Author Topic: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?  (Read 15866 times)

Frugalite

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Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« on: March 21, 2015, 08:04:15 PM »
UGH. Just got back from spending almost the whole day traveling to, participating in, and traveling back from a 4-year old's opulent birthday party. Wouldn't have gone but they are family. It was held in their brand new, at least quarter of a million dollar home  that is already fully decorated in the latest style. I almost giggled as I added our present to the pile- it was wrapped in old comic strips, HA!

Of course there is a bounce house which the other children enjoy, but all the birthday boy wants to do is drive his brand-new mini truck power-wheels thingy that probably cost at least $300. Then it is present time. He rips through them with only a quick glance before tearing into the next one. No thank you's, we didn't even realize he had opened ours it was so fast. He has so many to open that each one is pretty meaningless.

Then time for a sugar-fest of cake with insane amounts of frosting and a side of ice cream. About a half hour later the meltdowns started.

Lucky for us our almost 5 year old was very well behaved and had fun. But thank goodness we only have to do this once a year and we don't feel the need to put something like this on for our kid. (For her birthday we are paying for her and her small preschool class to go on a field trip to the local trampoline park. No presents, she has enough from us and other family. )

Thanks for letting me vent. Anyone else out there hate children's parties as much as I do, LOL?!

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2015, 08:34:51 PM »
It's abusive in a way.  They are teaching their little one materialism early and thus likely dooming them to a lifetime of debt slavery.

theonethatgotaway

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2015, 09:07:31 PM »
Wow,

I randomly came across your post and I have to say I'm stunned. I don't understand the point of this? I could go on and say putting your kid in a preschool is abusive and non cost effective and makes you a terrible parent, and then I could go on and complain that indulging in a money trap trampoline park instead of nature is anti-mustashian and unhealthy. I don't see how your lifestyle is that different from the 'family' member you are sitting here degrading.

I love the MMM mantra, but this is disgusting and judgmental. I have family I don't see because I don't agree with them. I wouldn't put on an 'about face' and show up to judge away. That seems incredibly unhealthy for your own psyche.

Is the rest of the sub thread this same content? If so, I'm just so surprised and taken aback.

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2015, 09:25:32 PM »
LOL. I love how you call my post disgusting and then call ME judgmental. Also, just curious, did you read the description of this sub-thread?

Not that it really matters, random internet person, but:

1.) My daughter absolutely loves her preschool. It is very well priced.

2.) The trampoline park is a locally owned small business. The kids will be getting a lot of exercise there, not sure how this is unhealthy?

3.) My family could not be more different than the family being discussed. You don't know me so you really can't make that judgement. I know them quite well. 

4.) So your solution to family members you don't agree with is to never see them again? I suppose we differ. My solution is to love them anyway but inwardly roll my eyes at their choices and then anonymously vent a bit online. Which seems more harsh?


Indexer

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2015, 09:43:39 PM »
Quote
Thanks for letting me vent. Anyone else out there hate children's parties as much as I do, LOL?!

I do!

What got me was the last party I went to the parents were very open about the kids 'not' needing more presents.  They specifically said people should just bring food, or if you really wanted to give the kids something bring a small check for 529 contributions. 

I was the ONLY person who made 529 contributions...  Everyone else brought these crazy toys.  The mom confessed to me the reason the kids have so many toys is because everyone goes overboard for every birthday/holiday.  They(the parents) haven't bought the kids presents in years because they get so many from everyone else. 

theonethatgotaway

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 09:59:40 PM »
LOL. I love how you call my post disgusting and then call ME judgmental. Also, just curious, did you read the description of this sub-thread?

Not that it really matters, random internet person, but:

1.) My daughter absolutely loves her preschool. It is very well priced.

2.) The trampoline park is a locally owned small business. The kids will be getting a lot of exercise there, not sure how this is unhealthy?

3.) My family could not be more different than the family being discussed. You don't know me so you really can't make that judgement. I know them quite well. 

4.) So your solution to family members you don't agree with is to never see them again? I suppose we differ. My solution is to love them anyway but inwardly roll my eyes at their choices and then anonymously vent a bit online. Which seems more harsh?


Yes, I'm pointing out that what you are doing can be thrown back at you in many shapes and forms. I'm glad you get the point. You don't need to 'justify' how you live your life to me, but even after those clarifications I don't agree with how you live your life and your anti-mustachian choices- small business support guise? non parental supervision? etc etc. Just like you seem to not agree with how your family member lives their life. What goes around....

Second, yes, for what you are saying about someone you are supposedly 'loving' towards in person- the online reality of your thought process IS disgusting and judgmental. There was no 'eye-rolling' in your post but a full on character assault of a party you CHOSE TO ATTEND. WTF.

sugarsnap

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2015, 10:09:03 PM »
Cake, ice cream and a bounce house -and guests brought toys. That's about the most low key kids party I've been to.  We haven't been to anything too crazy, but I know some folks like to go crazy.

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2015, 10:22:47 PM »
wtf... there are "trampoline parks"?

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2015, 10:35:07 PM »
LOL. I love how you call my post disgusting and then call ME judgmental. Also, just curious, did you read the description of this sub-thread?

Not that it really matters, random internet person, but:

1.) My daughter absolutely loves her preschool. It is very well priced.

2.) The trampoline park is a locally owned small business. The kids will be getting a lot of exercise there, not sure how this is unhealthy?

3.) My family could not be more different than the family being discussed. You don't know me so you really can't make that judgement. I know them quite well. 

4.) So your solution to family members you don't agree with is to never see them again? I suppose we differ. My solution is to love them anyway but inwardly roll my eyes at their choices and then anonymously vent a bit online. Which seems more harsh?


