Are Kids' parties out of control?
Yep, kids' parties are getting out of control. Every other week you can find a new article on how kids' parties are like weddings (and have the budget to match). My favourite quote of late: 'Kids’ birthdays everywhere are oozing with superficial standards and lessons that happiness comes from external, grandiose things' - pretty strong words, huh? (Here's the article).
I think the ABC's The Checkout also sums it up quite perfectly (in a cheeky way):
As always, I'm going to preface this with the fact that we don't have kids. I may not understand the pressure put on you as a mother or father to produce the BEST-PARTY-EVER, but I can definitely relate when it comes to coordinating major events with a range of family members involved (e.g. weddings).
Common sense tells me that all parties are a bit out of control, though. By bringing design/styling/cake decoration/DIY/artisanal projects, and especially Pinterest, into the mainstream, it's opened up a wealth of options for your next event. Don't get me wrong - diversity is a great thing and many of these businesses involved (including us) have an undying passion for making events more fun, stylish or tasty.
It's that underlying need to be unique, to outdo each other, that's got me feeling a little sad. It seems the whole reason for throwing a party has been lost in a flurry of custom invitations, cake pops and piles of cash.
In essence, a party should be about getting everyone to celebrate a milestone (duh). Sometimes, amongst the retouched, professional photos of the candy bar, you're left wondering - where's the party boy or girl? Did they have fun? Will they remember it for years to come?
Image: A £70,000 (AUD$142,000) party for twins celebrating their first birthday - complete with pelicans and a silk-lined marquee. (Source: Dailymail.co.uk)
I think this will be the challenge (and hopefully the trend) over the next few years - to find that balance of showcasing your personal - or child's - style, all while creating a great, memorable experience for everyone involved. If you're convinced a silk lined tent, pelican statues and crystal chandeliers will make everyone happy, so be it. But remember, don't go over the top - you're probably going over the top for yourself, not for your child. I don't think I've ever met a parent whose child has said "Mum, I think you should try harder next year". If that's happened to you, please let me know, I will be absolutely dumbfounded!