Sunday, May 16, 2010

Birthday balance

A friend e-mailed the other day, inviting our family to a birthday celebration. In it she wrote:

It will be very low-key. No goodie bags or bounce castles. And no gifts,
please. ### won't be opening gifts at the party, and we are trying to teach her
that having a party with her friends is a gift, too.

It's heartening to read messages like these, though it's sad we have to apologize for not having the event of the season, complete with souveneirs. When we teach our kids at 4, 5, or 6 that they can have exquisite events, tons of things and activities galore, maybe they miss out of the thrill of getting something they've actually waited to receive.

And yes, I realize I write this while I'm planning a Fancy Nancy party for the Big Five -- our first major themed birthday extraordinaire. But there's a difference in creating a fun celebration and an ordeal. It's one thing to play tea party and let the girls dress up, it's another to give my child's friends makeovers and send them home with "swag bags" complete with accessories and kiddie makeup galore, as one party site suggested. In all honesty, I'll likely let them get all sugared up and then run around and burn off the energy. Not exactly high class, but they'll have fun...and maybe sleep well for their parents that night!

How do you find the balance between celebrating a major life event and not going overboard?

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