If you took your average 6 year old and asked them if they’d like to go to the park for their birthday and have a big fat ice cream, they’d probably punch the sky and shout “yeah!”. So when did all this glitz and glamour start? When did parents get so competitive in their quest to provide the most inventive party bag known to man? “Here you go kids, it’s an air dried goats bladder filled with rare natural sweets only found in the remote enclaves of the isle of Skye”. (Child runs away crying for Haribo…). Gone are the days of an orange wrapped in tin foil with cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks; “Mummy, there doesn’t appear to be any humus to dip my carrot baton into”. Have we created a monster that there is simply no escaping now, as kids expectations are through the roof? Is it really so lame to expect kids to dance to a Black Lace mega mix and open pass the parcel wrapped in last weeks newspapers? It seems that the stakes are pretty high, with parents sweating cobs as they try to delicately mould fondant icing into their little darlings favourite Disney character. Preparations into kids birthday cakes these days would impress even Mary Berry, and as for the buffet, you can expect your 5 a day and not an E number in sight! But who is this for? Certainly not the kids, as the full bowl of grapes next to the empty bowl of crisps would suggest. Is this all just a severe case of keeping up with Jones’s?
It doesn’t just stop at the cake and party bags. The night before the big day, parents can be found embarking on an arts and craft project, only to rival Blue Peter, to make a home made birthday card, because buying a card means you don’t actually love your child. Buying the cake is tantamount to child cruelty, and don’t get me started on generic invitations!
It also appears that saying “thank you” in person will no longer suffice. You now have to sell a kidney to raise enough funds to buy lavish, professionally printed thank you cards, with a picture on that captures that perfect moment of happiness from the birthday party. The recipient then has to send an equally nauseating card to thank the host for having them, and suddenly everyone is caught in a never ending thanking vortex, where you keep thanking each other for the previous card! “Thank you for having us”
“Thank you for your card, thanking us for having you..”
“Thank you for your card, thanking us, for thanking you for having us….” etc. Argggh!
I have to admit there is one distinct advantage to this one-upmanship and that is the provisions put on for the grown ups. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s the poor suffering parents who have to endure weekend after weekend sat in the hell holes that are soft play centres, or listening to the back catalogue of One Direction whilst listening to the screams and cries of overexcited kids. We need some hardcore sustenance if we are to survive these gigs, not the slim pickings of the leftover wotsits, or a warm egg sandwich that 3 kids have already picked up and sampled. You can see the faces of ravenous parents hovering over their child’s plate, like vultures sizing up their prey, or you will hear the overused phrase “I’ll just check this for poison”, as another parents hand swoops in to gather up a fist full of cadburys chocolate fingers. The problem is that kids party food is just so damn good, or maybe it’s just because you’re so hungry by this point, you’d happily eat anything. But the new party etiquette is to put on a spread for the parents that is so good, you feel like you have to leave a tip on the table! Fresh coffee, home made cakes, the sky’s the limit! It won’t be long before even the parents will be leaving with party bags. Where does it end? Well, from this day forth, I’m starting a birthday party revolution, and challenge parents to put down the humus, and pick up the cheese and pineapple on sticks! Because before we know it, we’ll have limousines chaperoning 6 year olds to Freddy’s Fun Hut and Cartier party bags with diamond encrusted party hats….now there’s an idea!