‘Let’s party! My greatest birthday celebrations have involved dressing up’

The author and her family at her '60s-themed 60th birthday party. Source: Supplied

Birthdays are the special days in the year for me. Thankfully in my later years my family and friends also love to celebrate them. That is the first ingredient to a fun party, people who don’t mind dressing up, and getting on the dance floor.

For my 60th birthday, I decided to go all out. The venue was in the function room at our local RSL club. Guests were not a problem as my many friends from the golf club were willing participants. I chose the theme — ’60s and hippy, periods that related to my time as a 20-something. Most of my clothes, and others came from local op shops, or our wardrobes!

The recipe for success, once we’d sorted our attire, was ensuring a good DJ. No point having a ’60s-themed party if you aren’t going to play music from that time!

Pre-coronavirus, I had 85 guests so I ordered a buffet. The restaurant was happy to do me a deal. Instead of a gift I asked my guests to contribute $25 each towards the cost of the evening, which everyone was more than happy to do.

It was such a great night. I was so pleased to see my friends and family go to such an effort to dress up. It was great fun trying to identify some of my guests who had come wearing wigs and clothing so different from their normal attire.

Because the music was of the right era, many of the men got up to dance as well. I’d not expected them to. We all danced the night away!

When I turned 70, I returned to the RSL and again, everyone contributed instead of buying me gifts. What could I have possibly needed anyway? I had another good DJ.

This time the theme was more subdued, I asked for everyone to dress colourfully — we looked great.

By this age I had three grandchildren, who also came along. Two got up and sang to everyone. My grandson, then seven, sang Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ and my grandaughter, who was five, sang ‘Tomorrow’. Both were wonderful, and everyone loved it; I was so proud.

I’ve been a member of my local golf club for 21 years and we’ve had many theme night events at the club and on golfing weekends away. Some of my favourites have been reverse ages, for example if you are 60, you come as a six-year-old. This is great.

The last one I attended had the theme of ‘Come as something that starts with the first letter of your name’. We had Nancy the nun, Peter the policeman, Shirley the surf life saver etc.

We’ve also had the western era of cowboys and Indians and the roaring 20s. There are so many themes, when you think about it. Of course the main ingredient is the people. If you can’t laugh at yourself who can you laugh at? Life is short enjoy every moment.

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