Chloe’s 7th: A Retrospective


You never really get tired of seeing your children at their happiest

The Comeback

First of all, the happy announcement: after a long, 3-year hiatus, I’m back. And by “I”, I don’t mean Party Magic, as we never really left in the intervening years; even during the pandemic, Party Magic continued to serve its mission to all families and children: to help them make magical memories. When I said I’m “back”, I meant I’m back at it, typing away in front of my laptop, writing again. It feels really good to be putting my thoughts into organized words, but then again, I also don’t regret the years that passed with me being away from the keyboard. 😁

Why, do you ask?

Well, for one, the pandemic really gave me the breathing room that I didn’t know I needed. With Party Magic (then) running for 7 years, it meant 7 years of me running around, meeting clients, designing events, and setting them up. It meant 7 years’ worth of weekends working. It meant close to a thousand parties made by the Party Magic team (yes, it’s true, we actually counted!).

It feels really bad to say this, given all the horrors that happened back in 2020-2021, but I kind of miss those quiet days.

Chloe’s Drive-by 7th 🚗

Which brings me to the main topic of this post. You see, the pandemic allowed me to do what I’ve secretly wanted all these years: to throw drive-by party for my children.

It was the exact medicine that I needed! (yes, Chloe benefited too! 😉)

Drive-by, at-home parties have that unique quality that no “regular” party has: intimacy. A positive side-effect (and maybe an essential one for others) is also cost-efficiency. Because the whole celebration is at home, you do away with the largest line item in your budget: venue rental fees.

We had our gate open for the duration of the event, and cleared out the garage. The open area was sufficiently spacious enough to hold our stage, and the “entrance” as well (we positioned a large, see-through arch right as you enter).

For the theme, Chloe was already big enough to choose her own: Gacha! It’s amazing how kids find the most weird interests nowadays. Or maybe it’s really just a sign that I’m growing old 😂. “Gacha”, for the uninitiated, are those small toys sold in vending machines in Japan. The Gacha aesthetic refers to a specific style of anime drawing that shows figures with enlarged eyes and small figures (see the character in the photo below):

Speaking of weird hobbies, over the pandemic Sofie and Chloe also took one up: Youtube content creation! At one point, the sisters were addicted to creating and animating Gacha videos. Pat even joked that the house was becoming a meme factory. Amazingly, the girls accumulated close to 2,000 subscribers over the course of just a couple of months! Check it out here.

As people starting arriving, Chloe’s excitement was palpable. It had been a distance-learning year for her in school, and I could see that she had been craving for in-person interaction, especially with her friends.

As always, Den of Delightful Little Darlings was FANTASTIC in capturing these photos. Gratitude!

Some Tips for Those Planning an Intimate Party

Here are some practical tips and notes if you are planning an intimate party:

  1. Take a bohemian, free-flowing attitude to designing your program for the event. Best to make things fluid by avoiding any fixed-time performance, and opting for a multitude of activities and games instead.
  2. Food and drinks can be light and casual; make sure you time your intimate party during off-hours, in between the major meals (mid-afternoon, for example). Having said that, you can prepare a more full meal like dinner, for your closest friends and immediate family (this is what I did)
  3. Venue can be your home, the village clubhouse; avoid overly formal venues like hotel function rooms, etc.
  4. Guest lists can blow up easily, so don’t forget: this is an intimate party. Keep the guest count manageable and limit it to your child’s friends and immediate family only.

This Still Seems Like a Lot of Work

Yes, I know. Even though it’s “intimate” it still seems like a lot of work. Detractors would even say, why would I spend this amount of time and money, for just a single afternoon?

But I would argue back, and fiercely: “It’s precisely these important moments in your child’s life that you as a parent need to make memorable.” Chloe was all smiles and was the perfect host that day.

It’s been almost 2 years since Chloe’s 7th, and I still grow teary-eyed when I look at the pictures. If I went back in time, I’d do it all again. She is now 8 going to 9, and what I hope she feels when she sees this post, is to remember that day and how she felt, and how her family loves her.



About the author

Michelle Lao

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