Yes, I'm pointing out that what you are doing can be thrown back at you in many shapes and forms. I'm glad you get the point. You don't need to 'justify' how you live your life to me, but even after those clarifications I don't agree with how you live your life and your anti-mustachian choices- small business support guise? non parental supervision? etc etc. Just like you seem to not agree with how your family member lives their life. What goes around....

Second, yes, for what you are saying about someone you are supposedly 'loving' towards in person- the online reality of your thought process IS disgusting and judgmental. There was no 'eye-rolling' in your post but a full on character assault of a party you CHOSE TO ATTEND. WTF.

Oh, I get it. Only YOU get to judge people. People you don't know. And you can read my thought process! These are some superhero level powers, maybe you should use them for good.

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2015, 10:41:12 PM »
wtf... there are "trampoline parks"?

It is just a fancy name for a building with a bunch of trampolines hooked together with padding. Lots of times they have basketball hoops and ball pits to jump into. And sometimes fitness classes. There are various chains around the country. The one in my city is locally owned and run and it is connected to a beautiful park with Frisbee golf and mini golf. it is great! They have lower rates for the smaller kids and also certain times when they can go and not get run over by the bigger kids trying to pull off a double front flip, haha!

 I think Skyzone is the name of the chain that may be in other cities.

PseudoStache

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2015, 01:12:08 AM »
wtf... there are "trampoline parks"?

It is just a fancy name for a building with a bunch of trampolines hooked together with padding. Lots of times they have basketball hoops and ball pits to jump into. And sometimes fitness classes. There are various chains around the country. The one in my city is locally owned and run and it is connected to a beautiful park with Frisbee golf and mini golf. it is great! They have lower rates for the smaller kids and also certain times when they can go and not get run over by the bigger kids trying to pull off a double front flip, haha!

 I think Skyzone is the name of the chain that may be in other cities.

What's the difference between you going to this 'locally' owned trampoline park and your relative's bounce house?  I'll bet it was rented from a 'locally' owned company.

The party you've described sounds far from 'opulent' to me.


Catomi

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2015, 05:56:09 AM »
Now I'm genuinely curious at the price difference between renting a bouncy house vs paying entry fees for a bunch of individuals to bounce at a facility. My gut says the rental version is cheaper, but I have nothing to back that up.

I agree that the amount of sugar consumed at birthday parties is excessive, but that's partly because it seems like everyone brings cupcakes to my son's preschool for their child's birthday, and then those are used as snack. A cupcake does not make for a healthy snack, and it annoys me that they're handed out at school. But I feel that if you go to a birthday party, a certain amount of sugary treat is expected, no?

justajane

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2015, 06:11:12 AM »
I was expecting private jets and lots of swag, but instead I got a bounce house and cake. From my perspective your party sounds more extravagant than the one you are attended at the house. Also, 250K isn't that expensive of a house. I live in a LCOL area and you can spend that easily for a 3 bedroom house in a good school district. But YMMV. From my outside perspective, it sounds like you don't like these family members and thus nitpicked everything they did. We've all been there.

FWIW, neither party sounds that overboard. I love cake and ice cream. I could take or leave the icing, though. People rarely eat over-iced cake like that in regular life and I think like to splurge at a party.

But I completely agree with you about the gifts. More often than not, we do "no gifts" parties or suggest a children's related charity to donate to. Because watching a kid open that much stuff is just disturbing. We foster greedy little consumers that way.

I can't say I'm thrilled with the 529 contribution suggestion. That's okay for family who might want to help with college anyway, but no, I'm not contributing to your kid's college fund. That seems more crass to me than just presents. "Money, money, GIVE ME MONEY!!!" Why don't they set up a GoFundMe account while they're at it? Requesting a charity donation is much more kosher etiquette wise.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 06:22:09 AM by justajane »

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2015, 07:45:52 AM »
Good and valid questions. The price of taking her and her 8 pals to the trampoline park will be $45. It is only $5 per kid when they are less than 5 and the adults watching them get in free. It is a decent deal when they are small. The price goes up to $10 when they get bigger, we won't be doing it then! Looking at bounce houses in our area it looks like the rental cost is $150-$250, depending on the size.

And I should have also mentioned that where I live the cost of living is low. Spending $250,000+ for a house is pretty pricey for a family of 3 around here. It has a 3 stall garage and 5 bedrooms. Our home cost about $150,000 and has 3 bedrooms and a 2 stall garage.  I know that in some places $250,000 is a steal. But admittedly the house has nothing to do with the party. These relatives are just very spendy in general and I was trying to set the scene.

It also seems that I am out of touch with what "normal" is today for birthday parties- I admit it! I am estimating the total cost of the party I attended to be around $700....for food, presents, bounce-house rental, power wheels thingy, other toys his parents got him, custom cake, etc. He had about 20 presents to open total. I am sure there are plenty of ways to go MORE overboard. I just think society's "normal" is overboard I suppose.

I am completely open to mustashian birthday party ideas, send them at me! I am sure a lot of you have great ideas. Maybe we will do a scavenger hunt next year? We live next to a park so I could hide things there.....  I used to love a simple slumber party when I was younger, but my daughter is a little to young for that yet.

justajane

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2015, 08:42:20 AM »
I was shocked when I found out bounce houses cost ca. $250 to rent (FELLOW MUSTACHIANS - LUCRATIVE SIDE HUSTLE OPPORTUNITY).  My antimustachian BIL once got TWO for his kids' birthday party. His reason? That way kids wouldn't get bored. At those rates, it makes sense to buy a $150 version and use it for fun in the future, or sell it on Craigslist "nearly new" after the party.

