Thursday, July 14, 2011

Outrageous(ly Frugal) Kid Parties

So, I've been talking some about this new TLC show, "Outrageous Kid Parties".  There's a picture of one on the left.  That little girl is 6, and she's sitting on a throne while she opens presents.  She also got mad that her $2,100 cake had a purple bird on it instead of a blue one.  The whole party ran her parents about $32K.

But, hey, what's the cost of a college tuition in exchange for being the most popular kid in 1st grade?

Another mommy-friend and I were talking last night about how ridiculous children's birthdays have gotten.  Even as spoiled a kid as I was (and still, to some extent, am), parents when I was a kid didn't buy there kids near as much as parents seem to now, especially for very young children who, honestly, are not going to know any difference.

Plus, when you count gifts from extended family, friends invited to the party, etc., it adds up to a lot of presents, probably many more than any child needs.

And the parties themselves are insane.  Do you really need live entertainment for a toddler's birthday party?  They're either not going to remember it, or only remember it because they're traumatized.  (I'll never forget hiding from the scary clown at a cousin's birthday party when I was little.)

Or, what about these "event parties".  Like how you can rent out a Build-a-Bear store and have all your friends make their own stuffed animal.  By the time a child is old enough to appreciate their parents going to that expense, they're too old to enjoy Build-a-Bear (at least, in front of their friends).

And don't forget the goody bags!  Yeah, apparently goody bags are a thing now, though I don't really remember getting them as a kid.  You send each guest home with a bag of candy, small toys, etc.  It's a nice gesture, but I worry it teaches kids the wrong lesson.  You're supposed to go to a friend's birthday to celebrate with them and enjoy each other's company.  The party itself is supposed to be their gift to their guests, not a bag of sugar and trinkets.

Maybe I sound like a grouch but, even if my husband and I won the lottery, we would not throw over-the-top parties for our son.  I don't like the message it sends and, from what little I've seen of "Outrageous Kid Parties", I don't like the kids it creates.

So, what do I think is an appropriate party?  Well, as I've mentioned before, my son's second birthday party is coming up.  I've already told how I spent $60 on his gifts, falling far short of the $100 budget I set for myself.  Also, because he is awesome, my husband is making, totally from scratch, a banana (from fresh bananas) and vanilla pudding-filled yellow cake with homemade buttercream frosting.  And he's making it in the shape of a racecar.  (Seriously, my husband is amazing.)  He made a "test cake" yesterday, and it is so ridiculously delicious.  And instead of spending money on a pricey bakery cake, we're getting a much, much nicer, better-tasting cake for just the cost of a few simple ingredients and a racecar mold (about $3) from Michael's.

We still have decorations from last year, and you know "sports" doesn't go out of style as a boys' theme.

My parents are very generously letting us use their backyard, so we don't have to rent a picnic shelter at a park or anything like that.  (Also greatly cuts down on driving distance for most attendees.)  As for activities, my mom is bringing over a sand-play table, I'm bringing over some fingerpaint and paper, and my parents are setting up their kiddie pool.  We're going to let the kids fingerpaint and play in the sand, and then we'll hose them off and let them play in the pool.

Food will be something simple, burgers and dogs, chips, etc., and the aforementioned awesome cake.  We'll get everyone dried off, eat cake, open presents, and call it a day.  Maybe we'll let the littler kids nap and the grown-ups and older kids can have some time to karaoke.  (My dad is nuts about karaoke.)

We contemplated inviting some of my son's friends from church or school but, given as he's still at a somewhat unpredictable age, we're keeping the occassion "just family" until at least next year.

So, there you have it.  A birthday party under $100.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As it should be.

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