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80th Birthday Party Dos and Don'ts For A Great Milestone Celebration

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Are you planning an 80th birthday party for someone special? If so, you're probably looking for ideas to commemorate this happy occasion in a big way. Here are some helpful tips with the top dos and don'ts for celebrating this important milestone.

DON'T make it a surprise party. One of the best places to get ideas for an 80th birthday party is from the guest of honor, himself. Let him or her participate in planning this event. Of course, you don't want the celebrant to do any of the work. But leave the important details of the festivities up to the birthday man or woman.

Find out what type of celebration he or she would like to have: formal or casual, large or small. Ask for his or her help deciding on the menu, entertainment and date for the big bash. And most important of all, let him or her make up the guest list. After all, he or she is the only one who knows which people must be there to make this occasion especially meaningful.

DO involve your guests. Give the people who are invited to the celebration a chance to contribute to honoring the birthday man or woman. Ask everyone to email you favorite memories of the guest of honor. Write each one down on a small piece of colored paper, place them in a glass jar. Then, at the party, give the memory jar as a group gift to the celebrant. You could also ask your guests to donate pictures to a scrapbook you are putting together for this special man or woman.

DON'T schedule the party to run too late at night. You may be planning an 80th birthday party for a night owl who has more energy than the average teenager. But chances are, most of his or her friends won't be quite as lively or vigorous. Instead, plan an earlier celebration, so that everyone will be at their best.

DO use plenty of photos. An 80th birthday celebration is the perfect time to highlight all those years of memories with pictures. You might start with photo invitations showcasing then and now snapshots. Another idea is to go with personalized photo birthday favors, which are available in a variety of inexpensive items, such as magnets, bookmarks, chocolate bars, notebooks, pocket mirrors and key chains, to name just a few.

For decorations at the party, enlarge some prints to poster size or combine multiple pictures into a big collage. You can make simple, yet elegant centerpieces by just grouping together several small framed photographs. Put together a slideshow or powerpoint presentation of snapshots from the man or woman's life.

DON'T forget his or her personality. What does this special 80 year old love? What makes him or her unique? Try to build that into the celebration. Is he still an avid golfer? You could have a whole golf-theme party. Is the celebrant a real cat or dog lover? Perhaps you can find a little ceramic figurine of their favorite breed to put on the cake. Whether they are into gardening, old movies, computer games, mystery novels, scrapbooking, fishing or anything else, try to find a way to incorporate that into the festivities. It's a great way to show that birthday man or woman that you appreciate the things that make them such an amazing individual.

DO include nostalgia. Play CDs of music he or she loved in their youth. Research and create a big poster listing events that happened the year this person was born. You can also find personalized party favors that include this information. Make up a trivia test for your guests, using little known facts or events from the birthday man or woman's life. Everyone will enjoy trying to come up with the answers. You could even have a small prize for the person who gets the most right.

So, if you're looking for guidelines for creating a memorable 80th birthday party, just remember these tips. Then use your imagination, and you'll be sure to give this very special person a wonderful milestone celebration.

Linda Kling, as the owner of Photo Party Favors, has offered ideas to people planning birthday parties and other celebrations since 1992. She recommends these Year You Were Born photo birthday favors, featuring your photo and fun facts from the year of your birth and these photo birthday invitations.

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Linda Kling

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