I agree that home parties can be very Antimustachian, especially if you provide tons and tons of food. For this reason, we have opted like you to do parties out of the house. $5 a kid is likely cheaper than providing lunch for parents and adults at your home, especially if you feel like you need to provide alcohol.

The scales tip the other way once kids are older, since it is unlikely that a parent of an 8 year old will want to stay at your house. Then you are only providing food and cake for the kids.

I think at some level, celebrations for life events are not, by their very nature, frugal events. They can be, but often they are not. This is one reason that many on here recommend only having family parties most years and limiting kid parties to big birthdays - like 5, 10, and 16, or something like that.

I went to a party last year for a kid turning six. It was at a train station (rental $200). They also had entertainment (jugglers/fire eaters). Who knows what that cost. And this is where it gets REALLY expensive/awesome. They had super fancy food for the adults. Catered pizza with arugula, dolmades, etc. in chafing dishes. That was a kick ass party for the adults especially. I left thinking that they had dropped at least a grand on the party (not counting presents, which they didn't open). I learned a year later that the father is a local chef and probably got the food free from a friend (who had a restaurant down the block) and might have cooked some himself.

Is your kids' birthday in Fall/summer or spring? Renting a pavilion is usually pretty cheap.

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2015, 08:51:42 AM »
When I was a kid, my fave bday party game was when we stood behind a line and had to try and throw pennies into a box. Now that's fun!

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2015, 09:15:55 AM »
I was shocked when I found out bounce houses cost ca. $250 to rent (FELLOW MUSTACHIANS - LUCRATIVE SIDE HUSTLE OPPORTUNITY).  My antimustachian BIL once got TWO for his kids' birthday party. His reason? That way kids wouldn't get bored. At those rates, it makes sense to buy a $150 version and use it for fun in the future, or sell it on Craigslist "nearly new" after the party.

I agree that home parties can be very Antimustachian, especially if you provide tons and tons of food. For this reason, we have opted like you to do parties out of the house. $5 a kid is likely cheaper than providing lunch for parents and adults at your home, especially if you feel like you need to provide alcohol.

The scales tip the other way once kids are older, since it is unlikely that a parent of an 8 year old will want to stay at your house. Then you are only providing food and cake for the kids.

I think at some level, celebrations for life events are not, by their very nature, frugal events. They can be, but often they are not. This is one reason that many on here recommend only having family parties most years and limiting kid parties to big birthdays - like 5, 10, and 16, or something like that.

I went to a party last year for a kid turning six. It was at a train station (rental $200). They also had entertainment (jugglers/fire eaters). Who knows what that cost. And this is where it gets REALLY expensive/awesome. They had super fancy food for the adults. Catered pizza with arugula, dolmades, etc. in chafing dishes. That was a kick ass party for the adults especially. I left thinking that they had dropped at least a grand on the party (not counting presents, which they didn't open). I learned a year later that the father is a local chef and probably got the food free from a friend (who had a restaurant down the block) and might have cooked some himself.

Is your kids' birthday in Fall/summer or spring? Renting a pavilion is usually pretty cheap.

Holy cow. Fire eaters??? I truly WAS in the dark about how much these events CAN cost! The party I went to now sounds pretty tame, I will admit. And I love your idea about the bounce houses being a side hustle, HA! And only doing bigger parties on special years is a good idea, too. This is the first  year we have done anything but a small party while the family was already together celebrating Easter..my daughter is turning 5 this year and we thought we would do something different.

Her birthday is in April. Which where we live it could be 80 degrees that day or snowing. LOL. Renting a pavillion is a nice idea in general. From what I remember from doing this for a family gathering a few years ago it is about $40.

I also forgot to mention that our thought process behind the trip to the trampoline park was that by making it a field trip during the regular day during preschool, it is painless for the parents. Their net cost is $0 because they don't have to drive to and from our house with a present they spent money on. (We told the preschool owners that we do not want presents, to just present it as a free field trip that we would help chaperone.) Not to mention they don't have to spend part of their weekend at a child's birthday party. (Ok, maybe some people enjoy them. Most people I know go for their kids and hope there is alcohol. LOL.) And their kid gets to visit the trampoline park for free.

Anywho, keep the ideas coming if you have them. Thanks for the advice.

Joshin

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2015, 09:38:55 AM »
Around here, the over the top parties are mainly thrown by those that can afford them the least. I think shame and guilt may play into the thought process. Those that I know that are doing better financially tend to stick to cake and pizza at home. We looked into the local party joint (laser tag, mini golf, arcade place) one year. It cost $100 just to get the party in the door, then an additional $15 per kid. Um, no thanks.

I've been accused by outsiders for spending too much on my kids' birthdays. Our parties are always at home and always Pinterest-worthy theme parties. What outsiders don't know is that I am a naturally crafty person that actually enjoys putting in a month of planning and prep during my evening downtime, so everything is DIY at these parties. I never spend more than $25 or so, and that's mainly on the ingredients for the food and cake. I even make the party favors.

I'm actually a bit sad right now. I'm in the middle of planning for a party for my younger son. My teen quit wanting parties when he was 11, so I figure this may be younger's last year of a theme party. I'll miss having a boy perched on my knee while we cruise the internet looking for ideas and figuring out how we can implement them with the stuff we have around the house!

Neustache

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2015, 09:59:44 AM »
We spend a decent amount of money for birthdays, but it's for the adults.  I'd say we spend about 50-100 on food, 70 on the kid for presents, and then we do free things at home for the kiddos. 

