So, Mike is a NASCAR fan. Actually, the only one I know. And now I’m a NASCAR fan’s wife – something I never dreamed I’d be! Whatever kind of fan Mike is, I’m just proud to be his. 🙂
This past week, Mike turned 33. So, I hosted a birthday party for him.
We had so much fun planning his party and kept it on a budget. While you might not be planning your own NASCAR-themed party, we hope some of the tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way will be helpful as you plan your own party!
Choosing the Theme
Honestly, we don’t usually go all-out for birthdays. This year, when we were thinking about getting some friends together for his birthday, the only day that worked was a Sunday afternoon. And what are Sunday afternoons for in our house? NASCAR. It seemed like the perfect fit to have a fun little get together with friends – the theme around his favorite sport.
When it comes to hosting parties, I’ve learned I need to balance my expectations, “make it happen” instead of making it, and remind myself over and over again that perfection is not the aim! As I’m learning about showing hospitality, I want to love on my guests; not to impress them, but to make them feel welcome. We chose 4:00 PM so our friends with kids could make it (and so we could catch the end of the race)!
Knowing the Receiver
When it comes to a birthday party, it should be all about the birthday girl or boy. I love being around people – a big group or a small group – so for my birthday, that’s what I like to do. Mike most enjoys being around a small group of people. So, when planning this party, it was really important that I asked him what he wanted, not just what I thought was fun.
Think about this in every portion of the celebration: the food, the people, the location.
The group ended up being about 20 with spouses and kids – a larger group than we thought, but it was so special to be with all of them under one roof!
Decorations Under $25
Amazon, guys! It’s amazing. Whichever theme you pick, search it on Amazon before you go anywhere else. I searched race theme, NASCAR, and checkered flags. I ended up purchasing the checkered flags and 100 foot banner for $12.99. Since the banner was so inexpensive, I didn’t feel bad about cutting it into pieces that fit my door frames and furniture – it was the perfect touch!
This Letter Board is an instant way to personalize any occassion. I found mine at Hobby Lobby, but here’s pretty much the same thing from Amazon.
For a pop of color, I found the red plastic tablecloth at Dollar Tree for $1 and styled it in the center of my table. The checkered flag paper dispersed around the house is from Hobby Lobby; I purchased 5 pieces for 59 cents each! Honestly, Hobby Lobby is another great place to find pieces to tie into your theme! For the signs (how funny!), I printed all three words on my black & white inkjet printer, taped them on red scrap paper I had leftover from another project, and then finally put them on the checkered paper from Hobby Lobby. People loved the names: coolant, race fuel, and pit stop!
Lastly, I found the Happy Birthday banner at Target for $5 in the party section. It tied in the red and was big and bold – excellent for a racing party (plus, I can use it again)!
We really wanted to treat our friends to a meal – just to bless them and honestly, so much good happens around the dinner table! The menu consisted of Mike’s favorites: pizza, cake, and M&Ms. The food and drinks were the most expensive part of the party (we spent about $75), but it was well worth it. We timed it so that we picked up the pizza before the party started and just kept it in the oven. People snacked on it all night! We had a coupon card for Domino’s that we purchased to support a ministry called Young Life – buy one, get one. Another perk of ordering pizza? You don’t have to cook and instead can be totally present with your guests!
I ordered the cake from the same person who made our wedding cake – 100% worth it! It was delicious and she did a great job. The 33 on top not only represented how old Mike is, but also an iconic race car: the Skoal Bandit! The phrase “I just wanna go fast!” is from the movie Talladega Nights. (And Mike actually wants to go fast.)
Honestly, we could have really done one or the other when it came to decorations or food. In this season, we had the $100 to spare so this is how we wanted to spend it. If you’re on a tight budget, you could ask friends to bring a side to share or a drink!
If you’re looking for more inexpensive gifts or ways to celebrate your friends, I have just the post for you!
For me, something I’ve learned over time is to clean up as much as possible before I go to sleep. I’m not saying deep clean the house. But, we took down the decorations (which I put up with tape, so they were easy to remove!), started the dishwasher (another tip is to start the party with an empty dishwasher – if you have one), and put away all the food and drinks. All my decorations fit into this small stack, so I slid them into a grocery bag, labeled it, and tucked it away in my celebration closet in the basement. Next time we need a racing-themed decoration, we’ll know where to find it!
Mike felt loved and celebrated and that’s all we wanted for him! We’re so thankful for our friends for coming out to spend time with us. Cheers to 33!
* If you’d like information on any other items, just comment below!
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