When I was young, we had birthday parties at home. I have two sisters who are very close in age (we became instant family when our parents remarried) and we were allowed to invite maybe 5 or 6 friends. We often had slumber parties followed up by a pancake breakfast. There was no entertainment and no goodie bags. Just friends and simple fun.
I’m not sure what happened, but now the bar is higher. These same sisters (one in particular) have hosted parties at museums, bowling alleys, hotel swimming pools (with overnight stays), paint your own pottery shops, roller rinks and more. One year involved the rental of a jumping castle. Yeah. All we’re missing is pony rides. Maybe that’s next year…
Unfortunately, they’re not alone. My three year old has been invited to a Gymboree party, a bowling party, a jumping castle party and several playspace parties. Oh, and I admit it… we had his party at the [cheapest possible] playspace, largely so we didn’t have to host a gaggle of preschoolers and their families in our home at the end of October. And, don’t get me started on the goodie bags!
I’m not a particularly competitive person, but I’m not sure how to keep up. Party space rentals are well over $100 (many over $200) and that’s not including cake, requisite juice boxes, munchies or goodie bags. If I had known then what I know now, I would have planned to have a baby in the summer. LadyBug can have parties in the backyard, making use of our swingset and swimming pool. At the very least we can head to a local park or even a farm.
And what would happen if I just stopped doing goodie bags? Mainly they’re trinkety items that people throw away after a day or two (with the exception of the aforemention harmonica). Would my children become the birthday party outcasts in their preschool classes?
Is there someone out there with older kids who can convince me that my older sister is the exception and that we’ll eventually outgrow these extravagant celebrations? I’m hoping the numbers will be smaller when we’re not hosting entire families. We simply can’t fit all of these people in our house! I do have a little hope, though. When I asked my neice what she would do if she could do anything she wanted for her birthday, she said, “Oh, I’m allowed to choose whatever I want. This year I think I want to go bowling. Or maybe I’ll just have a party at home…” Ah, the luxury of it all.
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