My Problem with Birthday Parties

is really stupid as per RD…he says I think too much…

May be I do…I am a ‘ahem’ thinker eh?

But getting to the point..

That party we went was R’s daycare friend’s birthday party..I dont know the girl except that I have said hello to her when I wait to pick up R at the daycare..she smiles, I smile and things are done…we got an invite on Friday night…which means that I have NO TIME to buy a gift and no I am not my father’s daughter who keeps extra gifts for children in his house…Gah to him! but so I was stuck regarding that..also Saturday was FULL DAY working which means that I have no time to buy a present..

I am not even looking into the fact that the birthday invite had a barbie themed invitation which I would think is too stereotyped…but then to each his/her own so I am not commenting on that at all!

then again, we went to the party after buying two puzzles and 2 pens…which brings me to my Question #1 – WHAT to gift children? most children in R’s group as far as I know have it clips, be it pencils, sketchpens, toys etc etc 😦 The practical me would suggest just giving cash, but for a kid it wouldnt work…The other side of me would suggest a story book,but how do you know what the kid reads, whether the kid reads at all, what is age appropriate to me may not be age appropriate to the parents, and also HOW do you buy the right gift if you are given an invite just a day before 😦

anyways we entered the party hall (RD dropped us and left) and I saw a huge hall decorated like a dream..and the girl wearing the princess tiara and all that…I introduced myself to the lady who welcomed us only to realise later that she was not even the mother of the girl but an aunt *Smacks head!*

I left R since the place was a closed one and then sat in one remote corner trying furiously to blend with the wall paper…I met one of R’s daycare friend’s mother, someone whom I had met earlier and said hello to…

In the party, there was a party host! and a tatoo corner…now I never let R wear tatoos…I know the chemicals that go into a removable tatoo and I am not a big fan of applying all that to a baby’s hand 😦 but ALL the kids were going there, and R came running to me asking me ‘Amma maine tatoo wear karu please’ Well, for once, I was not the cruel one and agreed…Did my heart feel I was right – yes..did my mind feel I was right – no 😦

the only positive point – R at least asked for permission!

Then again there were some kids whose parents had left them and gone…I didnt think I would do that to R

1. because she is too young to be left alone
2. because its a big problem to the parents of the birthday girl to take responsibility..infact I had called up the mother and asked her the previous day and she had said very clearly that we would prefer one of the parents at least or even both because it would be difficult for us to manage young kids..totally agreed…but then again the other side of me said ‘coming for free dinner eh?’

Anyways…so the kids whose parents were not around, I know them because they are in R’s daycare, were not in the best of behaviour,….drinking glass after glass of juice, running around, knocking down people…*Shudder*

then there were games which the host which she divided the kids and the parents into two teams and asked them to do various task like  make a circle, make a triangle etc etc….interesting concept but then why make the winning team say boooo to the losing team 😦 what are you teaching the kids..that its bad to this moment, RD would have told me..I am over reacting…yaa may be I was 😦

Then of course there was a magic show that went on and on..and then another game of the parents…and then gifts only for particular kids who won a particular round….is that right?? one kid went crying to his mom saying even he wanted a gift 😦

then as usual the Indian problem of  not doing anything on time 😦 I was late myself..the card said 6.30 but I had called up and told the mother that I can come only by 7.30 because I had office…I reached at 7.15…
the cake was cut at NINE!!! nine in the night 😦 R was cranky and hungry by then but thankfully her daycare friends were around so it was okie I guess…

The mother with whom I was sitting and I were one of the firsts to enter the food counters which opened only at 9.15 😦 isnt that too late…I mean, with such young kids, wouldnt you want to start up the food earlier..and of course the variety of food there!!!

I was wondering how superlative the arrangements were, when R’s friend’s mom told me that the minimum amount to book the hall + food there is about Rs.30 K..then additional tatoo, magician, and return gifts (which would have been at least 50 in number looking at the crowd!) and cake…I gasped! I said you are kidding me? she said no…and she mentioned that this girl always gives such superlative parties..last year it was in a famous pizza joint and before that in another big hall!!!

and since R’s friend is about 5 years, she is telling her mother that even I was such a big party…which may not be affordable to them of course 😦

which brings me to my stupid questions

#2 – Is such a party necessary? Who am I to ask this..well a mother of a peer, who cant really afford such expensive parties…

#3 – how to make kids realise that not everyone can afford it…I over heard the kids discussing on how exciting the return gifts are going to be, and how so and so’s return gifts were so drab 😦 and the cake was so yuck 😦 kids can be cruel seriously 😦

#4 – I personally would NEVER spend or as a  matter of fact, afford to spend so much money for R..does that mean that I should stop attending such parties…everyone in her daycare was going, so R didnt want to be left out and I the kid whose birthday it was, is certainly not expecting an invitation to R’s bday,  but then there is peer pressure and super competition…

#5 – What happened to the birthday parties we used to have? Some food ma would make, cake was either baked at home or bought from a small nearby bakery, there were NO return gifts, children came, played, ate and went back!

#6 – Is such extravaganza a trend only in Mumbai or is it happening in other towns as well?

My idea of a good birthday party

Venue – My house

Food – Cake from outside ( I cant bake okie?), some idli sambhar chutney, some chips and perhaps another sweet

Return gifts – Books or perhaps plants

Gift for the birthday child – Nothing..because I have no STORAGE space in my house!!!

