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The politics of a birthday party: it's not child's play
Here’s this week’s moral dilemma. The boy is 11 next month. Last year he didn’t have a party. This year he wants one. I am in denial about this as although obviously I know when his birthday is (I was there, after all) it has kind of crept up on me this year. Also, I had hoped he had grown out of this party kind of thing. But apparently he and a friend – whose birthday is next week – have been plotted their amazing joint party which involves a lot of effort in the entertainment/catering front – more than I or the other boy’s mother want to do. And there were also murmurings of a sleepover for six of his closest friends at our house. That’s not going to happen. I’m still finding Nerf gun bullets around the house from when I had more than one of his friends to play at one time - and the wimpiest of the cats is now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
So instead I’ve suggested a party elsewhere. Not the local laser gun place – another kid has nabbed that idea for March. I’m steeling myself for a quote from the people who arrange Nerf gun battles (they’ve still not phoned back – so I guess they don’t want the business) and have the dry ski slope party (cost: £18.50 per child for a party lasting less than two hours) in reserve. If we just invite all the boys in the class that’s close to £200. Then there are the presents, cake etc. It might be cheaper just to buy amazingly expensive hospitality tickets to a Chelsea match. I know I am that unfortunate combination of lazy and tight, but honestly, why do kids need their birthdays marked so expensively every year? What’s wrong with a cake and a present and a trip to the cinema with one or two friends? When did it become compulsory to mark our children’s births with such extravagant? Or am I just being mean?
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