Have birthday parties become competitive?

White Limousine

The cost of children’s parties

There are some people, who enjoy holding a children’s birthday party. They most likely can afford to spend lots of money going all out to have an incredible party.
Recently there have been many articles on how parents are becoming competitive. Parents trying to ‘outdo’ each other, to hold the best party. This is played upon big style by the media. However, there are very few parents I know who hold a children’s party purely to compete or impress another parent. Why would you really?!

Of course we all try to find good alternatives, so children don’t all do exactly the same party week after week. All ending up at the same play center doing the same thing.

It is said that the average cost of a children’s party is just over £300. Wow. This implies two things to me.

Firstly, the average is bumped up by celebrities and wannabes who hold extravagant parties as a show, and to network. Parties that cost thousands, rather than hundreds, are not parties that most of us (who just about manage the tens) can afford. Would we do the same if we had the money? Well, that’s a hard one to say, given the opportunity… maybe!

Secondly, I understand that parents do feel pressurised to spend money on a party, so that:

a) their child won’t be disappointed, and

b) it won’t take too long to organise as they are working all hours to pay for things like… birthday parties! And therefore probably spending more than intended.

Understandably some parents will have to hand over the organising of the party to entertainers, or venue organisers. And some will spend on outlandish themes just because they can, and want, to be different.

But what are we teaching our children; that parties are all about how much you spend? Have birthday parties become competitive?

A friend of mine’s child was once invited to a party where they went out in a limo. They then went on to have a great time with a themed party. There had bouncy castles and entertainment galore. At the end of the party my friend went to pick him up from the party. He had a party bag, no big surprise. It was a party bag that contained an ipod touch – the latest and most expensive at that time. I kid you not. You can understand how uncomfortable my friend felt that she had only been able to afford a £10 gift for the birthday child.

So should the parents not have thrown money at the party? Personally, I think it is up them how they want to entertain the children. If it is to entertain the children. Because you love to see children have an extraordinary time. Perhaps it’s because it’s something their children really wanted. Otherwise, it’s just plain ugly brashness. The overtly extravagant party bags were plainly just a gimmicky showy-off crassness, that didn’t take into consideration the parents of the children invited to the party.

Fun doesn’t have to cost heaps, children don’t price things up when they’re having a great time. However, if you do spend a lot, be aware of how you are treating other children’s parents while you’re doing it. Don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t get a return invitation.