Monday, April 15, 2013

Kids Birthday Parties: Just right or too much?

Over the last several months our family, mainly our children, have been invited to several birthday parties. In fact one of our own children has celebrated a birthday within that time.  Over the weekend we attended our grandson's birthday party, there were so many kids and I have to say everyone got along fantastically, even the adults. While I was sitting there watching everyone talking and the kids playing I got to thinking about birthdays, parties, and all the things that happen on this special day.  As I began writing this before bed that same night, I had a stunning thought, "When did the concept of birthday parties start?".  I mean at what point in our earthly culture did people really start celebrating their birthdays?  

So I grabbed my laptop and begin my research at my favorite search engine, Google. After reading several articles, it became clear to me that people just weren't sure about it.  They had all kinds of theories on the subject, but nothing definite on when people began celebrating the "anniversary of their births".  

I mentioned this to my husband and his take on the subject was that years ago poor people did not celebrate birthdays, it was something that only the rich were able to do.   At this point I was reminded of my grandfather who passed away in 2011 at the age of 91.  I remembered that he never even knew when his birthday was, all his mother could remember was that it was in the month of January and it was very cold.  I personally can't imagine growing up without knowing or celebrating my birthday, but I guess if I had been in a family of twenty-four children like him it wouldn't have mattered to me either.  

After all that thinking on birthday parties I have come to three main conclusions: 

1.  They are way to much work and effort!!  It's almost like planning a wedding or some other major event.  You put all that time, effort and energy into giving your kids this over the top, fantastic birthday party and before you know its all over and your completely exhausted.  I always try to get my children involved in the planning of the party,  in helping with the decorations, and getting everything set up. I think this makes them more appreciative of all the work I do. 

2.  Kids get way to much these days!! In fact they get way to much everyday of the year, not just on birthdays.  I'm just as guilty as the next parent, but we do try to limit the amount of new stuff that comes into our house.  For instance, the children get nothing new from October to Christmas, it helps to cut down on the clutter and teaches them to be grateful for what they have. 

3.  This point is for you grandparents.  Why do you buy for the child not celebrating the birthday?  I mean what happened to the concept of birthdays being special?  My grandparents never did this for us and we never felt left out when I siblings got gifts. I for one am glad that I have not falling into that trap (yet). 

Please don't take all this the wrong way, I mean we love celebrating our kids birthdays. Yet, when I am in the mist of planning a big party there are times when I long for the simple.  Perhaps just inviting a bunch of kids to the park for cake and ice cream. We could just let them run and play without having to constantly entertain them. Then I realize that would never happen, we as parents just have to keep out doing ourselves to make each party bigger and better. 

        That's my "two cents worth", what's yours?

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