We usually make pretty awesome food, and alcohol is often something my husband has made himself (cider, mead, beer).


Some might say we go over the top but we like doing it and we like being hospitable and making it fun for the adults (the kids we aren't worried about - they play and run around and have fun).

We did, last year, snag a space at the local state conservation nature center....for FREE!   You can't reserve it, but if you show up you can take the tables.  I'm sure people thought we paid for it, but we didn't.  The party was held in a sun room surrounded by bird feeders and beautiful birds.  There was a tree themed slide indoors along with various animal displays (snakes, turtles, fish).  The kids had a blast and it was free besides the food we made and brought.



MBot

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2015, 11:26:38 AM »

I also forgot to mention that our thought process behind the trip to the trampoline park was that by making it a field trip during the regular day during preschool, it is painless for the parents. Their net cost is $0 because they don't have to drive to and from our house with a present they spent money on. (We told the preschool owners that we do not want presents, to just present it as a free field trip that we would help chaperone.) Not to mention they don't have to spend part of their weekend at a child's birthday party. (Ok, maybe some people enjoy them. Most people I know go for their kids and hope there is alcohol. LOL.) And their kid gets to visit the trampoline park for free.


This is an awesome idea! I love it.

RunHappy

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2015, 11:42:09 AM »
Kid's parties have gotten out of hand.  I've seen pics of some parties on FB and realize these kids are having bigger bashes than I am planning for my wedding! 

I like the way one of my friends does it. They have a friend party every other year. On the "off" years it is family only.  Still they have a big family.

I noticed with my first child, the big parties were only during the elementary school years.  Once middle school hit, she only wanted to celebrate with her small circle of friends.

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2015, 11:56:09 AM »

I also forgot to mention that our thought process behind the trip to the trampoline park was that by making it a field trip during the regular day during preschool, it is painless for the parents. Their net cost is $0 because they don't have to drive to and from our house with a present they spent money on. (We told the preschool owners that we do not want presents, to just present it as a free field trip that we would help chaperone.) Not to mention they don't have to spend part of their weekend at a child's birthday party. (Ok, maybe some people enjoy them. Most people I know go for their kids and hope there is alcohol. LOL.) And their kid gets to visit the trampoline park for free.


This is an awesome idea! I love it.

See, as a preschool teacher, I completely disagree and actually cringed when I read that.  I don't won't to be responsible for your child's birthday party.  I always acknowledge my students' birthdays and don't mind a small treat being brought in, but if you want to have a party, do it on your own time.  My job is to teach them, not to host a party.  Plus, once one parent does something like this other parents start feeling competitive and want to one up one another so then we end up with 8 parties through the year. 

We do parties every other year.  My oldest had a slumber party last year, but my youngest wanted a Paris-themed party.  It looked over the top.  We basically transformed our living room into a Parisian café complete with café tables and chairs, a 6' tall Eiffel Tower, a café awning, etc.  We gave each child a necklace with the Eiffel Tower on it.  We had a French themed menu with croissants, eclairs, sparkling cider, etc..  We had a fashion show and let them create art.  It was pretty elaborate and looked amazing.  All told, we spent less than a hundred dollars and that was mostly for the food.  We borrowed most of the stuff and made the rest of it. It took time and planning, but it didn't take a lot of money. Plus, it was way cheaper than the trip to Paris that she asked for.

I am one of those kids that never had a birthday party.  I lived to tell about it, but I do want my kids to have one day that's just about them.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 11:58:12 AM by crispy »

justajane

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #22 on: March 22, 2015, 12:07:54 PM »
Around here, the over the top parties are mainly thrown by those that can afford them the least. I think shame and guilt may play into the thought process. Those that I know that are doing better financially tend to stick to cake and pizza at home. We looked into the local party joint (laser tag, mini golf, arcade place) one year. It cost $100 just to get the party in the door, then an additional $15 per kid. Um, no thanks.

I've been accused by outsiders for spending too much on my kids' birthdays. Our parties are always at home and always Pinterest-worthy theme parties. What outsiders don't know is that I am a naturally crafty person that actually enjoys putting in a month of planning and prep during my evening downtime, so everything is DIY at these parties. I never spend more than $25 or so, and that's mainly on the ingredients for the food and cake. I even make the party favors.

I'm actually a bit sad right now. I'm in the middle of planning for a party for my younger son. My teen quit wanting parties when he was 11, so I figure this may be younger's last year of a theme party. I'll miss having a boy perched on my knee while we cruise the internet looking for ideas and figuring out how we can implement them with the stuff we have around the house!

Have you ever thought of doing this as a side gig? I imagine there is a market for impressive looking home parties, especially the party favors. People get tired of the parties in the usual places but probably don't feel like they have the know how to throw a home party that is any fun.

I wonder how much money you could make if you charged $5 a party favor bag or something like that. I bet there are people who would pay that if it were unique or impressive enough.

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2015, 01:01:33 PM »

I also forgot to mention that our thought process behind the trip to the trampoline park was that by making it a field trip during the regular day during preschool, it is painless for the parents. Their net cost is $0 because they don't have to drive to and from our house with a present they spent money on. (We told the preschool owners that we do not want presents, to just present it as a free field trip that we would help chaperone.) Not to mention they don't have to spend part of their weekend at a child's birthday party. (Ok, maybe some people enjoy them. Most people I know go for their kids and hope there is alcohol. LOL.) And their kid gets to visit the trampoline park for free.


This is an awesome idea! I love it.

