When I was young, I had one big birthday party when I was 5. My cousins came as well as a few friends from school. We had the party at my house, and my mom made the treats as well as the cake. We played some games, and I opened some presents. Honestly I don’t remember much about it except for being blindfolded and trying to pin the tail on the donkey, but I’ve seen pictures of the event, and it looked like we had fun.
Compared to kids today, my birthday party experience seems downright boring, though I’m sure I was delighted.
The rest of my birthdays were celebrated quietly at home with my immediate family members and perhaps a family friend or two. My mom made whatever meal I requested, and we had cake. Of course, there were presents to open.
However, there was only that one big party when I was 5.
The Big Business of Kids’ Birthday Parties
Kids’ parties are big business now. If you want to have a party for your little birthday boy and all his friends, you have plenty of options. You could go to Chuck E. Cheese, Pump It Up, or a local museum or hands on play place, just to name a few choices.
Chuck E. Cheese seems to be a more reasonable option with parties running $12.99 per child with a 10 child minimum. Pump It Up, on the other hand, will run about $400 for 12 kids. That price includes 1.5 hours of jumping and pizza.
Your little princess can take her friends for a day at the spa. They can get mani-pedis and upstyle hair dos. These types of parties are available for little girls as young as 3.
According to The Florida Times-Union, “Informal surveys show that in recent years, on average, parents spend $200 to $400 on birthday parties. ‘And some wealthy families may spend up to $5,000 or more,’ said Heather Downs, a professor of sociology at Jacksonville University.”
Why Do We Give These Parties?
Some parents want to give their children an experience that they’ll remember for a lifetime. While that is a worthwhile goal, does that kind of experience have to be given every year, especially since it’s unlikely that a one or two year old will have any memories of the party?
Is this really about the kids, or is it about the parents?
Heather Downs states, “The more parents spend, the higher the likelihood that other children will expect more for their own party, which increases the pressure on parents to put together something special.”.
But it’s not just trying to create great memories and giving in to peer pressure that is at work here. “Parents may also use a birthday party as an opportunity to network with their colleagues, particularly for 1- and 2-year-old children” says Heather Downs.
Suddenly, birthday parties have jumped from the noble idea of creating wonderful memories for our kids to impressing our friends and networking with colleagues.
There truly is no limit to the way we can spoil our children now days, but should we? Maybe a better question is, Is the party truly for the child or for the parents?
Do you give your kids a big birthday party every year?