“Happy Birthday from Around the World” Theme

In my life before kids, I was an event planner. This means events are a big deal to me. And first birthdays are milestone events. So, it shouldn’t surprise you that I started planning my youngest child’s first birthday while I was still pregnant. I knew immediately that I wanted some sort of global theme to celebrate our love of travel. I mean, his newborn announcements had an aviation theme! The idea of “Around the World in 80 Days” was my original plan, but I knew I’d get bogged down in the details. So, that idea morphed into “Happy Birthday from Around the World.” My first stop was Oriental Trading.

Kids from Around the World Decorations

Happy Birthday from Around the World party theme from Oriental Trading
This was main focus area of our Happy Birthday from Around the World theme. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The idea for this party was to focus on our family’s love of traveling the world. It’s a celebration of people and places that we’ve experienced (or hope to soon!) And with themed decor, it’s important to be strategic. We have limited wall space, so we needed to make the most of it.

One of the coolest items from Oriental Trading is their Jumbo Kids Around the World Cutouts. This served as the focal point for our party. The kids reminded me a lot of “it’s a small world” at Disneyland, which is my youngest son’s favorite ride. And I loved the flags! I used the circular cut outs as table decor. These items really anchored the “Happy Birthday from Around the World” theme.

Happy Birthday from Around the World party theme from Oriental Trading
The vintage-inspired travel posters and tissue pom-pom decorations brought the theme throughout our home. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Then, I opted for solid colored party supplies. I picked a few colors for cups, plates, bowls, cutlery, napkins and plastic table covers. My oldest son decorated these with Kids Around the World foam shapes to bring the theme together. I also chose Tissue Paper Pom-Pom Decorations to hang from the ceiling. Finally, I placed these World Travel Posters on all the doors on our main level.

Happy Birthday from Around the World party theme from Oriental Trading
I also wrote “Happy Birthday” in Hawaiian on our wall. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

As one last touch of global inspiration, I wrote “Hau`oli La Hanau” which is the Hawaiian translation for “Happy Birthday.” We were just in Hawaii visiting family and we featured Hawaiian food during the party. We could have easily written “Happy Birthday” in several languages, if we had the wall space.

Food

Happy Birthday from Around the World party theme from Oriental Trading
My 3-year-old decorated the dessert table and helped me arrange these cookies from around the world. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Feeding your guests is super important! Because so many of our guests had little children, we scheduled our party in between nap time. That means it was right at lunch time. And since we had a large number of guests, we provided substantial food options. We went with Hawaiian food for a nod to our “Happy Birthday from Around the World” theme. We featured kalbi beef, mochiko chicken, kalua pork, and island fried saimin catered by our favorite local Hawaiian restaurant.

And one of the most important food items at a birthday party is the dessert! After considering ordering cupcakes, making a cake, or picking up a huge sheet cake, I decided against cake of any sort. In the past, we’ve had tons of leftover cake that ends up getting thrown away. So, we opted to feature cookies from around the world instead! We had French fruit tartlets, Biscoff cookies, Madeleines, and Stroopwafles. Many of them were prepackaged. Several of our guests grabbed cookies to go and we were able to keep extra cookies to use in lunches and special treats.

Happy Birthday from Around the World Goody Bags

Happy Birthday from Around the World party theme from Oriental Trading
I can’t get over how CUTE these goody boxes and bags turned out! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

I get kind of obsessed about take-home items. Oriental Trading had a huge assortment of items that would be amazing in a “Happy Birthday from Around the World” goody bag. We had a ton of kids ages 5 and under at this party, so I decided to do 2 different goody bags.

The one for kids ages 3 and up included: “My Passport” Sticker Books, Passport Stampers, Around the World Rubber Duckies, and snacks. We put all the items in this Kids Around the World Favor Box, which coordinated with the wall cutouts! Kids loved the boxes and my 3-year-old has already started toting other toys in his.

We only had a few really young kids, so I modified the one for kids under 3 years old to include: Around the World Rubber Duckies and extra snacks. My son and I put these in Up & Away Cellophane Bags. We had a few of our littlest guests gleefully clutch them on their way out the door.

We had extra “My Passport” Sticker Books, so I added them to the Goody Bag table display so parents could look through them. At the party, my husband and I encouraged kids to take extras home with them. And we saved some to use on future airplane flights with our kids.

Congrats!

If this birthday party theme doesn’t suit you, Oriental Trading actually has a whole section of their site dedicated to 1st Birthday Party Ideas. No matter what you choose, surviving your first year with a baby is worth celebrating!

Happy Birthday from Around the World party themeOriental Trading provided me with some of my decorations. All opinions are my own.

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9 Comments

  1. Very cute idea. I love that this was an idea you’d been thinking about for a while that you finally brought to light. And the little passport books are a great touch.

    • marciecheung Reply

      It’s so rare that I know exactly what I want to do in terms of party theme!

  2. Great the post! I love the party theme, you must be looking forward to traveling with your child in the future! I hope the party went well.

  3. Love the theme!!! It’s refreshing to see you’ve gone with a theme that is cute, kid friendly yet educational.

  4. I absolutely love this idea! It can be a great way to get everyone excited and onboard, especially when you’re inviting kids of slightly different ages.

  5. Katrina Thompson Reply

    Gwen is still carrying her passport around and “writing” in it. 😉 Such a fun party theme!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Awesome! I’m glad she’s putting it to good use!

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