Sunday, February 21, 2010

Birthday Party Invite Overload!

Please tell me I'm not the only one with this gripe:

I have 3 school-aged children.  All of whom get invited to a plethora of birthday parties.  It seems like we have at least two EVERY WEEKEND.

It's getting ridiculous.  And I'm getting annoyed.

I guess I'm just not a fan of the "invite the entire class" birthday parties that are happening more and more nowadays.  Trust me parents, my feelings won't be hurt in the least if you decide not to invite my child to your child's birthday party.  Especially if you know and I know that they're not really playmates.  And I'm pretty sure my child won't even know the difference.  No offense.

And I know this might seem harsh, but these "whole class" parties just leave a bad taste in my mouth.  It seems almost....greedy.  Because, of course, each attendee comes with a present in tow.  (The last party Middle attended?  Had 28 children in attendance!)

The latest party invite we received just left me shaking my head and thinking WTF?

It was to my 4 year old son- for a female classmate's 5th birthday party.  It was a High School Musical invite.  (Again, for an about-to-be 5 year old.  Um, whatever happened to age-appropriate?)  At a gymnastics center.  (Which, fine. Tumbling and running around.  Whatever.)  In another town.

Just no.

So am I bitchy for being bothered by this?  Do you allow your child(ren) to attend every birthday party they are invited to?  What do you do for your child(ren)'s birthdays?

I don't know...I guess I just don't feel obligated in any fashion to throw my boyz huDge birthday bashes.  Never have, never will.  We keep them family (and close friends) oriented.  At home in our Trenches.  And that is that.

Please share your thoughts in the comments!


chrissyrudd said...

After we had lived in our new town for 9 months, our daughter was turning three and we wanted to use it as a get to know you sort of deal, so we invited a bunch of kids her age from town to the party. We didn't do a theme, stuck to cold meat sandwiches, finger food snacks and soda, booze for adults, didn't decorate, and wrote on the computer made invites, "The gift of your presence is the only present we need!" We also emphasised this verbally when we handed out the invite, "It's not a big deal, we just want to hang out, she doesn't need anything!" We meant it! EVERYONE brought a gift!!! I was kind of annoyed. We'd like to do it again, but I don't want people thinking we just want the gifts. Would it be inappropriate to advertise a bar-b-que, and then spring the cake and song on them?
I say decline the ones that aren't close friends, just say sorry you can't make it.

justme said...

my one daughter has a summer bday so i have yet to invite kids from her class (she is still in preschool) but this year the kids have started having ONLY boys or oNLY girls which i thought was strange, maybe b/c my girl hangs with boys a bunch.

i think there is nothing wrong with just decling whoever he is not that close with.

Sarah said...

I totally feel ya!

All 3 are in daycare for us, and we get birthday party invites ALL THE TIME.

I feel somewhat antisocial, but I only let us do one party a weekend. Both girls have dance, so if we do more than 1, we end up sitting at kids events all weekend.

When we did E's party, we asked her who she wanted to invite, we did, and that was it. We didn't do the whole class, and I am sure we offended a few, but really, I don't care (plus it was $18 a head if we went over the count!) We did do it at a gym place. Mostly because I am just too lazy to have a party at my house. :) We also don't start parties until 4 (so only E is having them now). Even Jake gets invites to 2nd birthday parties (ridiculous).

Greens and Pinks said...

Charlotte's preschool class only has 14 kids, and it's a really tight-knit group - we all do playdates, everyone chats at drop off and pick up, so thus far just about all of her classmates have done parties where the whole class is invited - or she's been to a few parties where it's just the girls. She's turning 4 in about a month and think I'll probably invite the whole class, mostly because she's been to everyone else's. We've had a bit of a lull, but we have a party the next 4 weekends.

I think for preK it's fine, but I can't imagine inviting upwards of 25 kids once she hits K!

Shelle said...

My son just started preschool this year so we're not quite at the party age yet, I don't think, I mean we have not been invited to any parties yet!
So far we've only had family and close friend parties for him, and his Birthday is in August, so I don't know what we would do as far as inviting friends to his parties in the future.. invite kids from the previous grade? I dont wanna even think about it yet!!

Grace {Formerly Gracie} said...

Well, now I feel like an outcast!

My son's been in preschool this whole year and we haven't been invited to a single party from his class. I thought it was just because we're new in town, but now I'm beginning to wonder, "Is it me?" HA!

I'm just kidding, of course. I could care less too :-)

If I don't know the kid (or at least one of the parents), my son isn't going. On the flip side, I LOVE throwing parties, but am careful to only invite people who we interact with (and enjoy) on a regular basis.