See, as a preschool teacher, I completely disagree and actually cringed when I read that.  I don't won't to be responsible for your child's birthday party.  I always acknowledge my students' birthdays and don't mind a small treat being brought in, but if you want to have a party, do it on your own time.  My job is to teach them, not to host a party.  Plus, once one parent does something like this other parents start feeling competitive and want to one up one another so then we end up with 8 parties through the year. 

We do parties every other year.  My oldest had a slumber party last year, but my youngest wanted a Paris-themed party.  It looked over the top.  We basically transformed our living room into a Parisian café complete with café tables and chairs, a 6' tall Eiffel Tower, a café awning, etc.  We gave each child a necklace with the Eiffel Tower on it.  We had a French themed menu with croissants, eclairs, sparkling cider, etc..  We had a fashion show and let them create art.  It was pretty elaborate and looked amazing.  All told, we spent less than a hundred dollars and that was mostly for the food.  We borrowed most of the stuff and made the rest of it. It took time and planning, but it didn't take a lot of money. Plus, it was way cheaper than the trip to Paris that she asked for.

I am one of those kids that never had a birthday party.  I lived to tell about it, but I do want my kids to have one day that's just about them.

I can see how you would cringe at the thought of being responsible for a child's party. Especially if you have a lot of students. We (my husband and I)  are doing all of the planning, though, and also are driving and chaperoning the trip. The preschool goes on a field trip once a month at least, anyway. She said we are actually saving her the trouble of finding one to go to for the month of April.  The only thing she has to do is collect the permission forms I printed off for her and drive there and back with a few kids. I told her to take a load off when we got to the venue, there is a lot of supervision by staff there and my husband and I will be keeping an eye on everyone. There is a spot where adults can view almost the entire area. She can watch from there if she likes, or join in the fun of jumping. I personally love jumping!

There really isn't a "party" element here, truthfully. No presents to open, no cake to cut, just a bit of time jumpin' around. I bet they all take good naps that day, ha! I would never just throw money at her and tell her to do it.

And I love your Paris-themed party! Nice work! I need to be more crafty.....

enb123

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2015, 02:57:55 PM »
This thread reminded me of an old Dick Van Dyke Show episode - from 1964! - that was about the exact same topic.  Kids birthday parties had gotten way too expensive (renting out amusement parks, etc.), so they decide to host it at their house to teach the kid a life lesson.  They all get stuck indoors, and disaster/hilarity ensues:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-L-v5fbvhPM

I guess it's not a new phenomenon!

Sibley

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2015, 03:08:25 PM »
Around here, the over the top parties are mainly thrown by those that can afford them the least. I think shame and guilt may play into the thought process. Those that I know that are doing better financially tend to stick to cake and pizza at home. We looked into the local party joint (laser tag, mini golf, arcade place) one year. It cost $100 just to get the party in the door, then an additional $15 per kid. Um, no thanks.

I've been accused by outsiders for spending too much on my kids' birthdays. Our parties are always at home and always Pinterest-worthy theme parties. What outsiders don't know is that I am a naturally crafty person that actually enjoys putting in a month of planning and prep during my evening downtime, so everything is DIY at these parties. I never spend more than $25 or so, and that's mainly on the ingredients for the food and cake. I even make the party favors.

I'm actually a bit sad right now. I'm in the middle of planning for a party for my younger son. My teen quit wanting parties when he was 11, so I figure this may be younger's last year of a theme party. I'll miss having a boy perched on my knee while we cruise the internet looking for ideas and figuring out how we can implement them with the stuff we have around the house!

You'll have graduation parties at some point, and who know what else is expected. Don't despair!

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2015, 04:18:38 PM »

I also forgot to mention that our thought process behind the trip to the trampoline park was that by making it a field trip during the regular day during preschool, it is painless for the parents. Their net cost is $0 because they don't have to drive to and from our house with a present they spent money on. (We told the preschool owners that we do not want presents, to just present it as a free field trip that we would help chaperone.) Not to mention they don't have to spend part of their weekend at a child's birthday party. (Ok, maybe some people enjoy them. Most people I know go for their kids and hope there is alcohol. LOL.) And their kid gets to visit the trampoline park for free.


This is an awesome idea! I love it.

See, as a preschool teacher, I completely disagree and actually cringed when I read that.  I don't won't to be responsible for your child's birthday party.  I always acknowledge my students' birthdays and don't mind a small treat being brought in, but if you want to have a party, do it on your own time.  My job is to teach them, not to host a party.  Plus, once one parent does something like this other parents start feeling competitive and want to one up one another so then we end up with 8 parties through the year. 

We do parties every other year.  My oldest had a slumber party last year, but my youngest wanted a Paris-themed party.  It looked over the top.  We basically transformed our living room into a Parisian café complete with café tables and chairs, a 6' tall Eiffel Tower, a café awning, etc.  We gave each child a necklace with the Eiffel Tower on it.  We had a French themed menu with croissants, eclairs, sparkling cider, etc..  We had a fashion show and let them create art.  It was pretty elaborate and looked amazing.  All told, we spent less than a hundred dollars and that was mostly for the food.  We borrowed most of the stuff and made the rest of it. It took time and planning, but it didn't take a lot of money. Plus, it was way cheaper than the trip to Paris that she asked for.

I am one of those kids that never had a birthday party.  I lived to tell about it, but I do want my kids to have one day that's just about them.

I can see how you would cringe at the thought of being responsible for a child's party. Especially if you have a lot of students. We (my husband and I)  are doing all of the planning, though, and also are driving and chaperoning the trip. The preschool goes on a field trip once a month at least, anyway. She said we are actually saving her the trouble of finding one to go to for the month of April.  The only thing she has to do is collect the permission forms I printed off for her and drive there and back with a few kids. I told her to take a load off when we got to the venue, there is a lot of supervision by staff there and my husband and I will be keeping an eye on everyone. There is a spot where adults can view almost the entire area. She can watch from there if she likes, or join in the fun of jumping. I personally love jumping!

