The Wildly Overblown Children's Birthday Party: Can We Be Done?

by ParentCo. January 10, 2018

birthday celebrations with cake on face

This is a submission in our monthly contest. January’s theme is "Wild."

You know what’s wild? Kids' birthday parties in the new millennium. Their Pinterest perfection, their thematic orchestration. They’re wildly popular, and wildly horrible.

I know, I know, I'm taking a risk here in sharing my true feelings about children's birthday parties. My children are still quite young. They stand a fighting chance of getting invited to another birthday party in their lives. That is, until their friends’ parents read the wildly-scathing remarks of Birthday McCrankypants.

But I believe there are a few things worth examining here in the new millennium where children’s milestones seem wildly overblown.

Thing the first about the wild business Children's Birthdays

I think it's patently wild that invitations still suggest to RSVP by calling a phone number. Do these parents not know that phones weigh 700 pounds?

We've only met briefly, Parents of Kids’ Friends, which means if I try to call, I'll get super-duper nervous, my voice will go up a whole octave, and I’ll probably get my kid disinvited. In my wildest dreams, we receive non-group text messages inviting us to a low-key gatherings that I could just reply to via text message. Wildly favorable.

Thing the Second

If your invitation includes a gift registry, I will totally comply but the whole time I will be thinking, This is some wild bougie behavior. What will your children have to look forward to when they get married?

Also, a gift registry sends a strong message: your gift is your entrance ticket to my kid’s party. Ouch.

Thing the Third

If the venue of your child's birthday party involves any manner of inflatable jumping apparatus or fuzzy characters that walk around and throw tickets, you're both a hero and a wild vigilante. We all love any excuse to run down our kids’ battery in a contained space, but I know that typically you need to have parents chaperone these kinds of parties if the kids are not yet of legal voting age.

These types of venues? They give me a migraine. If I have to go, I might have to hide in the corner and bite my sleeve while whimpering something about how I almost drowned in the ball jump in a McDonald's Playland in 1984 and maybe that's what happened to Grimace and the Fry Burgler. Has anyone checked on them?

Thing the Fourth

If you invite the whole class as well as your neighborhood, extended family, and the stepfather of the dog of your pilates instructor's mail carrier, you're just going to have to accept that your kid is going to cry at her own party. Maybe not even because she wants to, but because that wildly-untamed crowd would overwhelm a politician.

Thing the Fifth

It's always helpful when invitations state whether food will be served at the party. For example, if you'll be serving gummi worms, cupcakes, doughnuts, ice cream, and Girl Scout cookies with a Yoohoo chaser, followed by a pinata full of Jolly Ranchers and a send-off of s'mores and choco-dipped goodie bags, I'd just like to know in advance so I can be prepared for the diabetic coma into which my children will slip later that night. Know before you go, and all that.

I guess that about covers it. I know these are all First World requests and that every birthday celebration is a sweet one, marking the passing of another year of the life of a child who is healthy enough to celebrate.

But might it be a wildly unfavorable idea to tame down the wild overdoing it of children’s birthday parties? What if, instead of brand new gifts, we all agreed to wrap a used but beloved book or board game for the birthday boy or girl? Or what if we all agreed that our kids have enough crap and to please encourage the birthday guests to make a donation toward the local children’s hospital?

Is that so wildly outside the realm of possibility?



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