My son loves a good birthday party, and from a kid’s perspective, what’s not to love? He’s had all types of parties – bowling parties, Star Wars parties, karate parties, even a birthday party at Stew Leonard’s (a popular local food market – yes, they do parties!). For him, parties are all about fun, friends, games, and presents. Especially presents. As much as he loves being the life of the party, I believe it’s the mountain of presents he receives that drives him to ask for a birthday bash every year, complete with balloons, custom cake, decorations, goody bags, the works. And with anywhere from 15 to 25 guests (not including family), the gift haul was a considerable motivation to keep the party train going. I have happily hosted these parties for him (his delight at dancing the Limbo with Wow the Cow is priceless), but after 10 years of party planning I felt it was time to pull that train into the station. So, I informed him that last year’s 10th birthday party was to be the final one.
Then in January, he began lobbying for a party for his 11th birthday in March (“really Mom, the last one!”). He’s nothing if not persistent. The fact that we’re not Jewish hasn’t stopped him from asking us to celebrate Hanukkah (more presents), and a bar mitzvah request down the road wouldn’t surprise me in the least. And, pushover that I am, I agreed (to the 11th birthday party, not the bar mitzvah). After all, it’s really going to be the last one. But no big deal this time – a handful of friends and family at the local arcade for Lazer tag and pizza. A small ice cream cake. No balloons. No decorations. Call it party rehab. A “non-party” party.
Presents? Significantly scaled back.
“Awwww!” was the reply. But he agreed.
And he had a great time. He was a little disappointed about not having a lot of presents to open, but when he discovered that those few birthday cards contained cash and gift cards. . . maybe the “non-party” party isn’t such a bad deal after all. But handwritten thank-you notes are still required.
Have you decided that it’s time for a birthday party intervention? Or are you still in the throes of kiddie party planning? I’d love to know!