14 July 2010

What makes a great birthday party?

The price of invitations make me gasp. I know handmade takes time - trust me I know this! However charging $4 per invite with a photo of your baby on it adds up real quick. I made my own and it cost me a total of $10 for a pack of 25 sheets of photo paper from the newsagent. I was so happy with the way P's turned out and recommend all mums have a go at creating their own invites with a special photo and a simple theme.

My girlfriends have 12 year old daughters. I recently went to pick one up from a classmate's birthday and found a whole class (plus some) playing in sumo suits being supervised by two staff with hire truck.

I've seen on TV you can have a go kart track and karts come to your home, groups of kids are being ferried around the city in a stretch Hummer sipping lemonade from champagne glasses.... you can even have a professional photographer come to your home with make-up, costumes and even the catwalk included to have fashion shows. Now some of you may think there is nothing wrong with this and it's what children want these days but I don't like it.

I've been thinking a lot about birthday parties, and how much pressure there is on parents in today's society to provide the biggest and best of pretty much everything to their children. I almost got caught up in it you know, then I realised there is far more to a good birthday than the amount of money spent on entertainment (and boy have I heard some horror stories!).

My little P is turning one this week and we are celebrating her first birthday this Sunday. We have invited all our close friends and have family flying interstate to also attend her dedication at church Sunday morning. Now I'm not talking a huge amount of guests but it's still a healthy number for lunch. I went to the party supply people and priced up tray of frozen finger food, researched some cake decorating places for a ladybug cake, helium balloons for decoration etc etc etc... wow. I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

Now I know some people wouldn't blink an eyelid at these figures but I'm standing there watching the dollar signs add up and thinking "She's only 1! The little sweetheart won't even remember it!!!"and as much as I love my family and friends, I honestly don't feel I have anything to prove to them by providing these services!

P doesn't need to be the 'coolest' kid in her class (or our mother's group) and I don't think these over the top parties actually achieve much other than an empty wallet and a spoilt child that no doubt doesn't appreciate it. The scary thing is kids these days are expecting parents to fork out the dough to be satisfied that their party has been 'fun'. God only knows what parents with other one year old's will be expected to deliver in another 10 years time! Now that's a scary thought.

I've decided to think back to how my first birthday would have been celebrated and start from there. I'm talking party pies and sausage rolls, some little boys with tomato sauce, fairy bread and corn chips with salsa. Now for the mains... wait for it.... a sausage straight off the BBQ with some cheese, onion and sauce in a fresh roll.We'll have pass-the-parcel and maybe even play pin the tale on the donkey. There will be no expensive bonbonniere handed out to the guests but replaced with a small lolly bag with some mint leaves, jaffas, milk bottles and maybe even redskins included.

So wish me luck! I'm going back to basics and am honestly really looking forward to it. I think P will have fun and I'm sure our friends' little ones will enjoy the 'entertainment' too. Don't be afraid to do what you want to do and what you can afford to do. Who cares if so-and-so spent X amount on their child's party - some people honestly have more money than sense. It's the love of family and friends that make a good birthday party - and that is what little P will have in abundance!


  1. Thank you Lis for your common sense attitude! My little boy is about to turn 1, and I too have been feeling the pressure. We recently went to a first birtday party where each child was given a present by the birthday bubba - a few quick calculations in my head left me feeling sick! I am now looking forward to my little man's special day ~ one that will lso be filled with love and laughter, and not the cha-ching of a cash register!

  2. Lis I hear you - baby-H will be getting a cardboard box and some gruel if he's lucky on his first birthday ;-). I saw an article somewhere recently about the latest craze for little girls - to have a 'pamper party' where a consultant comes and gives them all face masks and pedicures - WTF??

  3. OH, my favourite game at parties when I was a kid was the 'chocolate game' where you had to roll a six, then get dressed in some ridiculous costume and then could eat as much chocolate as you could off a king size bar with a knife and fork before someone else rolled a six. P's probably a bit young for that one yet tho. Probably not suitable for lactose intolerant childers either!