Time – 6 in the evening to 8.30 in the evening

Things to do – Games which can be played by kids inside the perhaps painting or making something constructive or perhaps playing with the atta dough or something (any suggestions)
My actual problems with birthday parties is just the extravaganza attached to them..and my biggest grouse – Return gifts…what a super waste of money 😦 and because your child gets it, you have to give it too..and no, kids dont appreciate books..they want only expensive stuff 😦

Disclaimer – These are my personal views. I am not judging anyone. I dont have any right to judge anyone at all. and if I get invites to extravagant birthday parties, I will attend!



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131 Responses to My Problem with Birthday Parties

  1. I haven’t attended one birthday party of my kids’ friends yet, thanks to frequent moving of places. And when I was young, I really didn’t know the meaning of parties. It was usually a cake with parents and a few neighbours and going to the temple routine that was followed. And because my birthday falls bang in the middle of summer vacations, I didn’t even have the opportunity of wearing a new dress and carrying chocolates to school. Sigh.

    So, I had no clue that birthday parties can be so grand. I mean, this sounds like a wedding!

    I don’t know RM. I guess I need to gather my thoughts to even comment on your questions.

    • R's Mom says:

      hahahah! the same problem with R…(when is your bday?) R’s is right in the middle of school I guess it becomes a problem for me in the future for her to celebrate at school 🙂

      Errr…waiting for your thoughts?

      • My birthday is on May 18th! No where close to celebrating in school! 😦 😦

        Actually, I have no thoughts on this, RM. Have been reading all the comments. One thing is for sure though – I’ll never have such big fancy birthday parties for my kids, even if we can afford it. My logic is this – Big crowds and halls and pizza joints are alone not enough to make a birthday memorable. See.. Most of us commenting here have celebrated practically no/very small scale birthdays. Yet, we remember them fondly till today. And I guess that is what counts ultimately. Memories. And happy ones at that. (I hope I can live up to whatever I say here.)

        • R's Mom says:

          loved what you wrote 0 Big crowds and halls and pizza joints are alone not enough to make a birthday memorable. See.. Most of us commenting here have celebrated practically no/very small scale birthdays. Yet, we remember them fondly till today.

  2. I totally agree with you on this. I mean why the hell people spend so much on birthday parties? And this is not just in Mumbai. This trend is huge in Delhi (where I used to be) and now in Bangalore. I’m sure its become a trend in other big cities as well. Oh how can I forget a friend had a similar birthday party in Lucknow as well. 🙂

  3. I am with you on this… super waste of money… in this case the girl was atleast 7yrs old.. how abt the grand 1st bday parties… the kid doesn’t even know whats happening around.. end up crying/sleeping off.
    Parents who can afford have no prob.. but what abt the kids whose parents cant afford.. at that young age, its hard for them to understand too – that brings bitterness, jealous and competitiveness in their tender hearts. and whats wrong with that host… sowing hatred in children by making them say booo and giving gifts only to the winning group… thats really bad… 😦
    I had a similar experience 2 weeks back, we went to a cancer hospice (where the patients are in dying condition) as a part of community service from my company. The host conducted housie game and gifts were given only to those patients who really won.. my heart sunk.. they were all grown up and old. But they were already dying and we were further hurting them by showing that they lost.. why cant the host give gifts to everyone at the end.. i fail to understand these ppl…

    Sorry for the long comment on your space.. pour my heart out on this..

    • R's Mom says:

      I am so against grand first birthday parties…you know GB, EVERY first birthday party I have attended the kid has cried at some point…no I am not kidding EVERY DAMN first birthday party..but again, I am no one to comment on it…its not my business na…

      I cant believe the incident you mentioned happened in the cancer hospital 😦 Its so sad (You volunteer for a cancer hospital, its so sweet 🙂 )

      Dont be sorry and all yaar, I wrote the post hoping long comments 🙂

      • Archana says:

        I am so happy you wrote about this.. we southies have 2 birthdays – the nakshatram one and the the date of birth one. So my son’s first b’day homam (which is done on his nakshatram date) preparations were going on in full swing causing enough of a dent in the pocket. Then surprisingly, everyone started asking about a party on his date of birth too. I kept saying that we are anyway celebrating it in a few days. The standard response was “Poor son of yours – no one will come on his birthday??”. My saying that he won’t even realise it is his birthday or that he would prefer to have a quieter fun filled time, apparently didnt make enough sense! After saying that I am being stingy, and heartless and various versions of the same I was let go.
        I shudder to think what is expected from the next year onwards!

        • R's Mom says:

          Gah! you are not stingy…you are just practical…R has had 3 birthdays and we havent celebrated any!

          and we didnt even do the nakashtram birthday….we are just lazy (Read stingy) parents 😉

  4. MiniNair says:

    Hi R’s mom, I totally agree with you. I thought I was the one who was wierd. My twins go to bed at 8.30 in the night. When we are invited to parties where the cake is going to be cut late we walk out often to the host pleading,’ paanch minute wait karo! But the kids get cranky. I never encurage the twins to play to win at parties. Infact they simply run around like molecules and parties where the birthday girl is dressed as a princess…..that is the one I dread the most…all the other kids are treated as her ‘daasis’. I do not like anyone to lower the self esteem of the twins so we avoid ostentatious parties….It’s high time parents become responsible and think before they host a party for the kids….


    • R's Mom says:

      Hey welcome here..another mommy of twins…how adorable 🙂

      all the other kids are treated as her ‘daasis’ – Gosh you must be joking!!!

      I can understand the kids getting cranky yaar…even in R’s case she is in habit of sleeping by then she gets bugged and irritated and I cant even do anything about it

  5. I’d actually like to answer your questions, even though I am not a parent myself-having seen my sister’s friends throw similar parties for their children at close quarters. I know I don’t personally have a right to comment on this, considering how little I know but I also know you’re nice and you won’t mind 😀

    These are MY opinions alone and I honestly don’t mean to judge anyone-after all, who am I to judge and more importantly, I have no business to. I just wanted to comment because this is something I have thought of too. And in the process if I have hurt someone, I am truly sorry.

