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How to plan a different 60th birthday party

March 11, 2014


Part 1. Hatching the idea.

I’ve been to plenty over-the-hill parties given at the ripe age of turning 40 (and 50, 60, 65), and after about the second one, I was tired of the gravestone themes (especially when so many loved ones die for real way too early); the boxes of “senior” diapers given (especially when your own dad has to start wearing them); and the gag gifts of prune juice and fanny floss.

So for my husband’s 60th, I wanted to do something a little different that was in the spirit of my husband’s many interests and loves through his life so far. Two years ago when I had a decade birthday my daughters threw a wonderful surprise (not to be topped) party where the highlight was everyone pitching in to make homemade yeast raised donuts in the church kitchen. We had made such donuts at least one other time for a party and they wanted to repeat that.

BdayMelodie60thThe donut party. Photo by Brian Sinclair

Now that was a party to pull off without your mother’s knowledge, but just beneath surface of her kitchen activity. One daughter gradually whisked all of the supplies out of our kitchen and transported them to the church kitchen, and then disappeared for the day (under the ruse of doing Christmas shopping) to mix, knead and raise the dough—and meanwhile decorate and pull all of the other birthday elements together. I still marvel at how they pulled that off—and arranged for one sister who lives about 400 miles away to come and REALLY surprise me. I was blown away (read more about that one, here.)

BdayMelodie60thSurpriseThe surprise. Photo by Brian Sinclair

So in asking my daughters what we should do for their father’s 60th, I proposed continuing the Davis theme of holding a homemade donut party, but this time at our house. One of them suggested why not make homemade funnel cakes instead—wouldn’t that be a little easier? Yes! Absolutely. We frequently (read, I) made them on for breakfast on holidays when we didn’t have any other big plans: Memorial Day, Labor Day, New Year’s Day.

From there my mind took the next logical leap: here in the Shenandoah Valley, funnel cakes are lawn party food. Why not re-create a lawn party right in our own living room/kitchen/dining room (it being early March and all, in the winter that just wouldn’t go away.) I’ve already written about how through the summer, where there are local lawn parties going on almost every weekend, that’s one of my husband’s favorite weekend activities.

By e-mail, the girls and I brainstormed activities and foods.


We made invitations.


Those were the easy parts. The next steps were actually carrying out the grandiose and somewhat half baked ideas. To be continued.

An indoor carnival of sorts is not your thing? The key is finding something that is “the thing” of whoever you are celebrating. They are big into sports? Hunting? Fashion/shopping? Foodie? Hiking? What do they enjoy doing? That might be a theme and help pull something together they’ll remember until at least the next decade. We hope.

Part 2:  On my blog this Thursday, how my three daughters helped pulled off an indoor lawn party without an entire ladies auxiliary or Ruritan Club helping. Working around the needs of two babies who let their needs be known frequently.


Part 3: On Friday, making the homemade funnel cakes–the recipe and how to’s.


Have you planned a different kind of decade birthday party? What worked? What didn’t? I’d love to hear from you.

Here are some more “commercial” ideas, and a Pinterest Board of more ideas.

And here is a beautiful recipe and coffee table book with Celebration ideas throughout family life.



From → Family Life, Food

  1. Mary permalink

    I don’t think this posted before: For our daughters 30th birthday we did a 3rdth birthday party. a party for a 3 year old complete with noisy makers, balloons and gifts appropriate for a 3 year old. For .40th birthdays we do a princess party with crowns for everyone and princess attire for the birthday girl. Oh and princess gifts for her also.

    • Well that sounds original and fun too! Thx for reposting. I don’t think you’ve posted a comment before. Sometimes the set up on many blogs gets so picky with accepting a person’s email or name or whatever and I get discouraged on other blogs and just move on. Hope that doesn’t happen here!

  2. Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

    What fun you are having preparing for the party and it sure sounds like an original idea I must admit I am not very good at coming up with ideas for things like this but I am always ready to help in any way I can when one of ours come up.

    • We did have fun–a great way of reconnecting when family members live at a distance. Everyone needs helpers to put plans into action, too, so it’s great to have those who pitch in and make it happen.

  3. Brooke W permalink

    Aww this is great! Planning my mom 60th birthday party next week so thanks for the blog. Was looking at some cute ‘turning 60’ sayings I may use as well. I’ll post them here: 60th Birthday Slogans

    • I will check out your birthday slogans. I’m glad this was good inspiration for you. This post is actually one of my top 3 posts with frequent viewers even several years later!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. How to have a lawn party in your house | findingharmonyblog
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