Since my son is in school this year, I asked him who he wanted to invite to his upcoming birthday. He named Zachary, Sydney, Olivia, and the boy with the brown hair...

Annie said...

My kids birthdays are two weeks apart in October. They get a JOINT party, at home, and we invite close friends (our family is in Ireland).

My oldest is still in PreK though - I sent cupcakes in with her to her class on her actual birthday and called it good as far as the classmates go!

You're not being bitchy in being bothered about it - I think I would be too but for the reason that my kids will then want what they see at all the 'party places' - and I don't intend to go there for either of them (mean mommy!)

I would say that you shouldn't feel obliged at all to go to all of them - for playmates/close pals yes - but for the others? I'd be finding some very important calendar clash lol!

Whirlwind said...

I have three school age kids and yeah - it sucks. We decline a bunch (and mostly because sports and other obligations take presidence - and we cannot be in two places at once).

It's short lived though - my oldest is 8 and already I am seeing teh tend to segregate - boy/girl or just close friends. For her birthday in December, she invited 5 close friends over for a sleep over - this was HER choice. We've been to a few parties lately where it's jus tbeen a couple of kids.

But yeah, learn how to say no - maybe have each child choose 1 a month (I know, still alot, but beats one every weekend!) or just a few friends you know they are close with.

Our invites have us traveling 30-45 minutes away lately - those are crazy, especially if siblings are not allowed!

Shell said...

Last year, for my son's 4th birthday party, we only invited a 4 of the 18 kids in his preschool class. Those were the kids whom he talked about all the time. And, he had other friends from playgroup that he wanted to invite.

I sent the invites in the mail, along with a note explaining who was invited and that we weren't doing a big party, just wanted to invite a few who were really his friends.

It got out and some of the preschool moms were PISSED at me. But, I think a party with that many kids is just crazy.

Jenni said...

I say one child per age of the birthday child plus for the no gifts thing, it works better if you ask for items to be donated to a specific charity if they so choose, then people who want to give something have a focus...last, I would ask your children who are invited to every single party, which ones they REALLY want to attend. Maybe even limit to a certain number a year so they really have to think about which one to attend. You can always bend that rule if you know that a particular person is their best friend and they've reached their number.

Inviting EVERY child? Ridiculus! And I know schools that actually mandate it (If you invite one you have to invite the whole class). Insane!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

You already know we homeschool, so I get a "pass" on the "invite the whole classroom" nightmare. But, I have one pet peeve: PLEASE, feed the poor parents who are there watching 28 kids scream through a gymnastics play area for 2 hours. If I don't know the family well, or if I have just driven a 1/2 hour to get there, I will not be likely to drop off my kid and run, and it drives me crazy when there are no munchies or waters or anything for the parents. Or when pizza or cake is served but there isn't any for the parents, so I just get to stand there and hope I don't visibly drool. If it is going to cost too much to throw a bone to the 5-10 adults milling around, you've got too many kids at that party. I also make sure I have wine/beer for the grown ups, but that's b/c I have only had home parties and I think it makes the adults feel a little better about watching a Fairy Treasure Hunt on a Saturday afternoon.

B's Mom said...

I do family only, close friend birthday parties for my son. But, that said, where we live, many schools and child care centers have policies that if you invite one child, you must invite the whole class (if you bring invitations to be handed out in school). My son only goes to the ones that he wants, usually his closest friends. These big parties are expensive, and not really necessary, in my opinion.

B's Mom said...

I do family only, close friend birthday parties for my son. But, that said, where we live, many schools and child care centers have policies that if you invite one child, you must invite the whole class (if you bring invitations to be handed out in school). My son only goes to the ones that he wants, usually his closest friends. These big parties are expensive, and not really necessary, in my opinion.

Masala Chica said...

I don't think it's meant to be a greedfest - I think some people want to include, and in an effort to not exclude, end up feeling it's more appropriate to invite EVERYONE, which just ends up being a real cluster.

As a child, I do remember what it felt like to not receive an invitation when other kids received one, and that is no fun. So maybe it is an effort to avoid that?

It's hard to do in between. You either have to do really small, or go all out. That way, nobody ends up hurt in my experience.

Petunia Face said...


Deb said...

Ok, I completely disagree with your attitude. Just yesterday, we had a party at a gym for my 5 year old. Every few years we have a party out for him because we don't have space in our house. We invited his whole class because that is where he goes to daycare, has been going since he was 6 months old and he has grown up with these kids, plays with all of them, and we didn't want to leave anyone out. We even invited kids who went have left the school.