    Okies, with that out of the way-here is what I think…
    1) I would continue gifting stuff like books only yaar.. Frankly nothing else makes much sense. Beyond a point, I believe, by inviting me/my child to your party you are inviting my sensibilities and my beliefs as well when it comes to what I gift.. If my beliefs don’t coincide with yours(and they need not, really) ,too bad-but, this is the best thing I believe ( books I mean). Or even puzzles kind of thing.

    2) Such a party necessary-ah good question. I don’t think so, at all. But I also believe this, my sister told me that if you keep going to parties( which you will, because if you don’t your child might feel left-out) then you will also have to entertain/host people when it is your turn. Obviously because it may not seem appropriate to just attend parties and not throw one in return. If nothing, the child might want it because she’s seen everyone else being celebrated on their respective birthdays. So obviously such things get stuck in their minds.

    3)I felt so bad reading this RM, kids actually *compare* gifts? :O :O arey..what is this yaar? 5 year olds are doing this??? I am really speechless.

    4) you need not stop attending RM, you could probably do something like this( again borrowing off my sister)- just have a cake cutting of sorts and sponsor an hour of play at some play area or something like that ( err..I am not very sure RM, so please excuse)

    5) I wish we still had them man. Really. Atleast then, pure unadulterated fun is a given as opposed to parties which can sort of induce an inferiority complex in some kids ( One of my sister’s kids gets this complex everytime someone throws a bash and gets annoyed with the ma. I really wouldn’t know what to do RM. Juvenile that I am myself, I suppose I might try explaining. But really, how much can you explain to an 8 year old in terms they will understand? )

    6) me..they are EVERYWHERE! Madras, bangalore- I know.I am sure they are in most metro type cities RM.

    Ok, now after that long long comment- I hope you don’t start blocking me for posting such a reply 😛

    • R's Mom says:

      Thank you so much for answering the questions despite of not being a mom…you are a sweetheart 🙂

      1. Agreed, I think I am just going to follow your advice blindly..thank you for that

      2. such things get stuck to their minds – yes they do 😦

      3. oh yes, they do compare rey..and even if its out of innocence its scary!

      4. arey but kids are not happy with just a mere cake cutting na..then what happens is ‘why only cake, saath mein koi cold drinks nahi hai kya, kuch namkeen to eat’ and then it snowballs!

      5. Awww..hugs to the little one..its so difficult to explain na..but then again at 8, may be she will understand the importance of money wont she if explained correctly?

      6. now that I didnt know!

      no no, what you are talking about blocking and all..thank you so much for taking out time and putting in your views..they mean so much!

      • RM, even for an 8 year old-complexes such as these have to repeatedly told and taken away by the mother. By that I mean, my sister gets into a LOT of heavy duty talking to make her understand that she’s none the lesser for it. But fact remains that , being as young as they are, it is but natural for them to feel that way.
        When you have friends who talk about birthday parties and the gifts and blah blah- NO MATTER what your amma says, it all goes flying out of the window once the child sees a fairy tale like party or some super duper gifts.
        And another thing you know RM, the “talking” that kids do at 8 will be even more worse na? Like you’d mentioned about those 5 year olds, I guess it will be even worse as they get older.
        A really sad state of affairs. And a never ending battle for the parents.

        • R's Mom says:

          Oh I agree…please dont think I was questioning the way your sister is raising her kid…I was just thinking may be at 8, they understand better…so totally agree wtih the comparison part rey…at 3, R’s friends do such at 8, I can so understand 😦

          Sorry if you thought that I was pointing out or anything..didnt mean it that way!

  6. RS says:

    Babe! I heartily and completely agree with everything you’ve said here. I dont understand the need for such extravagant parties either and I see the kids in Chutku’s daycare now-any Bday party that happens they EXPECT a return gift.Infact 1 child refused to give the bday gift to the Bday girl because there was no return gift given! And cant blame the child now can we?
    Hubby and I had to face a lot of flak for not celebrating Chutku’s 2nd Bday this way. Like we committed some crime and everyone was trying to tell us that our kid will hate us in the future for not celebrating his Bday!

    Here are my answers to your questions:
    Question #1 – WHAT to gift children? – If its family, I give clothes appropriate to the age-Yes, I know that they would have plenty but atleast it wont be thrown in a corner and will be used atleast once. If its friends-I stick to age appropriate books. WHy do you care about the parents-“atleast give the chance for the kid to develop an interest in reading” – thats my mantra.

    #2 – Is such a party necessary? – ABSOLUTELY not! I dont agree with such extravagant parties for such small kids.It kind of instills money consciousness-be it the cake,gifts,return gifts,games organised – everything. And such a waste…

    #3 – how to make kids realise that not everyone can afford it… – Exactly-How do you tell a child about affordability and how the parents dont love them any less because they didnt throw such a big party? These things and peer pressure what begins to affect the child, Im afraid.

    #4 does that mean that I should stop attending such parties – No please dont stop attending -for R’s sake. Do get a gift that you want to give and go. And anyway when you throw her a party at your place for her Bday – she will jsut be happy about all her friends coming home to celebrate her Bday rather than think about the BIG party hall and the magician 🙂 I think we can influence them a bit atleast? 🙂

    #5 – What happened to the birthday parties we used to have? – Sigh, I wonder too… It used to be so uncomplicated and so much fun…

    I LOVE your idea of a party and thats what I intend to do too, and thats perfect fun as long as all the kids are enjoying – why do you want a magician? Cant the kids create enough magic on their own?

