouths have to do with birthdays or holidays?
We posted about taking birthday cake out of birthdays earlier this year and about sent people through the roof, as though we were recommending a form of child abuse. We’d counter with the notion that it’s near child abuse to be filling our kids with a drug that has a mighty grip on millions of people: sugar, sugar, sugar.
But . . . what on earth does a birthday party without cake and food even look like?
Who wants to be those parents? If you replace the edibles with some fun and adventure, we promise you it won’t even be missed.
Here are 7 way-cool ways to celebrate another year without food and cake:
1. Party favor treasure hunt:
Whether a walk around your neighborhood, or a trek through a local park, or geocaching throughout your community, a little pre-planning and clue-dropping will keep your peeps on their toes and fully engaged in where and what the next non-edible treat will be. Personal water bottles for hydration and nap sacks, for treasure collection, will keep them moving until it’s time to go home.
2. Split the scene:
Hop in the car, board a plane, get on a boat, yo! Plan an adventure that keeps you and your crew adventuring. Travel to a favorite landmark, or a new city altogether, or a favorite place on the lake. Go fishing, check out a yet-to-be-discovered area of your city or outlying area. Get out and explore the world around you.
3. Swim it off:
Forgo the party room with pizza and cake and frolic in the water for a couple of hours. If you know someone with a private pool, ask to borrow it or rent space at a city pool or the YMCA. Find one with a slide and other attractions to keep the water splashing and kiddos laughing. For the warmer months, you can set up a host of sprinklers for a backyard sprinkler party, mix it up obstacle-course style for some unexpected fun.
4. Create a party favor cake:
If you can’t quite snap out of holding the party inside the house, and you are worried about the glaring lack of cake, then, by all means have cake! It can be all sorts of sweet, but not edible. You’ve seen diaper cakes, right? A popular baby shower centerpiece constructed of diapers, bottles, little outfits, shoes, socks, toys, pacifiers, you name it! You can construct your own version by using party favors the guests can tear into/dismantle right after the last note of the happy birthday rings out.
5. Take a hike:
Caravan your party people, or have them meet you at a trailhead for some romping in the woods fun. You can pre-make nature bingo cards with pictures of objects found locally, including animals, and bring along themed non-food prizes to hand out along the way. Be sure to pack enough bingo cards and pen dobbers for each kiddo. Have them bring water bottles or create/have made personalized bottles for everyone.
6. Host a volunteer party:
What’s the passion of the birthday girl or boy? Are pets their thing? Contact the local animal shelter and ask what their needs are. Baked dog biscuits? Host a dog biscuit baking party. Kitty blankets? Host a kitty cat blanket making party. Dogs need to be walked? Host a group on location to walk/socialize/play with the canines. In lieu of gifts, have guests bring something to contribute to the cause or make a donation in the birthday kiddo’s honor.
7. Construct personal time-capsules:
Have your party people bring special trinkets they don’t mind parting with such as copies of favorite photos, or small items from their younger years. Be loaded with art supplies to decorate their time capsule tubes (which can be found at crafting stores), and special papers for them to write notes and poems to their future selves, and one to the birthday boy or girl, too. Have some pre-made memorabilia from the party they can include, as well. Agree on 1, 5, or 10 years out, from the day of the birthday party, to open them . . . perhaps even together at a future party.
The name of the “no cake” movement is to indulge in adventure, and to create new experiences that will last in their memories far longer than the cake will last on their waistlines. The world is a vast land of opportunities… what better way to celebrate the special day someone entered the world than to go out and LIVE?