“5 years ago, the angel of love came down to me and blessed me with the world’s most precious diamond. This little diamond brought so much sparkle and glow to my life that made everything magical and made me the person I am today. I couldn’t take my eyes off you and I still cannot. Mommy loves you beyond words. Happy 5th birthday my Rockstar.”
It’s a typical morning for everyone but the mom who updated her status with the touching words above. She is the happiest today and wants the whole world to know everything about it.
Happiness is a state of mind and sometimes under the that state of mind, you act your heart out. However, the brain feels completely left out and gloomy.
Kids birthday parties have become a big deal over the last 2 decades. It is no longer limited to balloons and cake. It has superhero capes and tiaras too. And under these are the kids who are made to feel like superheroes and princesses on their big fat birthday parties.
“A birthday party is not a birthday party anymore. It’s a statement-about your kid, sure, but also about you and what league you want to play in.” as written by Elaine Rose Glickman in her fascinating book “Your kid’s a brat and it’s all your fault”. She further writes “Oh, and the moms who will judge you for any of these things-or who will enter your home and not so sweetly ask if that living room set is from your grad school days and when do you plan to replace it-are not the moms you want to be hanging out with, anyway”.
1. WHO IS THE PARTY PLANNER AGAIN?
In the olden days, when Peppa and Suzie were babies, event management was for corporates, weddings and funerals. Now, if you google kids' birthday, a long list of professional party planners is displayed. They have packages including but not limited to balloon twisting, magic show, face painting, jumping castle, live farm animals, live reptiles, Disco party, Spiderman, Barbie, kids fashion show, Oscars, Michael Jackson, even Donald Trump. For heaven’s sake!!
Not to sound like a hypocrite, but in my opinion, the concept of a kids’ entertainer is excellent when it comes to maintaining the sanity of parents at a kid's birthday party. However, excess of everything is bad, so underplay is the way to go.
2. SWEET TOOTH SWEETHEARTS
Cookies, jell’o, lollipops, truffles, gummy bears, gummy worms, m & m’s, skittles, jolly ranchers, cupcakes, marshmallows and the likes of these. Chips, nuggets and smileys. Soda and juices. Need I say more?
Its almost like a birthday party rule to have sugar and grease on the table. It is so much that if looks could kill, these treats staring at the guests with pride would do it. Yet again, I`m no exception, I`m the rule.
Let`s make today as the first day of the rest of our lives and take a pledge to cut down on unhealthy parties. Let`s start balancing it out.
3. FOOD FOR A CONNOISSEUR
Ratatouille, ravioli, paella, biryani, enchiladas, tiramisu, souffle, macaroons, Gulab jamun, crème` caramel and my mouth is watering more than Pavlov`s experiment dog.
“Food must be the star of the show. Everyone remembers what they ate at a party.” Do we really have to make a big deal out of this?
From my experience, food is the last thing on any kid’s mind at a birthday party. I literally have to chase my kids around at a party if I want them to eat. But I am with you on the fact “but what about the parents”. So, we could limit the number of stars in the food universe at a party. Would it be so bad if you asked for a pot luck? Simplify your party food. Make your life easier.
3. DRESS CODE – HAUTE COUTURE
I’m not sure who is to blame here. There was a time when celebrity photos were limited to their professional settings or celebrity events to the max. Of late, paparazzi has been intruded the celebrity lives with airport looks and gym looks.
The repercussions are beyond imagination. This mixed with the social media selfie pressure makes it a killer combination. Everyone is dressier and prettier and everything is better than before.
4. INVITES ARE THE FACE OF THE PARTY
E-vites are the way to go for someone like me or even word of mouth is absolutely fine for invitation to my kid’s birthday party. Apparently, unless you mail a real custom invite, you are not taken seriously by some people. These paper invites are according to me, not just a waste of money, paper and effort, but also absolutely deserve to be extinct.
In a world where the golden era of books has been taken over by kindle, doesn’t paper invites sounds like something that is old school too?
5. NO RETURNING WITHOUT RETURN GIFTS
There are 2 categories of awful return gifts a) costing surreal amounts because they are nothing but thematic and b) the cliché sugar high. The issue here is that in chronology of efforts to make and keep friends, gifts stand quite high in hierarchy. Only, it’s a lie and we all know that.
Moreover it has been coaxed over the past years by the other kid’s parties that return gifts mean a lot, even to the limit that it is an embarrassment to skip. It’s a shame. I am desperately asking everyone, do the right thing already.
Return gifts could be a anything from a paper printout saying “Thank you for coming” and a picture underneath it to color or a flower or a small box of old fashioned crayons, or little notebooks, or sticky notes, or hair clips or a playdoh jar or anything that the kids will really use. Further, they don’t put a hole in your wallet.
I feel that if kids have kids, irrespective of what age-group they belong to, they don’t need anything else. They could have the times of their lives at a beach or a park.
We all need to stick our necks out for each other. In times of need, like hosting a birthday party, my favorite word is casual. And if one of the parents said pot luck, that’s music to my ears.
I will absolutely listen to myself now. This, really is going to be the first day of the rest of my life. After all it’s a party and all that matters is “Party rock is in the house tonight, Everybody just have a good time.”