Celebrate - New Season
Kid To Kid Advice

By Molly Alexander, Mitzvah Market Teen Columnist

Many of my friends celebrated their Bar/Bat Mitzvahs this year so I decided to get their best tips on what worked, what didn’t and what they’d say to their parents about the celebrations. If you need advice on throwing your own celebration, these are definitely the kids to ask!

“I loved my celebration, but if I could advise on a couple of things, it would probably be length of the activities. I know a long montage can get boring, especially if you’re not close with the Bar/Bat Mitzvah kid. I also think that the candle-lighting should be short and sweet, because it can take up a lot of the party time, and it gets tiring. I love the daddy-daughter (or mother-son) dance. I think it’s a great touch to the party, and it’s a great way to get the adults dancing too!”
-Katie, 13

“The overall party for me was great, but hanging out with friends and seeing them all there for me was the best. These were people I was closest with and it meant a lot that they were there to celebrate with me, especially those who came from great distances to be there. Advice for the kids and parents planning the celebration: you can’t wait till the last minute. Things can fall apart or get cancelled and you need to begin planning early to avoid anything going wrong. Double check and make a checklist so that you can prioritize and organize everything because the day deserves to be perfect!”
-Josh, 13

“I think candle lighting is a way of saying thank you to family and friends and it’s a way of remembering those who are there and those who aren’t. I feel that it is crucial to the celebration. During candle lighting, instead of doing all the friends, have one candle for camp friends and one for home/school friends. Camp friends are special, and you only see them a few times a year. My brother made my montage, and I find that montages made by family are much sweeter than the ones you pay for. People can tell when it’s “artificially” done verses done by a family member. If I could say anything to my parents after my bat mitzvah, it would be, “Thank you so much for everything you have given me, and I truly appreciate you and all your hard work to make my Bat Mitzvah such a success and special.”
-Madison, 13

“Practicing what you need to and staying on top of everything is really important. You should make time to practice for about 15 minutes a day and that can include your Hebrew and speech. Making time out of your day to just sit down and practice is a good way to stay on top of things. Run it with your tutor, Rabbi, family member or friend a few times so you learn to be comfortable in front of an audience (which is basically friends and family) during your service. Try to be loud and proud so that all your family and friends can hear you. It is your mitzvah after all so take it easy, relax and don’t forget to smile.”
-Alec, 13

“If I could redo my Bat Mitzvah day, there are a few things I’d like to change. For starters, I would have never taken off my shoes! I loved wearing them so much! I would also make my dress a little shorter (it was a long dress), maybe to my feet because it was a bit of pain walking around and dancing in it. I would also have a different photographer. You don’t want a photographer that’s slow because the party goes by so fast! I would like my hair maybe a little simpler, less bobby pins and more relaxed. To my parents I’d say, “Thank you so much! I am so lucky to have you both and I couldn’t have had a better time!”
-Madi, 13

“A definite necessity at every party is a good DJ. This is what gets your party started and your dancing going. If you get a good DJ, you’ll have everyone up out of their seats. Our DJ was amazing. Songs that get the kids dancing are ones like Shots, Turbulence, Wobble, and Harlem Shake. If there was anything that we could say to our parents, it would be, “Thanks for putting this thing together because we know how stressful it can get, and we had a great time!”
-Zack & Jake, 13

“For my gifts, I really only got money, which is a great gift because I plan on saving up for things I want, and for college too. What’s good for girls is that you can also get jewelry, which is nice too. You can go to local jewelry stores and pick out things, so when people come in to buy you a gift, they know what they should get you. This is especially good if the person doesn’t know you (and your taste in jewelry) that well.”
-Rachel, 13

“Inviting people was a problem for me. You can go through phonebooks, contact lists and address books over and over again and still forget to invite people. I would have invited more people to help me celebrate. Even though a big party can sometimes seem troubling, I would’ve wanted a bigger party, especially because I had a big place. I also would’ve not worn the shirt I had because I didn’t think it looked that good. Just a tip: I would not start talking about your celebration to everyone everywhere you go because people will just start asking you questions that you don’t want to answer about the party. Just have fun, and be grateful that everyone could celebrate with you even if you left a few people out.”
-Zach, 13

“Everyone’s celebration is different and special in all their own ways. For me, I think having a montage is great, it’s like a fun little touch that all parties should have. I love the daddy-daughter (or mother-son) dance during the party, because it’s sweet and teenagers don’t really love dancing with their parents any more. I don’t think candle lighting is necessary. It takes up time during the party. I know some people think it’s a sweet touch and it’s much needed in the celebration, but if you’re trying to save time you’re better off without it. Parents: when you’re planning your child’s party, keep some stuff a surprise. I wish my parents had. A sweet surprise adds to the joy of the day and the party!”
-Sam, 13

“The best gift I got was my MacBook Pro 15. Computers are always great gifts because kids, like me, use them for school work and other stuff. I didn’t get anything bad because the rest was money and money is never a bad gift. If kids get money, most of it goes towards college or something for the future, but getting a little spending money is great, too! I prefer cash because you have more of a choice of what you can get with it or you can save it. Checks have to be processed, and that can take a few days or weeks and allows less ‘spending’ time. I wish I had gotten to keep more money for things that I wanted, or things I wanted to save up for. I would want to say thank you to my parents for this incredible party. It was really fun and worth going through those years of Hebrew school.”
-Ross, 13

“The highlight of my Bat Mitzvah was my father-daughter dance, because for me it was a way of showing thanks to my parents for what they did for me on my special day. I know some kids think it’s “lame” and “embarrassing,” but when it comes down to it, it’s really a sweet thing that deserves to be at every celebration. I love the presents that come from the heart, for example hand-made jewelry or even a jewelry box. You have to think about what else the Bar/Bat mitzvah kid is getting; if a girl is getting jewelry, why not (give) a jewelry box?”
Hannah, 13

“I would definitely change a few things about my party. I would have invited more adults because my party was mostly a kid’s party. We have some family friends that I think should’ve been there. When planning your guest list, it’s crucial to pick who should be there and who shouldn’t. I would advise other kids to enjoy the experience and enjoy the moment. Just soak up all of the enjoyment and make it last because it actually goes by so fast!”
-Greg, 13

“The advice I would give other kids about to embark on their Bar/Bat Mitzvah year is Just Do It! It is very hard work, all that studying, practicing, and meeting with the rabbi/cantor, but you will feel very proud up on the bimah when you know you’ve worked hard. Keep some water and candy up there too, for energy. And to parents I say: don’t force kids to have a “traditional” dance party. I had a service, kiddush luncheon, and then we took a chartered busload of kids to an indoor water park. The chair lift and the Hora was more fun than I thought it would be. And I liked when everyone threw candy at me after I finished my haftorah. But the highlight of my day was the party at the waterpark. It was amazing! It was exactly what I wanted. To my parents I say: Thank you! I finally understand how it (my whole Bar Mitzvah) really is a big deal!”
-Harrison, 13

 This story is from the 2013 Mitzvah Market Magazine. If you would like to request a free copy, click here.


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