There really isn't a "party" element here, truthfully. No presents to open, no cake to cut, just a bit of time jumpin' around. I bet they all take good naps that day, ha! I would never just throw money at her and tell her to do it.

And I love your Paris-themed party! Nice work! I need to be more crafty.....

Are you driving the kids in the daycare vehicle or your own? There something about this that makes my Spidey sense tingle.

Frugalite

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2015, 07:39:36 PM »
LOL. Spidey sense. I am glad I am not the only one who says this.

I will drive a car, husband will drive a car, and the owner and possibly one of her employees will drive. We each take a few kids. Every field trip that the preschool does relies on parent volunteers to drive and chaperone. It is a small preschool, they don't have a bus. All kids are in carseats of course.

RunHappy

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #28 on: March 22, 2015, 10:01:32 PM »
LOL. Spidey sense. I am glad I am not the only one who says this.

I will drive a car, husband will drive a car, and the owner and possibly one of her employees will drive. We each take a few kids. Every field trip that the preschool does relies on parent volunteers to drive and chaperone. It is a small preschool, they don't have a bus. All kids are in carseats of course.

Lol!  I sometimes get weird looks when I use the phrase but it is one that everyone understandd.

I wonder which insurance pays if there is a car accident while using your car?  Does the daycare or your insurance pay out?  What if there is a lawsuit?  Is this a common practice with small daycares?

rocketpj

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2015, 12:08:33 AM »
One boy just turned 10 a couple weeks ago.  We had a sleepover party with homemade pizza and a sushi party tray, some capture the flag outside and a movie to cap the evening.  The kids all had fun.

The strangest part was the gifts.  Of the 7 boys who came over, 4 of them gave a card with a $20 in it.  This is a thing?  Handing cash back and forth like mobsters? 

lostamonkey

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #30 on: March 23, 2015, 05:51:10 AM »
One boy just turned 10 a couple weeks ago.  We had a sleepover party with homemade pizza and a sushi party tray, some capture the flag outside and a movie to cap the evening.  The kids all had fun.

The strangest part was the gifts.  Of the 7 boys who came over, 4 of them gave a card with a $20 in it.  This is a thing?  Handing cash back and forth like mobsters?

My group of friends started doing this when we were about 10-11. It's a lot less work than actually buying presents and everyone likes cash.

boarder42

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #31 on: March 23, 2015, 05:52:57 AM »
One boy just turned 10 a couple weeks ago.  We had a sleepover party with homemade pizza and a sushi party tray, some capture the flag outside and a movie to cap the evening.  The kids all had fun.

The strangest part was the gifts.  Of the 7 boys who came over, 4 of them gave a card with a $20 in it.  This is a thing?  Handing cash back and forth like mobsters?

My group of friends started doing this when we were about 10-11. It's a lot less work than actually buying presents and everyone likes cash.

This is how my family has always done it.  So much easier.  We have gone away from giving anything now though.  no real reason to at this point.  I hand my bro 20 bucks for his bday he hand me that 20 back for mine ... gross waste of time.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #32 on: March 23, 2015, 06:50:04 AM »
It was held in their brand new, at least quarter of a million dollar home
Where do you live?  Phrased like that, it sounds like you think this is incredibly extravagant.  But "a quarter of a million" is only $250k. All the places I've lived (middle america, but not super rural) that is a nice, but not at all expensive home.



Quote
He has so many to open that each one is pretty meaningless.
I've always seen this as a problem at birthdays and Christmas.  I was once at a Christmas where the kid was so overwhelmed with gifts he started crying. But the idea of taking a break wasn't offered, and the grandparents had the kid slog through opening more.  That made me sad.

Quote
Then time for a sugar-fest of cake with insane amounts of frosting and a side of ice cream. About a half hour later the meltdowns started.
This is a feature of every birthday party I've been to since the 1980s, many of which were frugal backyard get togethers. I assume since before then, but I wasn't around. Too much sugar is not a new consumerist attitude.

Quote
(For her birthday we are paying for her and her small preschool class to go on a field trip to the local trampoline park. No presents, she has enough from us and other family. )
The trampoline park here (Sky Zone) is $500 for 1 hour of jumping and 40 minutes in the party room for up to 25 people. That includes 4 pizzas and drinks, you bring your own cake.   A bounce house costs $200 to rent for 24 hours. 

I can totally see why more parents choose the bounce house for kids parties.


I'm a red panda

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #33 on: March 23, 2015, 06:52:05 AM »

This is how my family has always done it.  So much easier.  We have gone away from giving anything now though.  no real reason to at this point.  I hand my bro 20 bucks for his bday he hand me that 20 back for mine ... gross waste of time.

I CANNOT convince my sister to stop giving me birthday gifts. She has sent a check for the past 10 years. I send one back to her a week later.

I keep telling her "now that you have kids, birthdays are about them. I don't need anything"

She feels guilty because I send lots of money for her kids, but I don't have any so she doesn't send anything back.  But then for Christmas she got me an extravagant gift certificate, basically equaling what I spent on all 3 of the kids. Why do we just trade money?

hdatontodo

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #34 on: March 23, 2015, 08:08:05 AM »
If I could continue the thread drift about some adults not liking to exchange $20's for presents.

You could all take this a step further and say you shouldn't buy Christmas presents for your spouse since it is all family money, and she ends up paying for her own presents in part. Heck, why even exchange wedding bands at the ceremony.

