I have a bit of an issue with parties. I enjoy attending them, but throwing them tends to bring me out in a bit of a cold sweat. As a highly dedicated introvert and quiet cat lady the idea of voluntarily filling my home with drunk people to whom I have promised an evening so good as to forsake all other weekend plans seems like a strange kind of self-induced torture.
As a result, I haven't thrown a birthday party for years, opting instead to age silently in the shadows like the picture of Dorian Grey. But this year, seeing as I was actually kind of happy to be a year older for once, I wanted to celebrate. With actual people. And food. And drinks. But not a 'party' as such. Solution? A stitch and bitch party.
Of course! They were all the rage in New York circa 2013 and incorporate all the elements of a party (cocktails, chit chat, friends) without the party bits (stumbling, puking, overcrowding, breaking of my furniture) with some added crafty activities to keep everyone entertained and conversation flowing. So that's what I did for my 26th. A stitch and bitch.
Here are my top tips for holding a similarly chilled but fun birthday anti-party party.
TIP NUMBER 1: CHOOSE EASY CRAFTS
It's not a party party, but it is a party. So people don't want to spend the evening deciphering instructions or discovering just how tricky crochet really is. Something which anyone can do and which causes minimal mess (if possible) is usually a good bet. That way everyone can get involved and give it a good stab even when their two bottles of red in and not 100% coherent. Red-wine-proof crafts is what we're after here.
I went for paper maché Christmas decorations (so early OMG but I don't care), which people could easily decorate with pens, glitter glue and sequins, without having to use paint (paint + wine = no). I also picked up some embroidery hoops so people could stitch their own messages, again without paint.
TIP NUMBER 2: DON'T COOK
Look, you don't have to listen to me. You can make fillet steaks and a gingerbread chateau if you want to (invite me to that party), but since I wanted to be involved with people more than my oven during the evening I decided to forego cooking and ask everyone to chip in for pizza. If you're providing all the crafty stuff, asking guests to put a few pounds towards a collective pizza fund is totally acceptable. Or rather, I'm telling myself it is because that's what I did.
TIP NUMBER 3: ENCOURAGE BAD BEHAVIOUR
Crafts-wise. Trust me, some deep dark truths about your friends will be revealed by the simple combination of wine, nibbles and a basic creative outlet. And you can keep the evidence and hang it on your walls. Call it art, call it grounds for blackmail, it's kind of both. One friend from school stitched me a Happy Birthday message with an 'empowering feminist vagina picture' beneath it. Now that's an evening well spent.
What do you think? Would you try a stitch and bitch for your next get together?