I personally don't think it is greedy at all - I think it is quite generous for me to invite 20 kids to a gymnastics party for $15/kid + pizza & cake!

If you don't want to attend, just decline! It is not a big deal at all - I won't be offended and neither will my son (and I think that you are wrong if you think that your kids don't care/won't notice if they are not invited to someone's party).

Also, we are not grubbing for gifts and my son is appropriately grateful for all that he received. Believe me, I spent way more on the party than what was spent on his gifts and that is FINE!

No one is forcing you to attend these parties. I don't feel "obligated" to through my son a huge bash, but I think it is fun to have a party and include all of our friends and family. I love the opportunity to get to know the kids in his class and their parents and I think that everyone generally had a fun time (we ran into 2 dads today and they said their kids had a great time and couldn't stop talking about the party).

Sorry, I really love your writing and generally agree with much of what you write, but on this, I emphatically disagree!

Anonymous said...

So...*embarrassed* I just had my daughters 7 birthday at a party place and we invited the whole class. The only reason - I didn;t want to be bitchy and leave anyone out. Srsly. My kid is in class with a kid whose parents have been complaining about her (school/us) limiting snacks b.c she has a nut allergy. so, I tried to be extra nice and invite everyone. I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN. Trust me. But, that was my excuse. The amt of gifts she got was way tooo much.

Michelle said...

It's something I enjoy doing {party planning}, so we do them. Both Dave and I are really social and we enjoy having friends over to the house often. Usually we say by word of mouth that we prefer no gifts. For Finn, the fun is in playing and running around with his friends, he could care less about gifts. He's just turning 3 and I am home with him, so we don't have the problem of needing to invite an entire class.

We don't have several invitations each weekend for kids parties, right now it's more our friends inviting us to things. But, I just don't have an issue saying 'no' to any kind of invite if it's interfering with my family life. Why don't you have the boys choose the few parties they'd like to go to and decline the rest?

I guess as a mom, I can see that it might be nice to invite everyone in the class, but I guess I wouldn't be offended at all if there were people who declined.

Vodka Logic said...

I stopped giving parties for my two daughters when they were around 9 or 10 dispite their friends still having them. If they want one or two for a sleep over I usually say ok..even though I really dislike sleep overs.. my space invaded.. lol.

I let them go to most as they are fewer now they are older. Although the 16 parties are starting.. whats so cool about 16 anyway.

I am with you though, do what you want for your kids.. no keeping up with the Jones cuz it isn't possible imo.

Jenn@ The Crazies said...

s his heart set on having his birthday in Millbury this year,he wants to take friends and "football buddies" to see "How to train your dragon"????? I am hoping eldest can join us..LOL

Manic Mommy said...

I definitely hit a point when it was ridiculous. In some ways we've dug our own grave. You need to have your neighborhood friends, you need to have your cousins, you need to have (some) classmates. And suddenly, it isn't a party, IT'S. A. PARTY!!

I also think part of it has to do with winter birthdays. It's just easier to have it off-site.

Pollyanna said...

My girls are both social butterflies. Shy is not part of their genetic make-up. We do not invite the entire class, but we still end up with about a dozen kids because they really are friends. In addition, both my girls birthdays are in December - six days apart. I am not throwing two birthday parties; especially when they have some friends in common. The last party had 18 kids in attendance. I am not having that many kids running around my house so we always have it somewhere else. I don't try to out-do anyone, I just try to come up with something different.

Kim - In Search of Me in Mommy said...

Oh, Oh, OH - I am SOOOO with you! The birthday party racket is so annoying! I know as my kids get older (they are in preschool - next year one will be in kindergarten) it is going to get worse. I have already told my boys - we do NOT do kid parties every year. At the age of 5 years old they got/will get a kid party - next time will not be before age 10. We have a great time celebrating with family. I agree with you!!!!!!

Jennifer Juniper said...

We are also invited to several parties per month. My policy for our parties has always been, only invite the kids you play with every day. As far as accepting invitations? I ask if it's someone they play with at recess every day. If they say no, then we decline.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you're off base. My daughter is only three, so we haven't really encountered that problem yet, but for her last party we invited a handful of kids she actually plays with and family. No need to invite kids she doesn't know. My husband's office people always invite our daughter to parties (all those kids are at least three years older and she's never met them) and we don't attend. What's the point?! Strictly from a financial standpoint, buying presents for children none of us has ever met before can get expensive!


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