Monday, September 7, 2009


We've noticed a "thing" happening in the world nowadays.

Children's birthdays are getting ... well ... extravagant.

When our littlest guy turned one we joked about what sort of party we would have for him. A bouncy castle, mini-jeeps, little quad-bikes, a clown, pony rides, a marquee and catering for 50.

Instead we sang "Happy Birthday" to him, gave him his teddy (which he has named Bare Bear) and had a biscuit after tea to celebrate.

When the next little guy up just turned 4 not so long ago he got a Lego set, a resin rabbit for his garden, a tiny little torch and a wonderful morning tea! It was just the family as usual, and the wonderful treats you see on the photo above.

Miss almost 7 has her birthday this week. We have a few treats tucked away and something nice planned for lunch. Tea will be something she has chosen and the day will be special for her.

I was talking to someone a while back who reminded me about children's parties when we were little (he was as ancient as me) in the 1970's. When mothers cooked the food like lamingtons, cherios (not cereal like in America - here in NZ they are little red sausages served with tomato sauce), ginger snaps with whipped cream in them, individual jellies, hundreds-and-thousands open sandwiches, tiny little savouries and of course a cake.

The games were pass the parcel, hunt the thimble, pin the tail on the donkey ...

For the majority now it seems those days are gone. Parents have better ideas - they hire the entire gymnasium for an hour, and then take everyone to a restaurant afterwards or take 15 of their children's best friends for a horse trek or hire a bouncy castle and a juggler to put on a show or they get a "Party Organiser" to do the whole thing! And the parties get bigger and better (and subsequently more expensive) each year. What a stress!!

Birthdays ARE specials days. A time to celebrate the life of the child - to thank the Lord for sending that specific child into that exact place in our family. But the hype and glamour is misplaced.

I would like to encourage parents to really go back to basics with birthdays for young children. When they are older they might specifically ask for something special, but having been brought up on a diet of simplicity and the quiet life I believe the requests won't be too extravagant (or expensive!).

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