Are today kids’ parties too extravagant?

by admin on December 24, 2012

Has the average birthday party gone too far? Decades ago children played in backyards, rode bicycles through the neighborhood, or maybe had their party at a local McDonald’s or Chuck E. Cheese, formerly known as Showbiz Pizza.

Those were the simpler days of sheet cakes, party clowns, and planning that took as long as the party itself lasted. Today parents strive for perfection and extravagance. Not only do celebrity parents spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, some even spend millions. This prompts the average parent to struggle with a budget and then they too are caught up in the birthday shuffle.

Average parents are starting to realize the precedent they have set. By following the stars in magazines, or their neighbor with a bit more income, they have begun to overspend on birthday parties. Some don’t even realize they are doing it as it’s so normal now for a child to have almost 100 guests, catered meals, specially ordered cakes, and live entertainment fit for a dinner party.

That is not to say that all parents are this excessive. Many still start a budget and stick to it right to the letter. However, they are being lost in the shuffle of the growing number of parents who truly think bigger is better.

Are today kids’ parties too extravagant? Tori Spelling, Dean McDermott, Stela McDermott, Liam McDermott. Photo credit to

A trend in kids birthday party

One mother was showcased on the TLC reality show “Outrageous Kid Parties,” for spending $32,000 on her daughter’s sixth birthday. A day at the spa, band, catered food, and tailored princesses dresses for the birthday girl and her guests were just some of the higher price tag items.

Most parents don’t want this trend to continue and want to stop it before it grows even more out of hand. Some are already cutting down on the time the child spends celebrating their birthday. Many kids now will have a party in school, a party with their immediate family, then another with their friends. At some point that is too much and the child keeps expecting more and more in the way of gifts and paraphernalia. Taking away one of these parties such as combining friends and family might be a good idea.

The fact that children get numerous gifts isn’t lost on parents either. They want their children to be happy and to have things on their birthdays, but they also don’t want spoiled tots that don’t value anything given to them. This is where the birthday theme of donation birthday parties came into being. Parents were sick of toting home party favors and excessive presents and wanted to teach their children the value of giving instead.

At these parties, children bring a gift that would suit a homeless child or one in the foster care system. Sometimes bringing a canned good or small basket that is not overly expensive and can be taken to a local food pantry is a good idea.

Parents must remember that the day should be special just because the child is surrounded by family and friends, not completely immersed in material items. Making the day special is a must but that doesn’t require a broken budget or stressed out parents. Keeping things more simple and more about family, friends, and the time spent together will bring just as much joy to a birthday boy or girl as a five tiered cake or 30 odd presents.

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