A Special 80th Birthday Party – Part 1 – Activities

This past March our family celebrated a very special lady as she turned 80 years old – my Aunt Mary Ellen.  

AME Pink Vase 800

Because we live states away from one another we haven’t had the chance to celebrate together very often.  So when she decided to come visit in the spring I knew I wanted to plan a birthday party (not just a cake after dinner party but a party that when all was said and done she felt warm and mushy with love on the inside) for her.

We had such fun; and I thought I’d share a few decorating, activity and food ideas that were implemented in her party.  Who knows you might find an idea or two you can use sometime in the future. 

First let’s start with the vase above which was the inspiration of the party.  I found it at a thrift store for $3.99 and loved the polka dots as soon as I saw it – my heart actually beat a little faster.  Another $2.00 was spent on artificial roses – also from thrift store.  I went through my craft supplies and soon I had a centerpiece stick using cardstock, ribbon, stickers, etc.

AME 80 - Theme

Create a focal spot.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  I used card stock, pictures, stickers, easels and a lettered out theme to work up a display on a buffet that is visible from my entryway.  I will always remember how slowly my aunt travelled down that piece of furniture enjoying each picture.    Note:  I did a little research before creating this party and I learned a few things which helped in creating the day.  One of the main things is to remember birthday celebrations for those who reach these milestone birthdays create moments of sadness and joy.  This happens because they’ve lived long enough to experience the loss of a spouse, friends and family.   I chose the theme  because it pointed toward awesome times still to come. 

AME 80 - Photo Props

I wanted to get some cute pictures to help capture the day. Want people to look happy? Give them something that makes them giggle. In our family we have used these oversized glasses from the Dollar Store many times in our celebrations.  So I picked up a pink pair for my aunt. I also created a sign she could hold for her photo shoot.

AME 80 - Game Table

You’re never too old to play so a game table was needed.  A square vase is filled with peppermint candies to hold the sign.  The table included a 50 piece Winnie the Pooh puzzle from the Dollar Store, a children’s football from the Dollar Store, containers of bubbles in ice cream shapes and an adorable popsicle memory game. You can find the memory game HERE  Note:  It wasn’t until I started timing people that everyone began utilizing the table.  Soon there was giggling, puzzle pieces being fit together, memory popsicles being  turned, bubbles being blown,  people tossing the ball and memories being tucked away.

AME 80 - Memory Pages

This easy idea gives the guest of honor something to take home and remember in the days to come. It also helps pull out those sweet things we mean to communicate but somehow are hard to say. I used this form to send out to family and friends that couldn’t be there for the actual day so they could also participate.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my aunt’s birthday party.  Next week I’ll be sharing some more ideas from the party.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a party…

1. Determine budget.
2. What can I ask others to do to help out?
3. What can I do ahead of time?
4. What do I have around my house that can be utilized for the party?
5. Know the person you are giving the party for – what are their likes, do they have any special dietary restrictions, is there a time of the day that works best for their energy level, and are the activities appropriate for them to be involved. These important pieces of information will help make the day special for the one you are wanting to honor.

Sharing Over At:


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  1. Hi Debbie
    What a great party! Thanks for sharing with us at our Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop.
    Sew Crafty Angel

  2. Debbie would you please contact me at sewcraftyangel@gmail.com

  3. Debbie, happy birthday to your lovely Aunt. What a wonderful party. Thank you for sharing your happy memory making xo P.S. I love the idea of writing a note to celebrate her too.

    • Thanks Katherine. I sure had fun planning this for her. She has battled cancer several times and is one of the bravest people I know. She remains hopeful and trusts God with a thankful heart for each day.

  4. Hi Debbie! Stopping by from Katherine’s Corner blog hope. What a neat birthday idea for your Aunt Mary Ellen. Love, love, love the great craft ideas and on a budget too! 🙂 I enjoyed reading your blog. Have a great rest of your week. 🙂

    • Hi Penny,
      So sweet of you to leave a comment – they make my day. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a few dollars and a lot of love.

  5. What a wonderful celebration, I still remember when we celebrated my grandmother’s 90th – she like your aunt had a blast. Hopped over from Katherine’s Corner.

  6. It’s a great party! We threw a surprise party for both of my parents on the 80th. It was a lot of fun. Hope you have a great day!

    • How nice that you threw a party for both of your parents – I’m sure they enjoyed it very much. Thanks for stopping by – appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.


  1. […] Welcome Back for the Second Part of my Aunt’s 80th Birthday Party.   Part 2 will focus on what was served for her birthday lunch. In Part 1 I mentioned the importance of knowing your guest of honor.  For instance my aunt has some dietary restrictions so food needs to be something that is easily swallowed.  I didn’t want her celebration to have food that was different from what others were eating so I planned a soup she could eat, a liquid salad for her (I juiced) and an ice cream bar for dessert.  Then I supplemented with other dishes for others to choose from.  If you missed Part 1 – Activities you can get caught up HERE. […]