My sons went to a good old fashioned birthday party yesterday. We're talking no clowns, no performers, just a cake, pizza and a couple of balloons. The goodie bags were just a few things that my kids loved. They didn't cost more than a couple of dollars. My children raved about them. My kids had a ball and so did I.
About a month ago in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there was an article about how parents are out of control with birthday parties. The article described lavish parties with IPods in the goodie bags. The article made it seem like this was a normal occurrence. It also said that parents were trying to out do each other. It was a keeping up with the Joneses mentality. Really? I have yet been to a kids party where I thought it was over the top. Sometimes I think too much money was spent on something but overall, I usually feel that the parties are about the same. A lot of times, I feel that money is spent to make it easier on the parents. No house to clean and nothing gets broken if it is at the local kiddie place.
We do spend more on parties than our parents. Most of us had our parties at our houses when we were kids. Maybe we even had goodie bags. I don't really remember them. Today, most parents eventually give in to our kids and have parties at a requested location. We spend more than our parents and our goodie bags are more costly. But overall, there is a normal amount of money that most parents will fork out for their child's birthday celebration. Across the board, most people seem to stay within reason. I know I have never used the word "lavish" to describe a birthday party in Northeast Ohio.
I know, I know, I know. It does happen. Maybe in some circles. Maybe in some big cities. But across America, I am guessing that there are more average parties than spectacular ones. Most are run of the mill. You have the usual Pump It Up (bouncer) parties, Chuck E. Cheese, animal guys, princess parties, etc. The people with the crazy, spectacular parties stick out in your mind or make news. You tell your friends about it.
My kids have not had a party anywhere but our backyard and kitchen. I have held my kids off with the birthday parties at pizza places and science centers. They have asked. I know the time will come when I will bite the bullet. Hmmmm. Now that I think about it, no house to clean, no food to make, no toys to organize, priceless. Why didn't I do this sooner?