Our Kids Outlandish Birthday Parties: Can We Please Stop the Insanity?

Why can't a birthday go back to being a modest occasion amongst family and a couple of friends?

When did kids’ birthday parties become major household budgetary concerns?  How did cake and ice cream with family and a few friends morph into extravaganzas that require extensive logistical, communication and expense forecasting?  Honestly, it’s gotten to the point where a parent needs a planning staff similar to that which Eisenhower had for D-Day and a capital budget the size of the Department of Defense! 

Think about it.  The one-upsmanship involving birthdays amongst kids is too often bordering on the absurd!  Perhaps it’s a “guy/dad” vs. “woman/mom”
clash of outlook, but there’s no denying the fact that when your child is
invited to one of these adolescent birthday coronations, mom usually feels
obligated to host a similar, or worse yet, even gaudier/expensive party than
the most recent mom did for her kid!  Why?  On the surface, it seems moms are in birthday competition with one another and nobody wants to finish in last place!  In today’s gravel-road ride of an economy, budgeting necessary monthly expenses in addition to annual items such as life insurance, 401K/IRA contributions, vacations, summer camps, youth sports participation, Christmas gifts, etc. takes the skilled financial juggling of Smith Barney.  Tossing a unbudgeted
birthday party of $300 or more into your monthly expense salad and you end up
with a deficit dressing all over your household budget spreadshirt, err;

And for what?  Does Jimmy really need to take four friends to a major league baseball game for his 7th birthday, not including mom, dad, and sibling(s) and perhaps grandparents as well?  That’s a minimum $300 outing!  Explain to me the rationale behind Melissa being granted the privilege of hosting four friends at SeaWorld for the day?  I can accept this for milestone birthdays, like ages 5, 10, 16, etc. , but not every year.  Sure, I want my child to have fun and enjoy his/her special day, but I’d much rather host a few friends for cake, ice cream, and video games or sports at the park, and deposit $50 in Jimmy’s savings account in addition to a couple of presents. 

I’m certain Jimmy would be very happy and content with such an
arrangement, and won’t take any heat from his peers for such a mundane

Go ahead and call me cheap or a parental, birthday version of Ebenezer Scrooge.  I respectfully disagree.  “Celebration sensible” and “fiscally
practical” are terms I’d prefer be used to describe my position on the birthday
triage that has become so prevalent in our middle class and up society.  That’s just me, but I KNOW I’m not alone in my take.  It’s a subject that’s only
discussed openly and without angst amongst dads.  As for the moms………well, I can only hypothesize that if the subject is ever brought up, it’s debated only in
whispers and in select circles!  What’s that cliché, men are from Mars and women from Venus?  Case closed!

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Gary Vineyard April 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Say Zak who the heck is the "Barry" you're talking to, your alter-ego. Man you make less and less sense as you ramble on. Topic was outlandish birthdays and you fly off to parents having swing parties (what's wrong with them...lot's of people like swing era dancing), cross dressing, hiding their sexual preferences, etc....what time did they let you out last night and did they leave the door unlocked? Time to go back to Roswell and relax...as for Elvis? It's nice to know that a dead guy is first in YOUR household...BTW what does he eat for breakfast nowadays? Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo (humming the theme from outer limits)
zach lieberman April 07, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Sorry Gary not Berry- You know what I mean about swing parties. Don’t act stupid. It’s all about priorities and I can guarantee you that you or your wife has priorities over your kids. Most likely you or your wife is hiding something in your closet- most do. And for Elvis being dead- you really have no clue do you? or you just like talking out of your butt. Elvis today is by far the most popular entertainer dead or alive- He is the most impersonated artist of all time. Thousands of ETA’s are out there performing. His name still brings in over 100 million a year in revenue- no other artist comes close. How is that dead Kerry?
Gary Vineyard April 07, 2012 at 09:21 PM
You're weird. Have fun with Elvis and your delusions...I'm outta this loop.
zach lieberman April 07, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Gerry, bad mouthing Elvis is like bad mouthing the United States of America.
Gary Vineyard April 08, 2012 at 06:02 AM
Liebie...I wasn't bad mouthing Elvis...I met him on several occasions in Las Vegas while I was still a working cop and he was a great guy...I was commenting on the apparent fact that YOU are whacked out...good night sweet Prince.


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