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To feel that children's birthdays have turned into the next 'better than the jones'...

(13 Posts)
SittingSte Mon 10-Apr-17 20:49:47

We recently moved to a new area (nice but not ridiculously wealthy) and a new school for ds (yr1) and I am just stunned by the birthday parties we've been going to recently for his friends, things that obviously run into £100s if not £1000s, elaborate birthday cakes ordered in, entertainers galore, gifts given out to the children instead of the good old party bags.... or you look on fb and every post about a child's birthday is proven with a picture of a grinning child, surrounded by 20 or 30 gifts from his or her parents.
I feel there is a game at play - who can be better than whom - whose child has the best/most presents - who has the most elaborate parties etc. I'm often left feeling guilty that my son had a small family party at home, a homemade birthday cake and the single present of a guitar from us this year!! I know he was thrilled and he has been learning to play it ever since with Dh teaching him - but the requests for a party like X had for next year are creeping in. I have no desire or inclination to 'keep up with the jones' on this one but I do feel it has all got a bit out of hand..... The most elaborate so far included a petting zoo and a private fun fair!!

Grumpbum Mon 10-Apr-17 20:52:58

I didn't think this was a thing until one friend didn't invite another friends son to a party and then it was party war with the other mum declaring that her sons party would be better than anyone else's followed by the planning of a party that must have cost £400 at least.

SomethingBorrowed Mon 10-Apr-17 20:58:03

I agree
I have toddler DT though so at least I can do a joint party. Still a lot is expected: cake, goody bags, entertainment, decoration, food, drinks and nibbles for the adults... Add room hire as our house it too small to host and you easily get to £200-300+

pennypickle Mon 10-Apr-17 21:05:52

YANBU. Party competitiveness was rife when my teens were primary school age. It seems far more in your face grinning supermum competitive these days......limousines, fruit punch, best dressed invitee, £200 birthday cake.....! grin So glad my kids are too old for this type of shit!

SittingSte Mon 10-Apr-17 21:27:37

My friends 1 year old birthday cake cost over £60 - my wedding cake was less than that - but there money their choice I suppose!

Meekonsandwich Mon 10-Apr-17 22:04:08

I have never had a birthday party, but I'm really glad my mother never did it for me, because now I don't feel like my children need them either, I coped they'll cope. It's like living without Christmas, after a while you just don't understand the hype and what the big deal is and you do your own thing.

I know, we were such a fun house ;) hahaha

ohhereweareagain Mon 10-Apr-17 22:07:51

I agree op I. Hate it. Dd is going great to a house party where they are apparently having security guards confused she is only 14

LadyMaryofDownt0n Mon 10-Apr-17 22:11:40

Fairly normal around here, big all out parties. One 14yo even had a weekend to Disneyland Paris for her & 3 friends. DD was invited but I declined the offer it was way to elaborate.

Crumbs1 Mon 10-Apr-17 22:24:03

I think there's a class issue here. I think that OTT glitzy, all singing, all dancing, bigger, costlier also generally means more common.
Who even lets their child go in a ghastly stretch limousine- everyone would be laughing at them, surely? Shop bought cakes never taste as good as home made. There's even 'big' parties for 1 and 2 year olds - just plain silly and somewhat vulgar. All little ones need is a cake and special tea with their family. Primary school same but with a few games.

ScarlettFreestone Mon 10-Apr-17 22:42:45

You don't need to join in though.

Lots of kids don't have a party every year and even those who do don't all have an expensive party.

You can choose what to do and set expectations with your DC as per the budget.

FishInAWetSuitAndFlippers Mon 10-Apr-17 22:49:28

One of my dc was invited to a limo party for a 5th birthday. They went but we're pretty bored driving around for an hour.

I guess I'm fairly lucky because I do kids party entertainment so I save a fortune doing things myself. My kids get the choice of spending their birthday budget on a party or a present though, they dont get both.

emmyrose2000 Tue 11-Apr-17 02:57:39

My kids had/have birthday parties every year. I've never once felt that I needed to "keep up with, or surpass, the Joneses'". I just did what felt right for that particular child that particular year (or what we had time for).

Our parties have ranged from simple 2-3 hour events at home with party food and games, to hiring a bouncy castle, science/reptile/pool parties, a magician, going to a bowling alley, sleepovers (they were the easiest believe it or not as they tended to entertain themselves for the most part), or just taking a few friends to buffet restaurants.

Whatever other parents want to do is up to them. It's no skin off my nose.

longlostpal Sat 15-Apr-17 17:55:41

Could there be an element of people feeling that they need to "repay" the hospitality their kids have enjoyed with an "equally good" party? Ie feeling stingy giving the kids sarnies and cake in the back garden when other parents have stumped up for entertainers and bouncy castles? I'm not saying people should feel bad in those circumstances, just that there's a more generous explanation for the phenomenon you describe.

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