Children’s Birthday Parties – Out of Control

The Typical Mob Scene

The Typical Mob Scene

I should have taken a picture of the stacks of gifts (before the grand opening began) to put this topic in better perspective. We were celebrating the birthdays of two of my granddaughters and each girl received approximately fifteen to twenty gifts. It reminded me of the old Dennis the Menace cartoons that were published on Christmas Day. Dennis would be totally surrounded by unwrapped presents and ask, “Is this all?”

The invitation list included grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, old family friends, and neighborhood kids. Fortunately, the girls received a nice blend of toys and clothing. But I couldn’t help thinking it was all too extravagant.

Perhaps I’m jealous. I never had a birthday party that included my neighborhood or school friends. All of my parties were limited to family – five brothers and sisters, a couple of brothers-in-law, and some nephews and nieces. The number of presents I ever received at one time never went beyond four or five. Then again, Christmases were about the same.

While it could be argued that our family didn’t have a lot of money to spend on big parties and lots of gifts, the same could be said about the people who host and attend the parties for my grandchildren.

I never dreamed of getting more than one gift from any one person, but that seems to be the norm nowadays. I must admit that my bride and I bought each child three or four gifts, but we stuffed them all into one shopping bag for each child. And so did other people who attended the party. Come to think of it, my earlier estimate of the number of gifts each child received was probably too low.

I don’t know what other families do to celebrate their children’s birthdays. Maybe our family stumbled into believing that every major holiday should include a cornucopia of gifts; one set of parents did it for their child and made the other sets of parents believe that that was the only correct and proper way to recognize the birth of their children. I really can’t say for sure how it got started. At this point, it seems to me that they’re now trapped into doing whatever it takes to top last year!

All of this reminds me of the inflation that has beset the tooth fairy. Back when I was losing baby teeth, the going rate was a nickel or dime. Now, if it isn’t folding money, the child feels he or she has been ripped off.

So far, the highest price I’ve seen in the Fairy Street Journal is two dollars per tooth.

I used to have a collection of baby teeth. Too bad I distributed them among my grown children. I might have been sitting on a gold mine!

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