I have a very good friend (whom I love dearly and is probably going to read this), who for her baby’s first birthday threw the most epic kids birthday party. It was on par with an MTV ‘My Sweet Sixteen’ millionaire teenager’s bash.
It had a bouncy castle, homemade cakes and party food, personalised homemade party bags, ball pools, bubble machines and a guest list as long as your arm.
It was amazing!
And so she set the bar… very high… like somewhere in fucking space.
In the years that followed I attended many other legendary parties including – ones with Queen Elsa impersonators, expensive entertainers, discos which put Ibiza super-clubs to shame, and one where the party bags were actual backpacks filled with stationary – including washy tape, felt tips and an actual stapler… I shit you not.
Whilst I admire all these efforts and am very grateful to these parents for their kind generosity, isn’t it time we rained it in a little?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of throwing over-the-top parties myself, but when my four-year-old’s last – twenty plus kids party, came in at about £400, I decided enough was enough.
So, last birthday we had a small party at our house. My little girl was allowed four guests. Including herself and her sister, that was six kids. Six party bags. A very small cake. It was at 4pm on a Saturday so I cracked open the prosecco for the adults.
So here are my – Top ten reasons why you should never have a 20+ kids party…
- The cost – On average us Brits spend approximately £320 on our kids birthday parties. Including the presents you are spending over £400… That’s ridiculous.
- The stress – From the catering, to the – trying to mingle, to the – feeling like an army chef when trying to cut up the mega cake. No! NO MORE.
- Party bag tat – All the plastic duckbills and whirly, whooping lip shaped thingies… ugh… Bad for your sanity, bad for the planet, bad for the overflowing toy box situation. Bad, bad, bad.
- Your kid gets overwhelmed – Tears, tantrums and total spoilt prick behaviour. ‘Mum you said it was a Paw Patrol party so why aren’t we in Adventure Bay??!!!’ (Actual words of my kid one year. Wanted to punch her in the face.)
- Cake the size of a Hawaiian island – This usually means a bake on par with a ‘Great British Bake Off, Showstopper Challenge’, and yeah slicing it up is painful as it usually takes a good twenty minutes.
- Sibling gate – You have exactly twenty party bags and exactly twenty individual party food boxes but there is always one mum who turns up with a sibling without letting you know. Annoying. (Hypocrite alert I did this the other day. LOL)
- Tea and coffee making for the adults – This is always a pain in the tit. Even when you’ve given your husband this job you can be guaranteed he’s outside showing the other dads the new wheels on his car or summink.
- You hardly spend any time with you kid – You just get pulled this way and that trying to sort out problems (like trying to make more party boxes magically appear so that you can feed all the uninvited siblings), make coffee and chat to the other mums. At the end of it you feel like you only really saw your kid during the singing of ‘happy birthday’, which is sad.
- Games are painful – Pass the parcel, musical chairs, musical statues. It’s like herding cats. Sugar crazed, over excited, hyperactive, crying cats.
- The gifts – A present table is VILE when you invite twenty kids. There, I said it. When did this even become a thing? A gift table at a wedding – yes, but at a kids party? Don’t know about you but I don’t want my kid receiving twenty presents on their birthday. I just think it is too much, which is why we always ask for a quid or two in a card and then they call pool it all together and go to the toy shop and buy one nice big thing, which is from everyone. Twenty presents? GET. A. GRIP.
So… was our ‘only four guests party’ a success? Yes. Did some friends miss out? Yes. But tough shit. Also, I’m not going to lie, it was still hard work. A smaller group did still need a lot of entertaining.
For both our recent small parties we started off with a colouring competition, followed by some arts and crafts (Pintrest be my bible… praise the piñata!), then we played some games, then party food. Then, just as the sugar was kicking in and they were starting to go crazy, I made some popcorn and stuck a movie on.
And do you know what? The kids did not notice the difference between a massive party and a small one. They were happy. They had a great time. And the party came in at about a fourth of the cost. And the adults were a bit pissed.
So come on, lets set a new trend. Lets go back to the old days of small tea parties at the house with only a few friends. Lets lower that bar! No! Let’s fucking bury it!!!