Birthday parties

My daughter’s birthday is tomorrow, and my son’s is this Friday. And we are still in the works for planning their birthday parties. In past years we have had numerous sleepovers, a couple of outside slip n slide events, a day over at Scandia, and have let the Funky Monkey take over and do all the work. There have been some years that have cost me a fortune (though not as much, apparently, as some celebrity parents), and some years where I allowed only the minimum to keep things in a tight budget.

It seems that when kids are young, there is a competition to throw the most memorable and fun party, complete with gift bags of the latest accesories. There is nothing worse than a mom coming to pick up her child, and overhearing how much the party sucked. I admit, I fell into the trap, and felt like I needed to go all out to make sure that every kid was well sugared up after playing tons of activities I had been putting together for months. Birthday parties left me exhausted, and I dreaded them each year.

Now that the kids are older, their requirements are a lot less than before. They don’t need jumping houses or pinatas. They don’t want to be greeted by a clown or play in a ball pit. But they do want to invite their friends and have fun. And for the most part, fun involves as little interaction from me. So we have more slumber parties, invite fewer kids, and do one fun activity such as the movies, dinner out, or miniature golf and racecars. And then I tuck them in and let them keep the noise level at a low roar, and go to bed. Painless (except for the occasional threats that there will be no more slumber parties if they don’t stop jumping on the couch) and affordable.

What are some of the things you do for your child for their birthday parties?
Do you have a limit on how many friends they can invite?
And what exactly do you put in those dang gift bags?

Oh, and if you are looking for a birthday party that will top the Jones’, be sure to check out Over The Top Productions, a company that specializes in birthday bashes for your precious little one that will only cost you a cool $10,000 or more. For that price, maybe they’ll remember turning 2….

(Join the discussion in the forums about birthday party ideas)

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3 thoughts on “Birthday parties”

  1. Jeez… For that kind of price, you’d think that Over The Top could get a website designer that knew WTF they were doing — it’s questionable what was worse, the blurry pixelated title graphic or the broken Flash-based ‘gallery’ of captionless pictures.

    Growing up here in the 80s & early 90s, everyone had a ball either with a park-playground/at-home party, or (preferably) celebrating at Cal Skate, pizza/arcade parlor, or some other kid-focused establishment. Are the huge at-home parties now because this generation of kids prefer it over going somewhere, or is it more what the parents are comfortable with?

  2. I have been doing fantastic birthday parties for 20 years and kids love comedy magic shows…..they laugh and try to figure out whats happening.That combined with some twisted balloons is always a great party or face painting with a theme is fun too …these great options do not cost that much and except for cake and ice cream thats it for a great party laughter is a great gift!

  3. xyzzy — HAHAHA! You are soooo right about the web design. The non-vector logo is dreadful, the annoying and loud music clip that comes up any time you click ANYTHING, and do I even have to mention the travesty of the sparkles?

    When I was growing up, birthdays were often a budget affair…but that just meant a lot of homemade stuff that I could help on which only added to the excitement of the day to come. We would often decorate our own party favor bags and then fill them with fun but cheap and useless trinkets and some candy to keep the sugar high going. The only place we didn’t really scrimp was the cake…most of my childhood we ordered the same cake from the same awesome (and sadly no longer in business) SF bakery every year. Whether my invitees were limited or not usually depended upon what we were doing…if the party was going to take place at a park or just be your average theme-less at home event, I was free to invite pretty much whomever (we did live in a rural area, which helped). If I wanted to go somewhere for entertainment, however, like a movie or mini-golf park, there was a definite limit.

    Once I hit my adolescence, however, I went the same way your children did — sleep-overs with minimal parental involvement. That isn’t to say no parental involvement, however…one year (17 I think?) my friends and I made home-made pizzas with my dad. And the year I turned 14, with what is likely the most memorable birthday event in my personal experience, my guests arrived and were drafted into assisting my parents recapture a cow that had escaped and taken off down the road. At the time, I was a bit embarrassed by the situation, but my friends talked about it joyfully for years to come.

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