    Quite a long comment this…

    • R's Mom says:

      R is 3 years..and she is yet to have a birthday party…I personally feel, that kids enjoy I mean, actually enjoy parties only after they are about 5, when they understand better eh?

      1. Books it is…after what you and enthudreamer wrote, I think it makes a lot of sense

      3. I have started talking to R about money you know…how she cant get everything..etc etc

      4. yep..your logic of the party makes sense to me!

      loved your line – why do you want a magician? Cant the kids create enough magic on their own?

      • RS says:

        Hey! And I forgot to add – I dont like evening parties for little kids at all. They are so excited since the morning to attend the party that by the time evening comes and tha prty begins they are tired! and hungry and sleepy by 8-9pm. Then you cut cake, then you feed kids, then the parents eat – Uff! and by then its past 10pm atleast and atleast 1 kid is so cranky that it spoils the fun for the hosts,parents and the kid.
        I would rather have a lunch party for the kids or a snack party beginning at 3-4pm and ends by 7pm – in time for the kids to go home and eat healthy home food rather than the hotel cooked dinner at their own pace rather than hurrying them up at the venue. This way they can have the cake and the snacks at 4pm and proper dinner to…

        Just my thoughts – again hogging your comments space…

  7. Ashwathy says:

    I think buying a gift is a little difficult when you do not know the bday girl or boy directly in question. So unless you know their likes and dislikes you cannot decide whether to gift them sketch pens, books or whatever.

    Well, for once, I was not the cruel one and agreed…Did my heart feel I was right – yes..did my mind feel I was right – no
    Don’t think too much. It’s just once. And sometimes you have no control over external circumstances, so you will have to go with the flow. And yes, she DID ask for permission, so atleast she knows she has to ask before doing something new.

    Parents left the kids there and went? Hmm…. I think at 3 years it’s a little early for it, isn’t it? Or atleast an older sibling should watch over the kid. I know I sound like a granny when I talk like this…but anyway I don’t think I attended birthday parties while I was 3 years old…and definitely not without atleast my mother!
    but then again the other side of me said ‘coming for free dinner eh?’
    When you have that small a kid, it’s all part of deal. Well, hello? They are the ones who invited R. R didn’t invite herself and barge into the place, right?

    This is what happens when games are played for kids who are too young to understand it. Some kids may win a particular round. They don’t even understand why they don’t get the gifts. I’m not even sure we should be commenting or judging on all that.

    Cake cutting at nine in the night for the bday party of a 3 year old? Not done boss. I’d suggest 7.30 or even 8. Not any longer. When do these kids go to bed anyway?

    May I point out a tiny mistake in your writing:
    she is telling her mother that even I was such a big party…which may not be affordable to them of course
    I WANT, not I was! 🙂

    how to make kids realise that not everyone can afford it…I over heard the kids discussing on how exciting the return gifts are going to be, and how so and so’s return gifts were so drab and the cake was so yuck kids can be cruel seriously
    Well what do u expect? U treat them to a world like this, they will become far more judgemental than at a much earlier age.

    In fact when I was a kid, we never had this concept of return gifts at all! 😯 Where do these trends come up??

    • R's Mom says:

      I know its just once Ashwathy, but then I am like will this trend of tatoos in bdays continue, if so and we get invited, should I be allowing it everytime *Shakes head in confusion*

      the bday party girl was 7 some kids were older, but my logic is that, I wont let R be alone till she is about 7 or 8 years..because she may not know the right way of behaving right ?

      Most kids in Bombay go to sleep at 12…and I am not exaggerating!!!

      Thanks for pointing out the mistake. 🙂

      Well what do u expect? U treat them to a world like this, they will become far more judgemental than at a much earlier age. – So so true!!!

      I know, this return gift thing I came to know only after R went to daycare..we never had anything like that!!!

  8. Mathangi Vijay says:

    Hi R’s Mom,
    I’ve been reading your blogs for quite some time and this post made me really want to comment.
    I was put through exactly a similar situation when I had to attend a similar extravagant birthday party.
    There was Tattoo corner, Discos for the parents and the kids, then there was this animal petting corner where there were some goats, ducks etc which the kids can go, touch and pet!
    Then the girl was dressed as a Barbie, the cake was a barbie cake as well!
    It all looked very nice and beautiful but I dont know what kind of influence it will have on all other kids who attend that party!
    May be all the kids who are invited to the party are of the same league because they study in the same expensive, hep school (but for few unfortunate ones finding to be the odd one out)
    Thankfully my son was not really impressed with the celebrations and was not liking the loud music being played.
    Yet again we waited till 8.40 for the cake to be cut, which did not happen, so I decided to pack my bags and leave stating that my house is very far from there and believe me I was the only one there who had not come in a car..
    Wish the parties stop to be just as children’s affairs instead of the pomp and show which the parents want to put up..
    And sorry for such a long reply.. But it triggered a lot of memories..

    • R's Mom says:

      Hey welcome here 🙂

      *Falls at feet* – I would never have had the guts to walk out of the party half way…I swear!! I would crib and then wait till the end…I loved the fact that you walked away…I should take inspiration from you and try it the next time..

      loved your comment and thanks for sharing..keep coming okie?

