Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Exchange Birthday Party

After discussing some birthday ideas with my almost-7 year old, such as a craft party, etc, she settled on a book exchange.  We have harder times with ideas for her, since the weather here is so unpredictable in January.  She absolutely LOVES books, and goes through them very quickly.  She currently has a fixation on the Rainbow Magic books, and also still loves Magic Treehouse books (and FYI if you're not familiar with either series, there is no correlation between them even though Magic is in the series names for both).

She knew we were on a budget, and after all was said and done, we managed to keep the entire party, including our gift to her, which I'll tell you about later, under $100!
The idea behind the book exchange, which grown-ups also do for fun, is to wrap a gently used book that you enjoyed reading.  At the end of the party you each go home with a different book.   This is supposed to be in lieu of bringing a gift for the birthday girl.  I created the invitations in MS Word based on inspiration from Reid Girls Handmade.  It cost me only $3 for copies to be made on cardstock at the local office supply store.  Ribbon and envelopes are always on hand in my craft room, so no extra $ spent there.
We did a game that was like Dirty Santa, but only 1 girl stole from another, so I'm not sure these young girls understood the game part.  (LOL)  It was great watching the girls see their new book in the end, there was a lot of excitement in the room!  Each girl filled out a simple card to place inside that told who brought it and what they enjoyed about the book (see above pic).

I did some very simple decorations.  My daughter didn't want any balloons, so I used green and blue buckets (her favorite colors) to hold flowers and drape ribbon.  The ribbon tied in with the bookmarks that they made.
I bought jumbo paper clips for them to tie ribbon on.  The girls ended up recruiting their moms to help.  I had a bucket of small ribbon pieces, told them to pick out about 10 each, and tie them to the top of the clip.  I thought it was such a cute idea, and the ribbon was no extra cost for me, since I have a TON of it upstairs in my craft room.
Lastly, we had an ice cream social.  The birthday girl did not want cake, since she doesn't like frosting.  So, per her request, we had ice cream, homemade whipped cream, and fresh fruit- a selection of fresh blueberries, sliced strawberries, and sliced bananas.

It was a nice relaxing party, no hustle and bustle, and the girls all had a great time.  Best of all, it didn't break the bank.

Our gift to her was an LED book light that has a charging station (and the special edition book Belle the Birthday Fairy).  We let the girls read at bedtime (we encourage reading), and feel it gives them flexibility and not 'feeling' forced to lay there when they're not yet tired.  We've used glow bracelets in the past to provide them the extra light.  The book light was definitely something she loved- my husband even found her using it in a dark room in the middle of the day one day!


  1. Kelly, this is an absolutely fabulous idea!

  2. I love, love, love, everything about this. Perfect! What a beautiful way to celebrate:-)

  3. what an awesome birthday idea! i used to love reading as a child (+ still do now), so this is totally the type of party i would've loved. awesome, awesome idea, kelly. happy birthday to the birthday girl!

    1. Amy, my inspiration was from a grown-up version of this party, where the host had soup and sammies for her guests and they exchanged books for themselves! Food for thought!

  4. What a lovely celebration for a child's birthday! I like parties that aren't extravaganzas, but instead are filled with real love.

  5. Yeah, that is just a fantastic idea. These photos made me think about this theme for my son’s upcoming birthday bash. Actually he loves books. As he is a kid so I would like to make it more enjoyable for everyone so will be booking the outdoor party venues in NYC.