We’ve an important matter to discuss today. I’m having trouble with a genuine pondering. Perhaps you can help me out?
Yesterday we went to a birthday party that had party games. Proper pass the parcel and general craziness. I loved it. It led me to wonder whatever happened to old-school birthday parties, and why am I arranging extravagant birthfest fiestas year in year out? Why are children receiving favours of organic, freshly-spun unicorn sourced candy floss? Whatever happened to plastic party bags filled with penny sweets, a trashy yellow yo-yo, and a birthday blower?
Birthday parties of times gone by
Cast your mind back. Not that far. Just, say, 15 to 20 years. When birthday parties came around, the venue was almost always the birthday girl or boy’s home, save a soft play or two. The living room would be adorned with foil bunting, homemade banners, and corner-shop latex balloons.
Entertainment took the form of pass the parcel (wrapped nothing but the very best weekend supplement), musical chairs, musical statues, and Bongo the clown – if you were mega lucky. And I mean mega lucky. Your party would be the talk of the class for years to come.
Party food? Well, it was carbelicious. This was pre-noughties. No one cared about good carbs and bad carbs. Starch? Pah! We partied in the face of starch. Our buffet tables were a glorious shade of beige. We ate every form of corn crisps on the market. Jam sarnies. Cocktail sausage and cheese cocktail sticks. Yes, cocktail sticks; if a child choked, they’d learn and sit down the next time they picked a prick out of the hedgehog.
Those were the days. But where did they go?
Parties of the contemporary era
Fast forward to the 2000’s and birthday celebrations became a different beast altogether.
Today, the game is on to throw the most creative, extraordinary parties. While soft play is always a favourite for young ones, farms, kiddy museums, and pottery painting have also entered the ranks. Parents with older offspring are shelling out exorbitant amounts for quad biking, trampolining, 4DX cinema experiences, and more.
And that’s not all! Colin the Caterpillar will no longer suffice. Personalised cakes are in vogue, and this doesn’t equate to a printed icing sheet. The bigger, the more original, the better. It is the centrepiece of the party, and woe betides those who don’t know. Cake is everything. Cake is life.
Final ponderings of a perplexed mother
Are our children missing out on good old fashioned British party traditions? Are we absolutely going overboard? Or are there other underlying parental wins here?
After all, these places take your child and his or her friends, keep them entertained, and feed them, while you sit back with a brew.
Forget tradition… shut up and take my money. Every time.