      • Mathangi Vijay says:

        Sometimes, it doesnt make sense to keep on waiting for a party to even begin. That particular place was really far off, an outskirts farm house sorts, my hubby couldnt come to pick me up and getting there through public transport was a hard thing to do. So I had to take a call and say NO I cannot wait beyond this point.
        I was really embarrassed to do it. But I did not have anyone I knew in the party but for the hosts (I did not them well as well :p ) So I did it!!

  9. varsha says:

    S has started school just now. so we havent yet seen this bday culture. Where we live, in the neighbourhood, the bday parties are still the way we used to have. We celebrated S first bday in hall , rest were all at home self decoration ,simple food/snacks and returrn gifts.

  10. garima says:

    .Birthday parties have become symbol of social status.The good old birthday parties were the best.I just dont like this concept of return gifts.Kids tend to compare they are innocent,its we grown up who should understand this and discourage the concepts of return gifts.
    In some cases booking party hall becomes unavoidable coz the house may be too small to accomadate large no.of kids but then again spendig too much money is just a waste.

    • R's Mom says:

      arey Garima, In some cases booking party hall becomes unavoidable coz the house may be too small to accomadate large no.of kids – Tell me one thing, do you really think it matters to kids if the place is congested..give them something to do, and they will be happy doing it wherever they get space…no house is too small to accomodate kids..thats my view 🙂

      and you are right…we elders should discourage the return gift things..but saachmein, I dont think it will work until ALL the parents agree to it in a group!!

  11. Seema says:

    My idea of a good birthday party

    Venue – My house
    Food – Cake baked by me, food cooked by me.
    Return gifts – I would not call anyone I personally don’t know just because their kid is in my daughters’ school or day care. No wonder, there was not a single kid on Mantam’s third bday. Just a few close relatives and friends of Abbas and me. (No return gifts also as all were adults, u c? *insert evil stingy smile*)
    Gift for the birthday child – ‘Nothing..because I have no STORAGE space in my house!!!’ – Same here
    Time – Afternoon lunch
    Things to do – Housie and some other group games we had which helped in breaking the ice among the guests who were seeing each other for the first time and let them gel along well.
    And every year on Mantam’s bday, we have been donating a humble amount for a noble cause without fail.

    On whether extravagant parties are necessary or not, I would not like to comment coz like you said ‘to each his own’ but then when our kids are invited to such parties, how they handle the peer pressure, and how we handle it once it percolates to us parents, I dunno. We are still untouched by invites to any such parties yet. *Thanks god for small mercies*

  12. Ramya says:

    100% with your ideas RM… In fact Thejas had to attend 2 birthday parties (he is not even 2) and in the next 2 months, I need to throw a party… my problem is not the party… but for working mothers at least (no offense to SAHM) its sending shudders… will the party start on time, what all will i have to get (am not too good in cooking), theme (whats this… hearing this a lot nowadays) and decorations and will people come on time… both the parties Thejas attended started late. in fact the host had said 6 thinking that people will turn around at least by 6.30 and all the wonderful people turned in at 7.30 for a 1 yr old’s birthday.. imagine the parents pity… cos of all these, even am thinking should i hold a party but Vinodh insists.. god help us…

    • R's Mom says:

      Welll if you are holding it in the house

      here are a few easy but healthy ideas for cooking

      1. cake – order in
      2. Sprouts bhel..just make the normal bhel and add some sprouts for the health factor
      3. Idlis – you will get ready made atta can make the idlis in advance and store in a hot pot…
      4. Chutney (you can skip the sambhar)
      5. Some sandwichs perhaps like cheese, jam, peanut butter..if the kids arent too much, you can just make them as they want it

      Of course, visit food blogs for more ideas..this is just a lazy me giving some quick solutions 🙂

  13. vethal says:

    loved this bit ” I get invites to extravagant birthday parties, I will attend!” 🙂

  14. lifesong says:

    Don’t think too much about it RM. I believe to each his own. I wont stop my child from going to such parties but at the same time making her understand that each one celebrates in their own way. We celebrate her b’day at home in a simple yet fun way where we call her close friends, let them dance and have fun games. I prefer to celebrate on a weekend (5-7:30 pm), feed the children with only cake and pack them off with some food 🙂 … it is very difficult to feed 4 year olds 🙂 So far these parties have been successful and she is happy 🙂
    Luckily for us we stay in a place where everyone is of similar social status so most parties are similar. even in her daycare they have now banned return gifts except for chocolates.
    About gifts and return gifts… well sadly it has become the culture now. I have seen children coming to the party expecting the return gift. As for gifts, I usually gift toys or activity books.

    • R's Mom says:

      hahahah your first line sounded EXACTLY like RD..dont think too much about it 🙂

      totally agree to celebrating over the weekend..its so much easier, for us as well as the guests…

      Glad her daycare has banned return gifts…very very sane people…I was wondering if I could suggest that to R’s daycare…

  15. vethal says:

    I completely agree with you . In a party we attended recently, the girl had a 3d cake (princess cake and all kids who were of same age had that ” when will I have a similar cake” kind of look. and what the 4 yr old asked was a bollyewood night party. so they had lights /smoke , matkas , jatkaas etc 🙂

  16. vethal says:

    and i am like u. i will comment but still go and attend and have a nice time with my lil boy

    • R's Mom says:

      Well…honestly Vethal, I didnt comment to anyone as such…just the thoughts in my mind, onto the blog where I am kinda anon…well not exactly…but kind of…I just discussed with RD..thats all 🙂

  17. Smitha says:

    I totally totally agree with you, RM. I don’t think you are over reacting at all.

    Here most of the parties are at play areas, which even after converting into rupees, still seems cheaper than the extravaganza you describe. And most parties last only for 2 hours, and the latest they extend to is 6 in the evening. I am shocked that for a child’s party the food counter opened so late!! Do children really enjoy such chaotic events?

