It was my birthday this week. It was a milestone one too; I am now officially half way to 90, so to celebrate I’m planning a simple celebration. I want a cake by Duff from Ace of Cakes, I want to rent a hall (I was thinking Anthony’s or Amarante’s) and I want clowns. No, my daughter doesn’t like clowns so maybe a couple of performers from Cirque de Soleil. As a party favor I want to give each guest a piece of fine jewelry engraved with the date so no one ever forgets how wonderful I am. I mean how wonderful the party was.
Okay so I’m not really planning a lavish party for myself, my youngest is 16 this year, I have to save all my money for an over the top bash for her….after all it seems to be the norm these days.
I was talking to my friend today and she tipped me off to the latest birthday party trend. Her daughter is turning 13 this year and many of her friends are throwing huge parties to mark entering their teenage years. Renting a nightclub and inviting everyone in your grade is the way to go, to throw a party at home with a dozen of your closest friends is almost social suicide.
When I was growing up you had a bunch of friends over and celebrated with pizza and ice cream and a couple of party games. Everyone went home with a slice of cake as a favor. Admittedly my kids’ celebrations maybe involved a bit more than that, but I never spent thousands of dollars on a party.
So why the increasingly lavish celebrations? You could blame it on the obsession with celebrities; Gwen Stefani supposedly forked over $15,000 on her son’s party.
I think it’s all down to the internet and social media. Everyone I know has a Pinterest account, all you need to do is search “kids birthday party ideas” and you will be given suggestions that make Martha Stewart look like a slacker. Peer pressure plays a part too; if little Suzy gave all her guests a Furby for a party favor, will you look like a cheapskate if you give them a coloring book and five pack of crayons? Will all the other moms be gossiping about you at the next Gymboree class?
When you start out with your child’s first birthday bash being an all-out themed extravaganza then the pressure is on to out-do yourself the next year. As your kids get older they are going to come to expect a big blow out birthday bash. What will you do for their 16th birthday? Rent a tropical island? Have a fireworks display? Book the latest boy/girl band?
So my youngest will have a Sweet 16 similar to her sister; we rented a barn, decorated it with Christmas lights and bought pizza and soda and she had a blast.