Shelling out two, three hundred dollars or more to celebrate your child's birthday was something I didn't get.
Until I had kids.
Somehow, the existence of the plural - that second child - and the realities of how quickly they could rip up your home made that party place concept all make sense. We don't want people in our homes, because we're terrified for people to see them. And, frankly, parties take work. The planning, the shopping, the cooking...and frankly, as a society, we're a want-it-now people, and we want to skip to the good stuff.
But here's the deal. The process can be just as fun as the main event. Take Christmas. I for one, love the preparations, the waiting, the expectations. And frankly, the unwrapping of gifts is only a few minutes of the entire season. I feel the same this year for my daughter.
For weeks we've talked about the Fancy Nancy tea party extraordinairre. And while page after page of Web sites share over-the-top ways to swag up your daughters, from swag bags overflowing with gifts and makeovers to fanciful, flowing tulle everywhere, we're taking a lower-key tone to the affair. But to her, it doesn't matter. At the end of the day, she's having a tea party with her friends. And the company is what counts.