Birthday parties for kids are a great idea – until they become all about the gifts. It’s one thing when a child is disappointed by his birthday haul, but when a parent is? If you’re a parent finding yourself keeping score of the gifts you get other families and the ones they get your child — you either need to a) get a grip, or b) stop attending kids’ parties.
A woman wrote in to Ask Amy yesterday to complain about the inequity of having one child to receive gifts on occasions, when other families have more than one. See if you can follow this reasoning: more kids equals more birthdays equals more presents — and this mom just doesn’t think that’s fair. She explains in her letter in the Detroit Free Press:
For example, I typically spend around $30 per gift for a child, and $30 more for the sibling’s birthday when that rolls around, but the gift their family provides to our one child is a $30 value and comes addressed from both kids.
We normally have our daughter’s party at an external place such as the zoo and have to pay per party guest, so we are also paying admission for each of the family’s two children. Is it unreasonable to expect a gift from each attendee — or a gift with a higher value if they combine?
What is this woman even proposing — that there should be one master birthday gift you give a family to cover all of their kids’ birthdays for the year? Because it’s not fair that some people have more than one child, and therefore have extra kids to get presents? Also, if she is throwing expensive birthday parties at destination spots — that’s her problem. Maybe she should stop if she feels she hasn’t been adequately compensated for her efforts.
Here’s the thing: a child’s birthday party is about celebrating the child – not keeping track of the money you spend and the gifts your child receives. Keeping score sucks all the fun out of the celebration. There’s no master guide indicating how much money you need to spend on a child’s gift. If you put monetary expectations on yourself, you can’t expect everyone else to follow suit.
As for this mom, clearly she needs to hurry up and have more kids or stop allowing her child to have friends with siblings. Because families with more kids spend so much less money. HA.