Birthday party face-offs

I remember when birthday parties had a set, reliable formula. You play pass the parcel, you possibly pin the tail on the donkey, you have party food and you go home with a token party bag. Note: party bags contain a balloon, a squashed piece of cake, a party blower and perhaps another small trinket. That’s it. Job done, thank you very much, see you again same time same place next year.
What was so wrong with that? Nothing. But now I’m a cynical grown up it seems that the parties my parents hosted are no longer acceptable in terms of REALLY celebrating a child’s birthday. I should know, I’m guilty of it myself.
My daughter regularly brings home invitations to parties and some months we are attending one or two every weekend. But they’re not really parties!
Inviting a bunch of kids to batle it out at the local soft play centre does not constitute a party. Taking home a child with sweat on her brow and carpet burns on her knees is not fun- they just want MORE. This year we have been to a party at the Reebok stadium and we’re due to go to another there- a cheerleading party this time. We’ve been to cinema parties and go-karting parties and I even heard of a friend’s daughter being invited to a fancing party. Fencing! The ideal way to celebrate a 7th birthday…!
My sister in law’s daughter last year attended a party which required her to be driven about in a limousine sipping fizzy pop from plastic champagne flutes. We’ve attended parties at farms and parties at bowling alleys. We’ve been there, done it.
So this year we hosted parties at home. We had party food, games and good old fashioned conversations. We let the children play in the garden- it’s free!- and we sent home party bags full of goodies. A number of parents actually stopped me at school to say that thier child had really enjoyed the party and wanted one like that themsleves. Victory! Yes, its stressful, yes its a lot of work but I’m a teacher and I’m kind of used to it. And the end of the day, its a PARTY and while it didn’t win any award for originality, it was still fun!!!

Here is my darling boy’s party food spread- and yes, the cake is home made and it took blummin ages to make!!!



  1. December 21, 2010 / 2:37 pm

    Good old fashioned parties-that’s what it’s all about. Plenty of time for limousine parties and the like when they become older. My son will be 1 soon as I look forward to a simple if not huge, due to the size of my extended family traditional party!

  2. December 22, 2010 / 2:32 pm

    I am so with you on this one.
    The whole bigger/better/larger/themed/different/amazing party thing leaves me cold.
    I had a party just like you described last week – we played pass the parcel, pin the tail on the donkey. It was fab – and the bit he loved best – cake, candles and having everyone sing happy birthday.
    keep blogging.
    happy christmas to you and yours x

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