Happy 100th Birthday
If an honoree is turning eighty or older, you can have the President send a special birthday card to her. Send a birthday request (including name, address and occasion) four weeks ahead of time to Greetings of the White House, Washington, DC 20500.
For invitations, photocopy a birth certificate, an old birth announcement, vintage sheet music or the front page of a newspaper from the original birthdate onto parchment paper. Add your party details on the back. Rent, borrow or make a podium and allow each guest to stand up and relate a funny story, recall a nice memory, or tell an amusing anecdote about the guest of honor.
Create a timeline with photographs of the guest of honor, assign a picture to each guest and have them write a funny or sentimental comment.
Take your guests aside during the party, and videotape them relating a funny anecdote or memory about the honoree. Give the video to the guest of honor as a gift.
Sometime before the party, make a videotape of still pictures chronicling milestones in the honoree’s life. Add a funny story line to go along with each picture, pausing for several minutes at each one. Play the tape at the party.
Have each guest bring a wrapped memento from some event they’ve shared with the honoree. It might be a broken ski from a disastrous ski trip, a shirt with a wine stain from a wild party, or a theater program from a fun night on the town. Have each guest explain the significance of the gift as it’s opened.
Dig out a few interesting facts about the honoree–an unusual hobby, an odd middle name, or a secret fantasy-and write them on slips of paper. Then make up several strange facts that are not true about the person. At party time, mix up the true and false facts, pick one, and read it aloud. Ask the first person on the left to tell whether it’s true or false. Give a cheap gag gift to anyone who guesses correctly.
If you’re hosting a “This Is Your Life” birthday party, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time. Contact some special friends and relatives that your guest of honor hasn’t seen in a while, and invite them to be “mystery guests” at the party. Ask them to bring along a poem or funny anecdote about the honoree. Make silhouettes of their heads on black paper (with a white question mark inside each silhouette) and tape them around the walls. Then tape-record their poems or stories and hide the mystery guests in another room. After the honoree arrives, begin the “This Is Your Life” activity. Holding a large book with pre-written notes inside, tease your birthday star with a few clues to the identity of the first mystery guest. Then play the tape recording. Allow time for the honoree to guess, and then bring out the mystery guest.
Hire an artist to draw a portrait or caricature of the guest of honor.