〇Of all the things that can put fear in a parent’s mind, a child’s birthday party is right next to “Daughter Becomes a Republican” and “Layla Finds Mommy’s Funny Cigarette,” I said. It’s definitely in our top 10 list. So every time an invitation arrives in your mailbox (or more precisely, your inbox) you start sweating with fear. (Not because clowns might be involved. OK, a little clown fault.)
When I was growing up, we didn’t rent out party halls or make special appearances with Disney characters. Gone are the days when a kid’s party consisted of three simple things: fun stuff, cake, and his bag of goodies filled with cheap plastic toys and even cheap candy. When I had my birthday, guests weren’t expected to show up with presents.
Today, bigger is better, bigger is the best. Children’s birthday parties are held among those who can afford to spend time and money, and instead of creating revelry, they have become something of an exercise in parental one-upmanship.
Some parents create gift registries for their children because they forbid their children to receive gifts they didn’t want and plan ahead. Worse, there are no presents at all. Others suggest that instead of gifts, partygoers donate cash or chips for extravagant gifts such as kindles and desks. Furniture! A family received bills and threats of legal action after their 5-year-old missed a birthday party he attended. No show fee, they called it. My name is Banana.
It’s hard to believe that any child, especially a 4 or 5 year old, really cares about the details and grandeur of their birthday party. As most parents can tell you, what children want is the presence of friends, sweets, and most importantly, to feel special for the day. It can be achieved with little expense and effort. Really, this is about parents and what we want. And what we want is, apparently, everything.
We all understand the overwhelming desire to do things right for our children. I don’t want you. But by refusing to participate in birthday madness, you are doing your little one a favor. What is a good lesson for
Besides, there are plenty of ways to have fun without overdoing it. A friend insisted that if she wanted to buy a present for her son’s birthday, she would bring a new or used book and donate it to a local children’s charity. We limit Layla’s birthday party to her family and close friends, with only her grandparents (and sometimes her rebellious aunt) bringing presents. Or what happened when you just went out for dinner and ice cream?
I don’t think lavish birthday parties for children too young to enjoy themselves will go away anytime soon. As well. At this time, all children go out for summer vacation.