Birthday Parties Nowadays

Is it me, or have children’s birthday parties become miniature debutant balls? I know I sound old when I start off a conversation by saying, “when I was a kid,” but that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

When I was a kid, a birthday party consisted of three things. The first one being cake and ice cream – usually a Dunkin Hines cake baked by mom and store-bought chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Two, your friends, who arrived and left within a two-hour span because that was your mom’s capacity for tolerance. Last but not least, presents, for lack of a better word, were cheap. We’re talking GI Joe knock-off figurines, you can’t call them dolls, and perhaps a matchbox car or two. Certainly nothing over $4 dollars.

Of course that was last century. I must have missed the memo that instructed all of today’s parents to hold “coming out parties” once every 365 days. In fact, my daughters don’t have birthdays; they have birth weeks (“Come on Dad, it’s my birthday next Thursday … can I have a new computer?”). Since when did the friends of the birthday boy/girl receive gift bags? Have you seen these gift bags lately? Watches, toys, candy, jewelry, gift certificates …. Are you kidding me? Whose party is it anyway? We have to bribe the kids to show up?

And these parties aren’t at the house or in the back yard. Not unless you’ve brought in your own jump house and juggling clown. We’re talking amusement parks, cooking school parties (complete with five-course meal), theme parties, and classical dance instruction, among others. I’m waiting for Selena Gomez to drive up in a limousine, prance out, and hand out gift bags, all in order to get the party started.

It used to be that you needed to save for your kids’ college fund or marriage (why the parents of girls get stuck with this bill is a whole different blog). Now, you have to save up for your kid’s eighth birthday! “Sorry honey, we can’t go on vacation this year, you’re turning seven.”

I say enough!! Can’t we just go back to mom’s homemade cake and semi frozen cheap store bought ice cream before we all lose our minds? Seriously?

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