celebrating a birthday

For some people, after the age of 18 celebrating your birthday is just a reminder of what you missed out on and how much closer you are to the grave. For others, myself included, it is a simple day to pause and reflect on that one person just for a day.

I think a birthday is a good time to celebrate a person for being them. Not their achievements, their stuff, their job, their relationships, their position in society or any of those other things that we layer onto ourselves, just us.

SO, it will come as no surprise to you that I do not think highly of the modern north american child’s birthday party. WHY can a child’s birthday party not be about coming together to chant that child’s name, laugh together, play together and be selfless pouring ¬†energy into that person for one day?

I am blessed (in so many ways) that my wife has accepted the challenge this year of operating the birthday party formalities but I have come here to this humble soap box to rant about my favourite thoughts on birthday party shenaginery.

WHY are their gifts?

“Look dude, I am not good with the words of praise or smiling or having fun and stuff so my parents bought this gift for you so that you could have more stuff. Think of this gift as a representation of my good feelings for you. OK. Cool. Now bring on the expensive party and lavish goody bags dude!”

Seriously, why is the whole gift giving thing so important? Particularly when lately I have seen my own kids getting a lot of iTunes and store gift cards or cash. Ewww, that’s just weird that some kid/parent just took money out of their wallet, slapped into a card and passed it along to my kid.

“Hey kid, go buy yourself something nice”

When I was a kid, gifts at your birthday party were a chance to actually get new toys. It was awesome! Now, the toy aisle sucks. Now, the options for cool gifts kind sucks and there is nothing more depressing than getting a piece of plastic that allows you to buy another app that will keep you entertained for a month on your iDevice. Gifts for kids birthday parties sucks.

-sigh-

I am left so empty and exhausted from this rant…. finally its over. OH WAIT! I have my top list of problems I have with kids birthday parties these days!

  1. The Competitive Party Experience!
    Since when did parents decide that kids birthday parties was another thing to add into the competiting with the Jones! Stop the madness.
  2. Gifts that Suck!
    Why bother getting a gift if its just going to suck. An iTunes gift card sucks! A slingshot doesn’t suck. Oh wait, helicopter parents think slingshots are evil!
  3. Loot Bags with value?
    Seriously, when did a loot bag value equal or exceed the value of the gift we gave your kid? I hate loot bags, think they shouldn’t exist and think they are like some kind of propaganda package.
  4. Making an Appearance?
    So, your life is so busy that you can’t get your kid to the birthday party on time so you stop in with the kid and he makes an appearance, presents the gift and takes a loot bag? What, is he a politician?
  5. Making “the list”.
    Oh good legolas, the process of making the correct guest list for a birthday party these days takes longer than writing Lord of the Rings! Pick 3 friends, thats all that fits in our car so we can take them all to McDonalds play land!
  6. The last minute RSVP
    YES, my son will be coming to your party, sorry for the last minute notice. I know its tomorrow and you are having it at a place where the number of attendees matters and you filled that slot. Shame it is.
  7. The Age Cut Off
    It should be 10, no older. It’s crazy, they should be adults by 11 and this horror can end.
  8. Party?
    Party implies fun and celebration, these days its about a performance!