People give presents to show they remember your birthday and that you mean something to them. It's a tradition for some.

Then again, some people stopped sending Christmas cards or birthday cards in the mail and send some e-greeting because it is fast and cheap. I send money to one of my siblings who needs it. The others just get a card for their birthday.

Ok, back to the overpriced child party discussion, which is already in progress....

I'm a red panda

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #35 on: March 23, 2015, 08:20:15 AM »
Quote
You could all take this a step further and say you shouldn't buy Christmas presents for your spouse since it is all family money, and she ends up paying for her own presents in part.

This is EXACTLY why DH and I don't exchange gifts.

caliq

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #36 on: March 23, 2015, 08:32:20 AM »
Quote
You could all take this a step further and say you shouldn't buy Christmas presents for your spouse since it is all family money, and she ends up paying for her own presents in part.

This is EXACTLY why DH and I don't exchange gifts.

+1

We pick something to get ourselves (as a pair) or the house as a Christmas gift, or if there's things we both want individually, we both agree to buy them as Christmas gifts but we both know what we're getting? 

This strategy may have something to do with the fact that DH is terrible at gift giving ;)

I've been getting cash from my parents and close family (nothing from larger extended family) to apply towards various goals for birthdays and Christmas since I was around 13 or so.  Usually horse related things.  Now that I think about it, it was a great scheme for my parents, who would have ended up paying for said horse things whether or not they made me 'save up' for it by giving me the money as a gift first.  They saved a lot by not buying me actual gifts over that time period. 

Candace

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #37 on: March 23, 2015, 09:18:54 AM »
Stuff like this makes me even more glad I never had kids. Everyone judges everyone for everything.

I don't see the harm in coming on this forum and venting a little bit. But people on this forum pointing fingers at one another? Really? Can we be reasonable? Perhaps gently pointing out that the pot might, just might be calling the kettle black, can be constructive and helpful. But can we please all be supportive of each other and cut down on the nastiness?

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #38 on: March 23, 2015, 10:04:10 AM »
Quote
You could all take this a step further and say you shouldn't buy Christmas presents for your spouse since it is all family money, and she ends up paying for her own presents in part.

This is EXACTLY why DH and I don't exchange gifts.
I am resigned to the fact that my wife will never agree with me on that one. The good thing is, she's not materialistic - it is genuinely the thought that counts with her.

mm1970

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #39 on: March 23, 2015, 10:06:18 AM »
UGH. Just got back from spending almost the whole day traveling to, participating in, and traveling back from a 4-year old's opulent birthday party. Wouldn't have gone but they are family. It was held in their brand new, at least quarter of a million dollar home  that is already fully decorated in the latest style. I almost giggled as I added our present to the pile- it was wrapped in old comic strips, HA!

Of course there is a bounce house which the other children enjoy, but all the birthday boy wants to do is drive his brand-new mini truck power-wheels thingy that probably cost at least $300. Then it is present time. He rips through them with only a quick glance before tearing into the next one. No thank you's, we didn't even realize he had opened ours it was so fast. He has so many to open that each one is pretty meaningless.

Then time for a sugar-fest of cake with insane amounts of frosting and a side of ice cream. About a half hour later the meltdowns started.

Lucky for us our almost 5 year old was very well behaved and had fun. But thank goodness we only have to do this once a year and we don't feel the need to put something like this on for our kid. (For her birthday we are paying for her and her small preschool class to go on a field trip to the local trampoline park. No presents, she has enough from us and other family. )

Thanks for letting me vent. Anyone else out there hate children's parties as much as I do, LOL?!
Well, I can't judge on quarter of a million dollars, because in my town, that would get you a mobile home in a mobile home park where you'd still have to pay space rent.

Kids love bounce houses.

4 year old are selfish little beasts, and that's how they open presents.  They get better as years go on.  Of course, there is often a boy/girl difference in how they behave.

I agree that birthday parties sometimes can get out of hand.  But I consider cake and ice cream to be a normal thing at a birthday party.  I get a little tired of the parties (and my husband planned my son's this year, and it was "big" at the local pool).  One thing that I see that has changed from my days as a kid (the 70's) to now  is this - my friends tend to have "big" parties where family is invited.  When I was a kid, it was more of a "drop-in" party with cake and ice cream (but not at age 4, more like 7).

What has changed?  Well, in the 70's, my mom didn't work, so she got adult interaction with friends and family on weekends and during the week.  Regular nights out with couple-friends and weekends with grandparents/ siblings/ cousins.

These days, we all work full time.  A "kid's birthday party" is really a "family party" because it's the only time we really get to see our friends.  So they tend to be bigger, but they aren't JUST a kid birthday party.

mm1970

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #40 on: March 23, 2015, 10:08:54 AM »
LOL. I love how you call my post disgusting and then call ME judgmental. Also, just curious, did you read the description of this sub-thread?

Not that it really matters, random internet person, but:

1.) My daughter absolutely loves her preschool. It is very well priced.

2.) The trampoline park is a locally owned small business. The kids will be getting a lot of exercise there, not sure how this is unhealthy?

3.) My family could not be more different than the family being discussed. You don't know me so you really can't make that judgement. I know them quite well. 

4.) So your solution to family members you don't agree with is to never see them again? I suppose we differ. My solution is to love them anyway but inwardly roll my eyes at their choices and then anonymously vent a bit online. Which seems more harsh?


Yes, I'm pointing out that what you are doing can be thrown back at you in many shapes and forms. I'm glad you get the point. You don't need to 'justify' how you live your life to me, but even after those clarifications I don't agree with how you live your life and your anti-mustachian choices- small business support guise? non parental supervision? etc etc. Just like you seem to not agree with how your family member lives their life. What goes around....

