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Mums 80th birthday

(95 Posts)
Mattsmum2 Thu 10-Jun-21 15:41:27

My mum is 80 next year and I want to do something special. My brother says she won’t want a party but I disagree. I’ve had thoughts are to hire the local village hall (she’s very well known in her village and has done lots for the community over the years), on the Sunday before her birthday and get caterers in to do an afternoon tea, cakes sandwiches and of course tea and other beverages. Do it as a drop in for a few hours so people can come and say happy birthday. The only thing is that the Sunday before her birthday is Mothering Sunday ( her birthday has always been around this day). Do you think it’s worth doing or will people be busy with their own families? Also welcome to know if anyone else has had other types of celebration. Thanks x

CanadianGran Thu 10-Jun-21 21:27:32

My MIL turned 90 at the beginning of 2020 and my SIL planned a family dinner, and an afternoon tea. The afternoon tea was my idea, but she planned it all (she's very good at planning), and I helped. I wasn't in favour of a surprise, but hey, her mum, her plan. I went along with it. We had it at a hotel that could seat around 50 if needed, and we did!

I must admit it all went very well. My MIL was surprised, but very pleasantly so. For the afternoon party, we did an open house; people came from her old neighbourhood, the church, bowling club, etc. There were quite a few that she hadn't seen for a while, and she had a really nice time visiting with everyone.

At the family dinner my SIL hired a photographer and we had some really nice photos, good memories now since my MIL's health deteriorated late last year and she passed away early this year.

I agree that having it on Mothering Sunday wouldn't be a good idea, and leaving it to be a surprise would be based on your opinion of how she would like it. Maybe telling her after it is already planned and give her a few day's notice.

annodomini Thu 10-Jun-21 21:53:09

My family organised a lovely party for my 70th - friends and family came from all over. DS1 then asked me what I would like for my 80th and I said 'A flying lesson'! They got me that a few years early but my 80th coincided exactly with the start of the second lockdown on bonfire night. We hope to have a family party this summer as DS1 has just turned 50. Funny how differently people respond to the idea of a party. I'm hoping for one on my 90th - only 9.5 years to wait!

Polarbear2 Fri 11-Jun-21 09:01:04

Sounds great. My mum had a party for all her decade birthdays and loved them. Keep it simple. Do it the Sunday after md. I hope you have a lovely time. Xx

ExD Fri 11-Jun-21 09:17:56

I am in my 80s.
If anyone had arranged a surprise party for me I would have walked out, called a taxi and gone straight home. I would have found it hard, if not impossible, to forgive the arranger(s).
Please please, don't arrange anything for her unless you are very sure she'll enjoy it, and look at your reasons carefully - is this to be your party? Do you see yourself basking in glory, congratulated by the everyone for arranging such a fun family get-together?
Please take care.

Happily, in my case DH knew my feelings and persuaded DDIL that a family meal was sufficient. If you want a party, have your own - please.

polnan Sat 12-Jun-21 10:37:28

oh gosh I am over 80, sshh! I hate to admit it!

I would hate anything like this... but then .. we, ie. dh(dead now) and I have never made a big thing of birthdays

mind you, recently had a birthday, and told family, small family, well nah! don`t want anything, so first thing on my birthday, I soooooo missed them all.. then the cards came in, lots of friends and I felt so loved... lockups haven`t helped though have they...

but a party! ugh! no thank you.. and we do get tired! wonder how many of us struggle to admit that! I am just about starting to tell my family that I get tired!


Quaver22 Sat 12-Jun-21 10:40:54

I agree with others . It is a lovely idea as long as she is happy about it. I would hate a surprise party and would much prefer a quiet day with just my family.

Secondwind Sat 12-Jun-21 10:42:05

Personally, I would ask her what she wants to do. She may just want to spend the day reflecting and have a quiet day with family. I also agree with others about avoiding Mother’s Day. My own Mum is elderly now and I know that the number of Mother’s Days I have left with her diminishes with each passing year.
As an aside, my own children are very well aware that I never want them to organise a surprise party - the very thought makes me shudder!

Greciangirl Sat 12-Jun-21 10:46:27

I wouldn’t want a big party either.

All those people you have to make polite conversation with.

My Dd organised a similar thing for my 70th. It was called of because there was a family emergency.
I didn’t say so, but I was mightily relieved.

TanaMa Sat 12-Jun-21 10:49:05

Can't think of anything worse. Birthday parties are for children. But hey ho everyone has their own opinion. Even so with restrictions still in place why would anyone want to encourage a big gathering?

wildswan16 Sat 12-Jun-21 10:51:48

You really should ask your mother what she would like. Surprise parties are an absolute nightmare for many people and could really spoil the day for her.

Maybe your brother really does understand her better than you. And whatever is decided, you all need to be on the same page.

fritherdog Sat 12-Jun-21 10:54:30

We organised an “at home” event for my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary. They sat in their chairs like royalty and enjoyed people coming in to see them, we(the children) did the catering and tidying up , and stipulated time on the invites so that no one was there later than the Elderlies could cope with. They did know it was happening and were in on all our plans.

Oofy Sat 12-Jun-21 11:00:27

We missed celebrating our ruby wedding and my and dh's 70th bds in the last year. just went out for nice picnics for anniversary and ordered in 5 star meals, just us 2 and the dog, for the bds.
Do you know, I'd have just loved somebody else, ie not me, to have organised and presented me/us with a celebration as a fait accompli, (though a bit of a hint to dress up would have been, I admit, appreciated). But the expense is a worry - I remember when my daughter, now 30, had her 21st, we had a big party in the garden in August for family and friends, and it cost a lot for food and drink, even though I did the catering myself.
By the same token, number-limited weddings - and funerals - have been a blessing in some ways for those organising them. Culling the guest list guilt-free and knowing precisely how many to cater for for funerals, where those I have organised have ended up with a lot of wasted food.

