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Whatever happened to simple birthday parties?

By Viga Boland     Jan 22, 2007 in Lifestyle
A one year old’s party in a Minnesota community has 60 guests. The gift opening takes two hours; the party infant sleeps through most of it.
Okay ... how ridiculous can we get about children's birthday parties? And my next question is who is it all for when moms arrange parties like these:
A six year old girl and her friends in St. Paul get makeovers and dance in public as part of a “starlet” package at a party business.
Seven year olds in rural Minnesota get picked up by stretch limos to transport them to a friend’s party.
Twin Cities parents who dread at-home parties gladly spend $450 for a build-a-bear party at a mall.
A wealthy New York father throws a $10 million party for his 13 year old daughter’s birthday, including the band Aerosmith and $10,000 gift bags..
Don't tell me that these kinds of parties are for the children! There's only one reason "A Minneapolis mother switches away from a “pirate theme” for her nine year old’s party because another parent has recently used the same theme." It's all about one-upmanship, outdoing our friends and neighbours. My party's better than your party etc etc. How damn vacuous have we become!
I came across a small blurb about this in my local paper this morning and decided to hunt it down. You'll find out all about it at the url posted. It's an organization and website for BIRTHDAYS WITHOUT PRESSURE that is obviously trying to bring some sense back into an event getting blown out of proportion. And I say, good for them. Way overdue.
While they're at it, they should look at prom nights, elementary school graduations, weddings and Christmas. All have gone from sublime to ridiculous in efforts to impress or do better than the next guy. So vacuous, not to mention the children emerging from this kind of lavish silliness, like the " six year old guest who is disappointed by a St. Paul party without gift bags" who declares, “This is a rip off!”
Make sure you don't miss this page on the site too:
It sums up what the effect of all this is on children, families and communities.
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