I was adamant about organizing the birthday party for my daughter. Not only because I still don’t know how I will start interacting with the parents with my not-so-good German, but also because I don’t know how things run here in terms of birthday parties. I didn’t want to disappoint my daughter.
In Dubai, Birthday Parties were easy.
I shop for birthday party venues comparing prices and activities, organize birthday party cakes, paper plates, and eating utensils for the parents.
Our chosen venue usually provides the following:
- Children’s food and beverage is usually a choice from hamburgers/french fries, chicken nuggets/ french fries, or pizza/french fries, plus ice cream for dessert, depending on your budget.
- The venue organizes the games prizes and giveaways
- The venue provides the (theme) decoration and balloons of your choice depending on what’s available with them. You are also free to add more given that you have enough time between the birhtday party prior to your event and your special ones birthday party
- The venue will provide you with the party invitations as soon as you book the venue on your desired date and paid the necessary down payment.
- The hosting and coordination of the games along with the dancing and, of course,
- The after-party activities like access to an indoor theme park
All we have to do is bring the cake that our children want, which is easy to order from a bakeshop or hotel. We also need to organize the food and beverages for the parents attending, and if we need to add a piñata to the party, we’ll have to bring that too.
I would highly recommend Magic Planet – Mall of Emirates, Fun City – Oasis Center, and Sky Zone – Ibn Battuta Mall for bigger kiddos aged six to nine.
Believe it or not, it is that easy to organize a birthday party in Dubai. It doesn’t have to be expensive, some of which you can even get a discount if you have a friend working at ‘Landmark’ as an example where you can get a 20% discount at Fun City, but please don’t quote me on these as these sort of employee privilege could change without notice.
As my daughters’ birthday is about to come, I was worried about many things like interaction with people – I mean, I’m honest here – it’s easy to feel scared when you’re not confident, like the food – what are we going to serve? We will have children that are gluten and lactose intolerant how are we going to manage? Are we going to have enough seats to be placed in the garden? What about the weather, what if it rains? We’ll have to bring them to our apartment, which is okay, but do we have enough space? What about the party games? How is it going to be hosted? I don’t want the children to feel bored and hungry.
I’ve decided to have my daughter involved with the party organization, from the invitation, decoration, giveaways, party games, and the whole program.
The Party Invitation
The party invitation is as easy as (black and white) printing on colored paper where you can write the details of the party, I only opted for three balloons as the picture on the side and had the kids color these three balloons with the color that they want. Once all invitations were printed, cut, and colored, I got my daughter to write the names of each child she wanted to invite to the party. The invitation turned to be personalized by her.
The Birthday treat for everyone
I also went shopping for chocolates and candies for her to be given away to her entire class because her birthday falls on a weekday, the whole class was given four pieces of treats for them to enjoy. I’ve also prepared a separate set of candies and chocolates for the after-party with slightly different varieties of treats. I also have to ensure that there will be more treats including gluten and lactose-free chocolates to be given away as prizes as they play games.
Birthday Party Food and Drinks
My husband and I have decided that we will keep the food as simple as possible to be able to accommodate everyone’s needs and preferences, so we’ve decided to cook the simplest – hamburgers, home-made chicken wings, french fries, and gluten-free pasta with fresh tomato sauce (not the canned one, the sauce was cooked from real tomatoes). I’m fortunate that my husband has had worked in the kitchen as an Executive Chef for years, so catering has been the least of my problem, which is (really!) surprising – because in Dubai, during the times when we have planned to have gatherings at home, my mom would cook about 90% of the time. I’m useless in the kitchen, which is another point for me to be grateful for is realizing how forgiving my family is with my culinary skills.
Just like any party, I had to ensure that they will have something salty to snack on like (Gluten-free) chips, and something very special for them to drink such as Fanta, Coca Cola, Sprite, Apfel Schöle, and water (still and carbonated water of their choice because some children prefer to drink still water or cannot drink carbonated water)
My husband baked the homemade cake covered with raspberries and berries, it was so similar to the wedding cake that we’ve had ten years ago, the same cake that we’ve always ordered every year for my daughter’s birthday because it has been since her favorite. The cake that we’ve always ordered from Dubai World Trade Center where my husband used to work and I’m so surprised that he did get the recipe spot on.
Mini Home Party Decorations
We’ve decided we’d keep the deco minimal, just a couple of garlands here and there, and a Paw Patrol ‘Happy Birthday’ banner since the plan is to invite her group of friends for a Paw Patrol cinema on the coming Saturday. Paw Patrol was also the most available at the supermarket, so we went with Paw Patrol.
One of the main changes, when we moved here to Germany is that we are always together as a family when there’s no school or other appointments that we have to attend to. It is always a family activity even when we are running errands like grocery shopping. I’ve made a list of things we’ll need for the party, including gluten and lactose-free products, pasta, and cupcake mix. We were lucky with some of the items and not so lucky with some, like gluten-free french fries.
The Party Games
My daughter has only invited her closes friends from school, so we only had about ten children in total, the same children that she spoke to in school and planned some of the games they want to play.
- ‘Topfschlagen’ or beat the pot in English, and no it wasn’t at all similar to playing the Piñata, it’s basically putting candies inside the pot that will be hidden by the kids. The player of the game will have to be blindfolded and will be holding a wooden spoon to look for the pot. The children that were not playing will say “Heiß” (hot) when the player is getting closer to finding the pot or “Kalt” (cold) when the player is going opposite to the direction of the pot. The player will only then have to follow the voice of the other kids.
- ‘Reise Nach Jerusalem’ or Trip to Jerusalem, one of the most popular parlor games that are played often in children’s birthday parties, it is also called Musical Chairs as it involves chairs arranged in a circle facing outwards where the children will go around while dancing with the music, as the music stops each child must find a chair to sit on, the last child not being able to find a chair leaves the game along with one of the chairs being taken away, this leaves having one child more than the number of chairs to seat on.
- Pass the Hot Potato, I had to divide the children into two groups for this game, the easiest is Girls vs. Boys to which they are happy about. Each group was given a spoon and a potato to balance as they walk towards a chair and around, pass the spoon and the potato to the next player until they finish, the first group who completes three rounds wins.
- The Bottle game, and No this is not the usual truth or dare bottle game, it’s a much more friendly one and was played right after they have eaten their meals. Like an opening of gifts ceremony, whoever the bottle pointed after a spin, my daughter will have his/her present opened on spot.
The party is a success when you see that the birthday celebrant and her guests are happy. We are pleased that we were able to manage it ourselves as my husband prepared the food, I supervised the kids’ activities. Parents have only dropped their children at our home at around 1400 and came back at 1800 to collect them. Some good friends of ours stayed to have a bit of beer and wine while the kids watch a nice children’s movie from Netflix. It was very nice.
Oh and about the cleaning up, we have a small apartment and all our attendees were so well behaved that there’s not a lot of cleaning up to be done, even though part of the house is carpeted. We were able to tidy everything up including the kitchen on the same night, only leaving with us some balloons and great memories of my daughter’s ninth birthday party in Germany.