DIY Birthday Party Stress!

Avatar for cmkristy
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
DIY Birthday Party Stress!
Thu, 08-01-2013 - 12:44pm

Many of us have heard about those parents who rent a bouncy castle and pony rides for a baby’s first birthday or treat their tween’s friends to a stretch limo ride and an afternoon at a nail salon. Such over-the-top affairs may worry some that “extravagant” children’s parties are on the rise.  

But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Culture suggests that there’s been a shift in the parenting world from “outsourcing” birthday parties to making everything from scratch— with surprising, and not always positive, results.

According to researchers at Monash University in Australia, the latest source of parenting competition and anxiety has nothing to do with the financial cost of the party. It’s about who is the craftiest and can produce the most intricate home-made touches, like customized cake pops and personalized center pieces— all in accordance with the party’s theme of course.

I've seen this, and I've felt it a bit myself.  Anyone else?  Do you feel pressure and stress when planning birthday parties for your children?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Mon, 08-12-2013 - 4:18pm

The only "stress" I ever felt with kids' birthday parties was people who never RSVP'd so you had no idea if they were coming or not, or people who showed up the day of the party with extra kids (siblings) and just expected that they'd be able to stay, too.  Of course I always made room for the extra kids, but it's kind of a pain to have the table set for twelve (because ten have actually RSVP'd, and you always set an extra plate or two for the kids whose parents didn't) and then to realize you actually have fourteen kids you need to feed.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 08-04-2013 - 8:03am

When my girls were younger I hired a guy to come out to the house with a pony and the kids had pony rides, They still remember that.  I combined it b/c my girls both have Summer birthdays but that was the only year I did that.  I stop birthday parties around the age of 10, I have hosted them at the house and at Y community rooms.  I don't do that to keep up or b/c I have to do it, Kids grow up too fast as it is.  My DD turns sweet sixteen today and I did surprise her with cake and balloons at the camp she was at last week with her friends.  I'll probably continue with special things on big milestone years like this one. 



Avatar for demecafe
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Fri, 08-02-2013 - 11:27am
Im big on DIY parties! More now with my 2yo than when my 12yo was young. But I like doing it. It's not stressful for me.


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Thu, 08-01-2013 - 1:53pm

I guess that's one blessing of being a little bit socially awkward--I didn't ever feel like I had to keep up with trends when my kids were younger. I just went with whatever theme they liked and it was usually pretty easy to put together, if not always cheap. My son had a few parties at fire stations, which the kids really loved. My daughter had a "Greek symposium" party for her 13th birthday that ended up being a toga party with me serving grilled chicken and Greek salad. All I had to do was buy the food and cook it, and I love to cook, even if I suck at making the food look pretty.

One year, she had her birthday party at Old Sturbridge Village, an 1830s village in Sturbridge, MA. We drove two vanloads of girls out there and then turned them over to the guides. They got to wear costumes, bake DD's birthday cake in a hearth, wash the dishes and sweep the floor, as well as get a lesson in 1830s tea party etiquette. It was expensive, but worth it. All I had to do was pay and drive an hour each way.

I don't remember my kids going to too many over-the-top parties, either. Occasionally, someone would have their party in a restaurant, which can be costly, but then it's over and done. Most of the parties were things like sledding or swimming, normal kid activities.