Second, yes, for what you are saying about someone you are supposedly 'loving' towards in person- the online reality of your thought process IS disgusting and judgmental. There was no 'eye-rolling' in your post but a full on character assault of a party you CHOSE TO ATTEND. WTF.

Oh, I get it. Only YOU get to judge people. People you don't know. And you can read my thought process! These are some superhero level powers, maybe you should use them for good.
Ha ha!  I think you missed her/his point.

She/he's fake "judging you" because you were obviously being so judgmental towards your family.

mm1970

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #41 on: March 23, 2015, 10:13:15 AM »
wtf... there are "trampoline parks"?

It is just a fancy name for a building with a bunch of trampolines hooked together with padding. Lots of times they have basketball hoops and ball pits to jump into. And sometimes fitness classes. There are various chains around the country. The one in my city is locally owned and run and it is connected to a beautiful park with Frisbee golf and mini golf. it is great! They have lower rates for the smaller kids and also certain times when they can go and not get run over by the bigger kids trying to pull off a double front flip, haha!

 I think Skyzone is the name of the chain that may be in other cities.

What's the difference between you going to this 'locally' owned trampoline park and your relative's bounce house?  I'll bet it was rented from a 'locally' owned company.

The party you've described sounds far from 'opulent' to me.
Not really a huge difference. 

We have a new trampoline park (I've never been, but my son has been a few times for parties).  It's $14 for one hour on the weekend.  (Though you can become a member and get it for cheaper.)  So if you had a party for 8 kids plus your kid, that would be $126.  Plus cake.

A bounce house rental would be about similar, but of course you'd need to rent the spot to put it in (local park).  That type of party would run you more like $200-250 for the bounce house and park rental.

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #42 on: March 23, 2015, 10:25:24 AM »

A bounce house rental would be about similar, but of course you'd need to rent the spot to put it in (local park). 

Most parks won't let you bring a bounce house (insurance reasons). The people who have them usually have a backyard they put them in. I know a few people with a lot of kids who just bought them- they cost less than a nice trampoline, and if you used to rent them it pays off fairly quickly.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 03:49:19 PM by iowajes »

gimp

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2015, 02:43:51 PM »
Anyone else want a bouncy house for themselves?

MountainFlower

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2015, 03:02:23 PM »
Anyone else want a bouncy house for themselves?

Yes! 


gimp

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2015, 03:27:20 PM »
Good. I'm glad I'm not alone. If I ever have a yard, I'll buy my own fucking bouncy castle, and use it for... things... fun activities of all sorts.

Gen Y Finance Journey

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #46 on: March 23, 2015, 03:44:32 PM »
In my circle of friends, we're known to have bounce houses at adult-only parties...

Also, they cost around $100-150 to rent, so not dirt cheap, but certainly not an overly extravagant cost to pay for a birthday party. And cake?! At a birthday party?! That's just crazy talk! Sounds like something only morons who buy $250k houses would do.

But the one part that does drive me insane as well is watching kids tear through presents. It hurts my soul a little bit seeing all that consumerist brainwashing. But I think it comes with the territory of kids' birthday parties. I'm sure I'll have to grit my teeth and bear it on my future kids' birthdays and Christmas too, and do my best to combat the consumerist brainwashing every other day of the year.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 03:48:42 PM by Gen Y Finance Journey »

gimp

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #47 on: March 23, 2015, 03:54:19 PM »
My cousin has kids now. I make it a point to give her the birthday/christmas/etc presents. This way, they can decide what is appropriate, and when, and dole it out accordingly. For example, their oldest had a bunch of presents on christmas - so by the time I came over, he was tired and still had half unopened. Anything I gave him directly would have been wasted.

(Also I have no goddamn idea whether the kid already had a book I gave, or when it's appropriate for kids to get legos. Will they eat the pieces? Depends on the individual kid. I wanted to give him legos, so that also solved that problem.)

I wonder if that's a good way to do it. I guess I'll probably find out some day... thank god not yet.

Ebenezer

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #48 on: March 23, 2015, 04:47:51 PM »
These parties drive me nuts, especially the gifts and the party bags. Our youngest is about to have a picnic in her grandparents' yard, with just us and them present, BUT THIS IS OK BECAUSE SHE'S ONLY FUCKING TWO AND ISN'T REALLY CLEAR ON WHAT BIRTHDAYS ARE NEVER MIND WHEN HERS IS.

We have done home and "venue" parties for the older two, I do resent the waste generated, in particular by the plastic crap from China in the party bags and indeed in the presents.

Without wanting to blow my own mustachian trumpet too much, I make enough after tax to buy my house twice a year; this means that our kids already have everything they need plus quite a lot more, and also that our capacity for storing plastic crap from China is somewhat limited.

</rant>



Joshin

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Re: Overblown Kids' Birthday Parties.....Why, God, Why?
« Reply #49 on: March 23, 2015, 04:56:19 PM »

Have you ever thought of doing this as a side gig? I imagine there is a market for impressive looking home parties, especially the party favors. People get tired of the parties in the usual places but probably don't feel like they have the know how to throw a home party that is any fun.

I wonder how much money you could make if you charged $5 a party favor bag or something like that. I bet there are people who would pay that if it were unique or impressive enough.

I actually have it on my list of post-RE ideas. I probably wouldn't do it locally, but sell packages via Etsy or some other online venue. The idea of working one-on-one with Party Mom-zillas is more drama than I can deal with in person ;)