    We had play area parties for the last 2 years because Poohi had too many friends . This year, I plan to have a smaller do at home.. But I have not heard children comparing gifts and stuff here. I cant help wonder if the parents themselves are responsible for the way the children think.

    Incidently the most extravagant parties that I have been to here are Indian parties, where parents claim that they want to give the children everything they didn’t have!!

    • R's Mom says:

      I love the concept of play area parties…if its not in the social culture to invite at home (which is common in India na) I think they make sense…and dont ask about return gifts…its a big craze here 😦

      where parents claim that they want to give the children everything they didn’t have!!

      – Seriously…thats an argument I refuse to buy from anyone…

      • Gayatri says:

        We too have arranged birthday party at play area since husband did not want children trampling his precious plants in the garden. But, its good as its only for 2 hours and the food for children is provided at the play area and you only have to take the cake. Usually parties end by 4pm but this time we could not get a slot so ours was from 4-6pm. We had also organised for some sandwiches for the parents and drinks like coffee,tea. My idea of return gift was to gift one toy and one art and craft kit as I want my child to try and do some craft work. I tend to buy birthday gifts for upto £10 but not more. Infact, I tell my close friends to not buy any gift more than that. I did initially get upset about buying some gifts for friends’s children who gave us expensive gifts as I did not want to spend an equivalent amount. But, one of my friends advised me that “gift what you can and what you think is right” and I follow that sincerely. I do ask the parents if their child’s preferences and look for something suitable (which I too think is okay). :). Here they have something called a “wedding registry” where the couple have a list of things they would like for their house and you can either pay for teh whole item or part-contribute. I sometimes wish there was similar one for children’s birthday gifts too. 🙂
        Do what you can and explain to your child, initially they may not understand but they
        will slowly get it.

        • R's Mom says:

          4 to 6 is super nice na!! It couldnt get better!!

          “gift what you can and what you think is right” – Thats what I am going to follow for sure!

          Here they have something called a “wedding registry” where the couple have a list of things they would like for their house and you can either pay for teh whole item or part-contribute. I sometimes wish there was similar one for children’s birthday gifts too – I LOVED THIS IDEA!

  18. Pal says:

    Hey R’s Mom…totally agree with you on the what a waste these ostentatious theme parties are. Have attended a couple so far and it just feels like a super duper waste of money. My daughter turns 2 soon and I was feeling the pressure of having some kind of a party as I see all my friends around me and also ones on FB posting fantastic pics of Birthday celebrations of their tots. But have now decided that it’s just gonna be lunch with family and doing something that will make my munchkin smile on her special day. I so totally agree with u that at this age they don’t care what parties are and how much u have spent in terms of money and not to mention effort to get everything organized. But yeah the question rattles me of how will I deal with this when my baby is older and wants her party to be just like the jazzy ones she attended…???

    • R's Mom says:

      hey welcome here…

      See….while we feel its a waste of money, the parents may not really take it as a waste of money..for them its something they are spending on their kids…my problem comes when it becomes like a competition…you did barbie, I will do doremon and stuff like that 😦

      But have now decided that it’s just gonna be lunch with family and doing something that will make my munchkin smile on her special day. – LOVED LOVED LOVED the fact that you arent succumbing to the pressure!

      • Pal says:

        Hey R’s Mom…not my 1st time here..come regularly and have commented once or twice before though not regularly 🙂
        I know the competition and the attitude of keeping up with the Joneses is what ultimately is deplorable ESP as we as parents are just instilling the wrong values in our kids. But sadly that’s difficult to explain to a child when she sees all her peers having lavish dos given by parents who as u pointed out see it as their child’s due!

  19. momofrs says:

    Oh Dear…I think I’ve ranted about theme parties myself! I’ve conducted B’day parties like you mentioned, at home, invite friends, have goodies to eat, cake cuts at 7:30 pm after a couple of games and then dinner for the kids. For bigger parties, I generally don’t take my kids along. Either the BF or me attends, hands over the gift and comes back. My theory is that if I’m not throwing those kind of parties for my kids, I shouldn’t take them to places that do have such parties…nad in turn, prevent them from feeling deprived.
    Makes sense ?? 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      Well Momofrs, I didnt think of it this ways at all…dont take R to such parties..well then most likely I wouldnt go to them either, because I never get invited to ANY parties (imagine what kind of a witch I am 😉 ) but I have a Question..what if Lui and Shobs friends have a party which is huge and they WANT to go..will you not take them?

      • momofrs says:

        Good question, RM 🙂
        Luckily, the twins were invited to Birthday parties hosted by either my friends OR the BF’s friends. Unless its a very close friend, I don’t take my kids along. reason being, if its a good friend, I’m bound to invite them too.
        I don’t encourage parties between their classmates….at least, not yet! They have not yet been invited for any such party themselves and neither did I throw a party for their classmates. I sent chocolates for the entire school instead 🙂 .
        I know I cannot ‘hide’ my kids from such social gatherings, but my main concern is, should I teach them social behavior through parties only? Why cant they enjoy the company of friends in a more informal setting? like playing with the society kids in the park or playing with their classmates in the school bus!
        Since the twins haven’t attended any ‘birthday bash’ other than their own (and a couple when they were under 3 years of age), they have no idea about it and have never ‘demanded’ to be taken to one.
        Thank God for small mercies, right ? 😀

  20. anna's mom says:

