Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Yet another "news " headline?

Well, I heard this one on the radio yesterday, and today it has made Yahoo' home page.
What this time?  The cost of children's parties.
Over the last 50 years the children's party industry, I suppose that is the correct name for it, has grown beyond all recognition.
My best childhood friend's birthday was the day before mine, and I always got an invite to her birthday party.  She was an only child and her Dad was a builder and property repairer.  So...the well off end of the the working class, or normal middle class.
Her parties consisted of a "finger" buffet, jelly, ice cream and a birthday, and children's games.  such as pass the parcel, musical chairs, etc, and we would have some playtime in her garden, which boasted a proper swing. To me, and most of the kids invited, they were posh parties.  But if you read the article, and have heard about this story elsewhere you will know that practically all children these days expect a party, and expect to invite the whole class.
I suspect this practice came about by parents aping the parties of the better off in their children's circles.  After all if you read a novel about "Yummy Mummies" in Chelsea, or anywhere else, they always mention how competitive the parties get.
Why can't people live within their means?
We found one year that a "venue" party was the cheapest option, I'm only talking about around 15 years back.  I priced up several options that fitted the budget for Edwin's party, and found out that a football party for ten children at the local football club was the best deal. 
What did they get?
I think it was an hour and half football training before a lunch of chips and either sausage, fish fingers or pizza, then a sweet. I provided the cake, homemade, of course, and then the birthday boy was kitted out as the club's mascot for the day's match and all the children then watched the match.  It was around 5-6 hours long, the birthday boy also got a programme with his name in it as mascot for the day.  How much did this all cost?  Back then it was £50 for 10 children....Oh and I got to watch the match for free as well, (as did my daughter.)
It is more expensive these days as you can find out here.  But I would hazard a guess that it is still excellent value for money.
But all in all, why bankrupt yourself to give your child a party, that is just basically parental one-upmanship?  Sell the idea of an exclusive party for just a few friends as the more tasteful way to go, also, you will probably not have to sit down with a stiff drink afterwards, as less children means less chance of unpleasant bickering breaking out.

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