Oct 1, 2015

Why we don't want to throw lavish birthday parties?

D turned 4 a few days back. From the beginning of 2015, hubby and I decided to keep the birthday party simple. The main influencing factor was how the previous birthday (3rd) turned out. We had decided to host a birthday party. Booked the small party hall in our apartment, invited a few common friends, apartment neighbors and kids that D usually meets in the play area. Ordered birthday cake, snacks (pizza and soft drinks), bought personalized return gifts and other party goodies. Took a lot of our time, energy and effort to get things arranged.

On the D-day (it was a Sunday), friends kept dropping out one after another through messages/SMS. During the party, very few invited kids turned up. Many of their parents didn't even bother informing us that they wouldn't be able to come. With the few kids who turned up, we conducted the party. After the party got over, we requested the security guards to take the remaining cake and other food items (which were quite a lot).

Hubby and I had a long discussion about this whole party - the wastage of food, expenditure and most importantly, the callous attitude of certain people who didn't even have the courtesy to inform that they are dropping out / won't be able to make it.

This year, the party was very simple. We arranged a simple cake cutting celebration in the evening at home, with D's grandparents and her close friends. The food was cake, chips and home baked muffins. Hubby and my dad decorated our living room with some balloons and a couple of birthday banners. It was a simple and cozy event. As a family, we felt happy and D also had her share of fun.

After eating the cake, a 6 year old kid asked "Aunty, I'm going home. Give me my return gift". I replied, "There's no return gift, dear. This is a different kind of a party". I could sense her disappointment but I'm not going to feel guilty about it.

The expectation of kids around these birthday parties is seriously a cause of concern. The party has to be in a hall/playarea/mall/pizza outlet and there needs to be some events, games, a caricaturist / a tattoo maker, chocolates, lots of snacks (read: junk food) and return gifts.

It's becoming like a transaction oriented event where the kids compare the return gifts they got from different parties. There's no innocence or fun anymore. Introducing such materialistic expectations at such a young age will certainly do more harm in the future.

We have decided to continue the same kind of birthday party for D unless she demands something else. And for the few parties that she's been invited to, we give the gift to the child and politely excuse ourselves.

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