    I attended the first birthday party of my husband’s cousin’s daughter (door ka rishta :P) a few months ago. It was in the hall of a hotel, there was a puppet show, a huge buffet etc etc. There was also (initially I couldn’t believe it) an air-gun shooting thingy with those balloons. In a closed hall with kids running around. Of course, the party which was to start at 7 only started at 8:30 when the birthday girl and her mom arrived. I had thankfully kept some food for Anna and managed to avoid that meltdown. We couldn’t wait to leave.
    Contrast this with another birthday party we attended some time later. It was the second birthday of one of Anna’s ‘friends’. 5:30 pm on a sunday evening, at the birthday girl’s home, lots of balloons and hats and trumpets, popcorn and potato smilies to munch on, music for the babies to dance on, cake and noodles and pizza server promptly by 6:30, mommies were around since most of the guests were too small to be left alone, return gift was a simple plastic tiffin and water bottle set, the gift we gave was a small kitchen set (cost around 300), all done by 7:00 pm. Perfect. I plan to do something similar for Anna’s second birthday. We are in any case far too kanjoos to spend thousands on each and every birthday party. What will be new in spending on some major occasion then?

    • R's Mom says:

      baap rey…air gun shooting and all..what was it? a carnival???

      loved loved loved the second party…I think it makes sense..thanks for the idea of noodles and pizza…thats a good thing to give kids as well!

      We are in any case far too kanjoos to spend thousands on each and every birthday party. What will be new in spending on some major occasion then?

      – Can I mention I LOVE YOU for those lines 🙂

  21. You are so lucky about R’s birthday.
    1) no need to send compass box and the like to school to be distributed(distributing chocolates is out dated now in case you didn’t know)
    2) if you keep a party at home, most of the friends would have gone to their ‘gaon’ or ‘native place’ or some fancy trip to a cooler place.
    3) the ones that stick around is family and close friends.
    4) the child will not be accustomed to celebrating birthdays bigger and better each year. Her only expectations would be to have some friend around and *that* would be the huge thing 🙂

    Sigh! Those days!

    • R's Mom says:

      Ah! the birthday sharer had to comment…

      yaa..even in R’s school they have started return gifts..and some of them are so expensive CR, you wont believe it…I mean 300 Rs per return gift..and R has 40 kids in the class…can you imagine how expensive it gets 😦

      • Smitha says:

        Return gifts in school? That is ridiculous! Why on earth are we doing this to our kids?
        As for value of money.. I think I have a post to write about that.. But my experience is that children do not expect the sun and the moon.. They really enjoy with the simplest of things. It is us parents who put ridiculous ideas into their heads.. I saw this child’s birthday celebration of a friend in Delhi – and believe me, I was so shocked!The scale of it was so shockingly extravagant.. And so silly, if you ask me.

  22. Vidya says:

    A virtual high-five! I attend quite a few fancy b’day parties of friends of both the kids.. Most of them are hosted in a beeeg food joint/party-hall.. There were one or two occasions when Vyas asked if we could host a similar party for his b’day, that is, when he was 6 or 7.. I told him we could ‘attend’ such parties 🙂

    1. I buy books as gifts unless its a niece/nephew/a close pal’s kid for whom I buy clothes.. And surely not the jing-bang stuff..

    2. I’m there at the venue mostly on time- around 6.30-ish usually.. I leave at 8.00 max and don’t wait for the cake-cutting et al if there is a delay for whatever reasons.. I take the kids to a eat-out on the way home and get done with the dinner business.. That too because I would have told the MIL that we’ll not be having dinner..
    3. If its a kids-only party, I drop Vyas and pick him up at say, 8.30.. I will not leave Varun till he is about 6 or 7.. Basically because kids find newer ways to get into trouble.. I know a kid who tried blowing a balloon. She ended up swallowing a small bit because it burst and one part when into her mouth! Thankfully, she endured no harm! This, when the parent was around!! I’ve seen kids pop thermocol balls into their mouth! *Shudder* Varun is quite capable of doing it thinking it is gems..

    I always host the get-together at home. Its a simple affair with a fresh-cream cake, sandwich or vada or pasta made at home, chips from a bakery, juice or flavoured milk. Return gifts are usually the stationery. Once I gave a tiny kiddy-bank.. This time, for varun’s I gave the kids a water bottle. Basically all the nieces and nephews, kids in the apts, and a couple of close friends of the kids..

    • R's Mom says:

      Vidya, I love you. period. full stop.

      Thank you for the ideas of the home party. I will definitely try this for R’s bday!!

      1. good idea

      2. Loved the whole concept of leaving on time and then eating out…I can do that

      3. Vyas is old enough rey. to be left alone…after 6 I think kids can be left..otherwise one parent should be there na…

      gosh those incidents are scary eh…guess both R and Varun are capable of the swallowing part 🙂

  23. Bikram says:

    I like your idea of the birthday party at home. this one got me a bit nostalgic , this may sound funny and silly but till i came ot uk, each year on my birthday there use to a party at home, my dad every year made sure of it , would order some food and call some of his best friends and some of my best friends and it use to be a small get together Each year. and the year i was to come to UK, I got my visa on 8th november and b’day is 11th so my dad’s friend got a Dholi and all it was fun time ..

    nothing can beat the fun one can have at home with a friends around ..
    Time use to be around 5:30, and it went on till late night but food would be on table by 6:30 os have ur food first and then do the fun parts ..

    Although Not many presents for me although money came 🙂 menu was always a lot of food and a big big fresh cream Cake , delicious

    • R's Mom says:

      Awwww! your dad’s such a sweetheart 🙂

      see when you are older its fine to stay back late..and all that rey…but for young kids, I think there should be a time limit 🙂

  24. A 12 year old I know celebrated her birthday in Tip Top Hall in Thane. My friend decided to get married in Pune as Tip Top Hall was not affordable for her. Do you see the difference?

