There are many more ways to make the celebration a sweet success!
Here at Sassy Mama, we’re certainly not against cake, but we know that birthday celebrations of late have become far too dependent on it – whether it’s of the elaborate two-tiered fondant variety, or the fancy, perfectly-matching-with-the-theme type or even the sort that’s homemade and baked with love. Celebrating a birthday at school with cake can be a criminal waste as children often lick off the sugary buttercream, leaving a mess of crumbs for teachers to clean up. Of course, the same can apply at a party outside too. With the number of allergies children have these days, it’s difficult to find a cake that meets all the necessary requirements. Which is why we decided to come up with some ideas about how to celebrate your child’s birthday without cake (or at least in a way where it’s not the centre of attention).
Focus On The Food Instead
Kids eat well when they are having fun and in a group (preferably of friends who are good eaters). Instead of loading them up with sugar when they are already high with merriment, try giving them healthy snacks instead. Finger food that’s well presented is sure to be a hit. Sliders, sweet potato fries and chicken nuggets are sure to be well accepted. We love this pumpkin cutlet recipe from Hong Kong food blogger, OneWholesomeMeal and this summer sausage roll from BBC Good Food. Another tip that we’ve followed and found useful is to sneak ground or grated vegetables into sauces and dips, wherever possible.
Remember that your aim isn’t to stuff children so full of food that they feel like beached whales. After all, most parties are post-lunch or take place in the early evening, where the snacks serve as fuel in between the games. Don’t cook or order adult-sized portions only to toss the whole lot away after the party. Leftover food donation is possible in Hong Kong, but it isn’t always easy, especially with strict food hygiene measures. The Food Donation Alliance has some useful tips, if you are considering this option.
Focus On The Games Instead
Given the constraints of space, we can rarely host our children’s birthday parties in our cramped Hong Kong homes. Once we have found a large enough venue, we have to find a way to entertain our little monkeys. It is possible for you to take on the job yourself with some simple, well-loved games. If that’s not your idea of an afternoon well-spent though (no judgment, mama!), why not hire one of the many good party entertainers in town? There are plenty of options to suits all sort of requirements, interests, age groups and budgets. A birthday celebration is not complete without fun, laughs and excitement. That’s what games and entertainment bring to the party. The cake then becomes a sideshow.
Read more: The Best Kids’ Birthday Party Entertainers
Focus On The Gifts Instead
This might seem strange coming from us at Sassy Mama. After all, we’re champions of eco-friendly, less-wasteful living. Don’t worry, we aren’t backtracking. If you are allowing gifts and return gifts at your child’s party, it is possible to give kids thoughtful and useful things that won’t end up in landfill two days later. The key is to look to eliminate those cheap and cheerful plastic goodies that you find at every small stationery shop in the city. Instead, buy party favours that will last a lifetime (or at least a childhood). Personalised gifts, educational and wooden toys, books, board games and DIY activity kits are some of our favourites. Bonus points if it’s wrapped in plantable newspaper or recycled wrapping paper. These heartfelt touches make birthdays all the sweeter, even without cake.
Get The Kids Involved
Most parties will serve up sort of sweet treats along with savoury snacks, so why not let the little ones get involved in making them? That way, you have more control over what goes into them and your child also learns about the amount of effort involved and is likely to be more considerate in his or her demands. You can work with your birthday baby a day before the party to make batches of healthy muffins or easy Rice Krispies buns. You can also turn this into a great party activity and make rocky road with the kids (there are plenty of nut-free options available as well) or host your child’s cupcake-making birthday party at The Mixing Bowl. The perfect way to let children have their cake (and bake it too!).