Last week my baby girl turned three and we celebrated with a Gingerbread Girl Birthday Party!
Having a birthday to celebrate near Christmas wasn’t something I ever planned on, and as busy as this time of year can be I want to always make sure that Plum’s birthday feels special and separate. It turned out to be so fun to plan her party with Christmas in mind and I settled on a Gingerbread Girl Birthday theme, in part because of her red hair. We lovingly refer to her as “our ginger” and gingerbread and Christmas go hand in hand so it was perfect!Christmas is a busy time of year for people so I wanted to keep it short and sweet. This was her first party to invite friends, and because they’re all still so little and not quite ready for a drop-off party I decided to make it a “Mom and Me” event with hot cocoa, gingerbread girl cookie decorating, photos with the cardboard gingerbread house and birthday cake.
Since I don’t have a gingerbread girl cookie cutter ( I had actually never seen one until I looked it up just now and see they do exist) I made a simple gingerbread girl pattern out of cardstock and cut each one out by hand. Luckily, with only four friends invited it wasn’t too much work. The recipe I used was this one, which is so delicious, I highly recommend it.Knowing we would be sitting and decorating around my kitchen table, I decorated that corner of the kitchen with some pretty white and gold pinwheels and a gold pendant banner from My Mind’s Eye. I’ve had them in my party closet for a year and was excited to finally have occasion to use them. The oversized confetti balloon came from the darling local shop Pretty Goods ATX came delivered all blown up. I had used it to take a birthday photo a couple days before the party and it fit right in with the decor. (The window wreaths were a DIY I did earlier in the month.)
I thought it would be fun to have the little girls dress up in their Christmas dresses, since there was a little tea-party vibe to the party. The moms didn’t need to worry about frosting and cocoa on dresses because I provided aprons for both moms and girls, and then sent them home with them as party favors.
I planned to make the aprons myself using one of my dish towel apron tutorials (here and here), but my sweet mom offered to make them all and send them instead. The dark pink aprons with white rick rack were absolutely perfect. Obviously not dish towel aprons, she went all out. The moms received these darling half aprons that matched the little girls. So cute!
With about an hour to go before the party, I recklessly decided to throw together a cardboard gingerbread house as a photo backdrop. My neighbor came to the rescue with a couple large boxes that I flattened, taped together, painted quickly with white acrylic paint on the driveway, cut away the roof, and then stuck the whole thing up on the wall (with a couple nails because it seemed the most efficient method!) The little gingerbread girl house turned out so darling and was just the thing we needed to pull the whole party together. Before everyone left we took some fun mommy daughter pictures with it that I could send out along with a thank you for coming.
We served Dulce de Leche white hot cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles (sprinkles on cocoa is a new family favorite!) I found these darling tree stir sticks at Target, along with the mini trees that I put on top of the cake. They were too cute to pass up and added a little nature vibe to the party, which I love.
Once everyone was settled with an apron and a cocoa, we sat down and decorated!I had one big cookie for each mommy daughter pair and then some different colors of buttercream, an assortment of holiday sprinkles, and some festive candy. I know buttercream is not a normal icing for gingerbread, but thought it would be more fun for a three-year-old to spread and decorate with than piped royal icing. The girls went wild with the options, of course, and their gingerbread girl cookies turned out completely adorable.
It was especially fun to have the one-on-one time with moms and daughters. All of the friends we invited have several siblings and might not get as much mommy time as the oldest ones always do. I loved seeing all of these little ones sitting on their mammas laps, smiling and sprinkling. After decorating we piled into the patio room and watched Plum open her gifts. Watching kids open birthday gifts was always part of a birthday party when I was younger, and I always loved seeing what they received and watching them open what I had chosen. Somehow in the last couple years I’ve noticed not many families open gifts at the party anymore, and decided since I enjoyed it when I was young, I’ll try to include it when I can at our kids parties. Everyone seemed pretty excited about watching, then playing with some of the gifts before they left.
We also took some fun photos of the group in their aprons, and some mom and daughter photos. Maybe it’s the blogger mama in me to love creating photo opportunities. I loved being able to send some photos over to friends after the party. We finished with cake. I found a plain white cake in the bakery at Target. Did you know they sell these? Honestly, they don’t taste amazing, but they are really pretty and easy! Together with the tree toppers I found in the dollar spot and three golden candles, the cake was simple and pretty.
All in all the gingerbread girl birthday party was a huge hit and so simple for me to throw together, even with Christmas coming in fast. In fact, adding activities that already feel like part of the Christmas season make the celebration feel like a wonderful addition to the calendar rather than something extra we needed to host. I loved every bit of it, and think Plum did too.
She has been the most sweet and incredible girl and brightens every day. We’re super lucky to have her in our family, and I am excited to continue celebrating her as she grows up!