Lizbethann55 Sat 12-Jun-21 11:05:16

Please please please do it. My mum said she didn't want an 80th party but I knew she did really but I took the easy way out and didn't do one for her. I know that she was disappointed and I will take the guilt and grief I feel for that decision to my grave. Mum had no siblings but had always been very close to her cousins who were very similar ages. When she was 80 most of them were still alive and fit. She was also very involved at her church. Any party would only have been a buffet and drinks in my garden, but it could have been lovely. By the time mum was 90 she was still mentally as sharp as ever but wasn't as physically able and most of the cousins had died or would have been unable to come. My regret is profound. You don't have to make it a big "do". More a friendly gathering of her nearest and dearest. And probably not a surprise. Let her be involved and help with decisions. With a surprise party you may miss out someone she would like to be there, or invite her worst enemy!

albertina Sat 12-Jun-21 11:06:10

Happy 80th for next year.

I recently became 70 and my family were going to pay for a trip to Venice but Covid got in the way. This may still happen in the future, but in the meantime they bought me lots of lovely presents and best of all, a full subscription to investigate my family history.

I would definitely ask your Mum what she would like, especially as someone else pointed out, your brother may not agree. I organised a lovely party at her home for my Mum's 70th, but she died a few weeks later. My brother was so emotional about it he started blaming me for her death because I organised the surprise party.

PJN1952 Sat 12-Jun-21 11:11:50

Don’t do a surprise 80th party! My partner was given an 80th lunch party for family and friends by his daughter in the local village hall... it was a big surprise although he knew a few family members were coming to visit him as they were staying with him. He HATED it. Afterwards he asked me why it had happened. He cried through most of it with surprise and shock and was v tired for a week after as he tried to talk to everyone. It looked like fun but in reality it was too much for him. Go for lots of little celebrations through the year.

Gin Sat 12-Jun-21 11:12:20

I was 80 during lock down. I had a wonderful day. The weather was lovely and I sat in the garden and had socially distancing visitors all day long. I hate big do’s and just find them difficult, too noisy and I get ‘smile-ache’ face pain! I know from friends that they are the same, getting older makes many of us less inclined to be very sociable. My family were happy and relieved not to need to arrange a formal celebration at a very difficult time.

Before lockdown my neighbour’s friend organised a surprise 80th for her in the village hall where there were about 80 people. She hated it and was so cross because she was not dressed as she thought appropriately and refused to have any photos. Please ask first!

Alioop Sat 12-Jun-21 11:31:33

If she loves a party then do it, she would probably love to see everyone after the rubbish time we all have had. An afternoon tea would be perfect, a few family and close friends, but best leave until weekend after Mother's Day. I'd let her know it was on the cards though just in case.

Bijou Sat 12-Jun-21 11:32:16

My husband (when he was alive) and I always liked unbirthdays and never celebrated actual birthdays.
My son arranged a large party for my 90th at a local hotel with relatives and friends and neighbours some of whom had to stay the night in the hotel. It was nice to,see grandchildren whom I hadn’t seen for a long time but I hated the whole thing and being the centre of attraction. I never eat out and didn’t even enjoy the meal

varian Sat 12-Jun-21 11:40:27

To celebrate my Mum's 80th we had a family party then a few month's later a "girls weekend" at Center Parcs.- Mum, her two daughters and five grand-daughters, no men. Mum was very fit and sporty and especially loved swimming so it was a real treat.

harrigran Sat 12-Jun-21 11:56:13

I would listen to your brother, I would hate a party for my 80th.
My idea of a celebration is a low key lunch or dinner in a top class restaurant, not a knees up in a church hall or similar.

tarakate Sat 12-Jun-21 11:56:34

Your idea sounds a lovely one to me and to so many others here... but isn't a lovely idea for her if she wouldn't like it, you absolutely must ask her! Since hers is the week after Mothering Sunday, if I understand you correctly, I wouldn't see that there would be any sort of a clash; each event is formally celebrated on one day only (more's the pity!).

Lizzie44 Sat 12-Jun-21 11:58:13

Don't do a surprise party. You want a happy relaxed Mum on her special day and I wouldn't be convinced that a surprise party would be the ideal route to that. Instead tell your Mum that you want to do something really special for her 80th. Give her some options - large/small family gathering, at home or out somewhere (restaurant/hotel or village hall). Or an outing + tea somewhere that's special for her. Make it clear that you will organise it all. When you know the kind of celebration she'd like you can go ahead with the plans and add enough surprise personalised touches (such as family messages, photo memories, cake, party hats) to make it memorable. Have a wonderful celebration!

Lillian40 Sat 12-Jun-21 12:05:33

The most important thing to ask yourself, does your mom like parties? some people don't ,and just enjoy family get togethers. I don't like parties and never have done, I enjoy being in family groups and just a very close friend. If she is a party person that's fine, go ahead and she will love it.

Redhead56 Sat 12-Jun-21 12:06:02

My DH had his 70th in lockdown we couldn’t celebrate it so we just had a special meal at home ourselves. Even when the restrictions are lifted trying to arrange family and friends is near impossible. Best wishes to everyone celebrating a special occasion this weekend.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 12-Jun-21 12:13:52

My advice is don't do a "drop-in". In my experience they are far more tiring for "the birthday girl" than a do where everyone comes withing the first fifteen minutes.

My aunt held "drop-in" dos for her 75th and swore never again, as she found it exhausting, even although my sister and I were doing the actual work.

She invited the nearest family out for her 8oth and found it a much better idea.