Friday, March 18, 2011

What's The Deal With Kids' Birthday Parties These Days?

Tomorrow is my daughter's 4th Birthday party.  She's having a full blown princess party that is being held at a princess castle.  They will dress them up as princesses, teach them how to be a proper princess, do a princess craft and read princess stories.  She will have a princess castle cake, and surely receive lots of princess birthday presents from her 10 little princess friends who are attending.  My son and his cousin will no doubt be hanging with the parents and playing their respective DS games (although they are welcome to dress up as knights or princes and partake in the festivities).

When I was a kid, I think I may have had one birthday party at McDonalds.  The rest were at home - usually in our basement.  Perhaps my mom set up a craft or a game of some sort, but otherwise, we simply played.  I actually asked my mom this morning if we ever went to birthday parties like the kids have today and she said that on the odd occasion, someone got a clown or something.  But that was considered extravagant. 

So when did this evolution of the blow out birthday party come about???  I guess sometime between when I was a kid and when I had kids.  I know, kind of a big window.  I remember back in the late 90's my cousin threw her little one a party in the park and had an entire petting zoo... so my best estimate would be sometime in the 90's? 

In any case, if you don't have big inflatables, a reptile guy, a craft specialist or some kind of animator for your home party, then you're perhaps not up with the times.  Then there are the bowling parties, gymnastics parties, build-a-bear places and other spots that specialize in throwing more lavish b-day parties (like the princess one LOL).  My son's party in January was glow in the dark mini golf and laser games.  But these don't even come close to the crazy over-the-top birthday parties you see on shows like TLC's Outrageous Kid Parties, Slice's Party Mamas or MTV's My Super Sweet 16... that's a whole other level.  And may I say, setting precedents for this generation of kids???  Yikes!

Well, I do admit, I have fallen prey to the big birthday party.  BUT, I do plan on going smaller and smaller as they get older.  And I have already, believe it or not!  Last year for my daughter's 3rd birthday I invited the whole daycare class (not thinking they would all show up) and had 20 kids at Party World.  So 10 kids this year is actually cutting it in half!  Next year I'm thinking more along the lines of letting my son invite a few of his closest friends and taking them to a movie and then a sleepover. I also think they outgrow these parties pretty quickly, so I'm kind of enjoying them while I can.

I wonder though... do we throw these types of parties today because there are so many more working moms and we over-compensate?  Or, do we do it because so many other people do it?  Do we try and "one up" and that's how we got to this point?  Not sure... I do know, however, that I get excited and have fun planning these parties - each year it's a challenge to think of something different to do and figuring out a really fun cake.  And then there's the party itself - I love watching my kids have the time of their life.  I really do get so much joy out of their joy, and because the daily routine of the working mom is more about function than moments of over-the-top fun, I appreciate these times more than ever.

So I look forward to tomorrow with great anticipation and hope it will be a huge hit.  As for all the princess stuff and how that screws with our daughter's minds as they grow up... I'll save it for another post.  Have a great weekend to all!

A couple of snapshots from my son's 6th b-day party in January... we all loved the cake!

No comments:

Post a Comment