Do I Need a Planner for my Kid’s Birthday Party?

Posted by Susan Brown on August 17, 2016 0 Comments


     I had kids later in life so I essentially grew up in the 80s. My fondest memories of birthday parties were going to someone’s house, hanging out in their basement playing games, eating pizza and snacks and then having cake. And ice cream! Side note, whatever happened to ice cream with birthday cake? I remember the giant tubs of ice cream after that slab of cake was placed on the plate and the parent serving would say, “would you like a scoop of ice cream with that?” Uh, yes please! After that, we would all sit around in a circle and watch the birthday kid open their presents and relish in the joy that we got our friend just what they wanted. My mother was the exception of course. I had clowns and entertainment and there was one birthday where she even got a trainer to bring a baby chimpanzee. But typically, we had house parties or went to Chuck E. Cheese, McDonald's or the ice skating rink, had some fun with our friends, had cake (with ice cream) and opened presents. That was the formula for a party. Then.

     Fast forward about, ahem, 30 years from 1986 and I now have one child turning six and one turning three. We get invited to no less than two birthday parties a month. A month! And during the school year it escalates. My three year old doesn’t even have friends yet so this is basically the birthday party ‘load’ for one child. It starts with the invite. You have to have a good invite because it sets the tone for the birthday party. Paw Patrol? Star Wars? Fairy party? Whatever the theme is you know everything from there on out related to the party will have that theme.

     Now for the location. Although some people do still have parties at home, they are not just parties at home. Got a juggler? What about an acrobat? Or some live animals to pass around. At a minimum you had better have a bounce house or better yet a water slide because these kids can’t just entertain themselves, people! But really, who are we kidding, why have a party at home when you could have one at a zoo, trampoline park, movie theater or even a hotel! Yes, a hotel for a child’s birthday party.


     Luckily, the birthday food of choice hasn’t changed much since pizza. Everyone loves pizza and all great birthday parties serve it followed by…a very expensive cake? Some people probably spent less on their own wedding cake than some of the cakes I’ve seen at birthday parties. Is that five tiers?! Is that the kid’s name written in gold dust on the side?!!? After the cake (no ice cream, thank you) there are no presents. I mean, everyone brings presents but the gifts are never opened at the party. I’m not sure when this ‘switch’ happened and I’m not sure how the kids feel but I kind of miss that part of the party. Plus, I just like to know if they like my gift.


     Oh, that reminds me, it’s time to get MY child’s gift…the gift bag. This is another phenomenon of the 2010s, the kid’s birthday party thank you gift bag (personalized and themed, of course). Moms, or maybe their birthday party planners, work tirelessly to create a fabulous gift bag for the attendees of their child’s birthday party. I think it’s superfluous and to all the Moms out there…YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE OUT GIFT BAGS!. There, I said it (gasp!) gift bags are unnecessary. That being said, I would like a thank you note. So, now the formula for a kid’s birthday party is… fancy invite, great locale and entertainment, pizza, over the top bakery cake, no gift opening and fabulous goody bags. I think I need a planner.


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