    Is celebrating birthdays really about the child or the parents showing off their wealth?

    • R's Mom says:

      WHAT!!!! you are kidding me right??? I cant imagine…yaa CR I guess in some ways, it becomes a case of showing off eh?

      • Excuse me while I butt into this conversation- a 2 year old had a pool-side party at our apartment. The party started at 7:30.
        2 year old and 7:30 ?!?!?!
        I mean WTH? And besides, what is a 2 year old going to gain from this show? Obviously it is the parents way of getting together/socializing. Obviously nothing wrong with that, it is just that these kids are so so young, will definitely want their basic needs fulfilled at a particular( milk, food,the works) and throwing a party at the pool side( that too a theme based party ) seemed ridiculous to me.
        These parties are as much for some parents as they are for the kids- don’t you think RM and CR?

        • R's Mom says:

          well….one of the logic RD has is Bombay..most parents return from work only at 8…so parties tend to start late…but then…I dont agree to it..(not that he agrees..he is just using his supremely logical brain) have parties on weekends…and start early eh?

          2 year old by the pool side *Gasp?* isnt it dangerous if not anything else!

  25. Anshul says:

    We all know home is the first school and parents are the child’s first teachers….so if the parents keep on spending ruthlessly on the parties and on the return gifts they are actually teaching their kids to keep expecting more and more and never be satisfied and above all thankless…because the more materialistic things a child has the more he becomes thankless…he/she will never really understand the value of his assets…..really I too am worried about all this hoopla… after returning from England and settling here in Delhi…my son has started understanding what actually does a birthday party means( he has attended only one party till now )….but I am going to plan it in my own way…much similar to yours and yes above all no gifts…we seriously have limited storage space…and I want to teach my son to appreciate and be thankful for what he has…..

    • R's Mom says:

      hey welcome here…

      We all know home is the first school and parents are the child’s first teachers….so if the parents keep on spending ruthlessly on the parties and on the return gifts they are actually teaching their kids to keep expecting more and more and never be satisfied and above all thankless… – how true!

  26. Sreetama says:

    I was discussing the same thing with my friend in a pizza joint where a birthday party was going on. Is it really required? All my birthdays were celebrated at home with couple of friends & very close relatives like grand parents, uncle aunts n cousins. Ma used to bake cakes in the initial years which was followed by ordering from outside. Food was also cooked by Ma or dida (maternal grand mom) and consisted of luchi (puri), dal, chicken curry, polao/friend rice, payesh n sweets. Return gifts weren’t in vogue at my childhood.

  27. Smita says:

    Sigh!!! You know whenever I see people organising parties at home but ordering food from outside, I remember good old days when My Mom & her frenz used to work hard the whole day to cook a feast for all of us. Those simple b’day parties were much more fun then what these ppl organise these days.
    Having said that, even we had a tatoo & caricature corner plus there was a guy who organised games when we celebrated Arnav’s first b’day but then the reason behind that party was that it was his 1st b’day. But you know we did the decorations ourselves and it was fun. And I am very clear that I will try my level best to organise everything at home & make my son feel happy for it.
    And u know i agree with all your points, we ourselves are pushing kids into the materialistic world and then berating them later when they think of nothing but showing off.

    • R's Mom says:

      we ourselves are pushing kids into the materialistic world and then berating them later when they think of nothing but showing off – so so true 😦

      And LOL on Arnav’s bday party…see Smita, I am not judging or anything rey…its just that I feel sometimes, people go overboard 🙂

  28. NBose says:

    cudn’t agree more with u RM….i have already told the incident of a b’day party in my last comment… is tough…i don’t know how i am gonna handle the situation when my MIshti is of that age when kids starts demanding & comparing other kids stuffs!!!

    And then there are themes….i had to surf the whole market to get a glossy Ben10 wrapping paper!!!

    One thing I liked that many suggested…books as gifts or return gifts….ultimate one….if they like they can read or if they do not like books then pass them as gifts to my kid again… i won’t mind 🙂

  29. Swarna says:

    I completely agree with your idea of party R’s mom.
    I have been to couple of birthday parties recently and got one more invitation last week. I delegated the responsibility of taking my son to my MIL 🙂 (she enjoys birthday parties 🙂 )
    I don’t like that idea of return gifts, even I have heard kids discuss about return gifts.
    I don’t accept any gifts for the same reason as yours
    We can do this until kids oppose these thoughts 🙂

  30. Nithvin says:

    Big hugs to you RM for bringing up this topic! I so, so agree with you on all the points. I was waiting for this post from you since you mentioned it yesterday so that I could give my valuable comments (read rant) 🙂 here.
    1. I had this experience sometime back.. But it was a first year birthday party. We had got the invite well in advance and I was very eager to attend – so that I could know what was happening in the b’day party circuit and also my DD could have some fun.

    2. My problem was with the kind of ‘games’ that were held at the party and the attitude of the Event Manager (EM). The party started off at 7 pm (though the invite said 6 pm onwards) with the EM asking the kids to get a 2 rupee coin to her. As the kids started running to her, she started giving them toffees. After the initial 2 to 3 kids, she just ignored the other kids who stood handing her the 2 rs. Coin and started talking in the mike. My DD just stood there persistently to hand over the coin to her. We (hubby & I) tried calling her back, but to no avail. What happened next enraged me. This EM just looked from her mike and a toffee fell down from her hand. She gestured to DD to pick it up! Poor DD didn’t get the gesture and just stood there waiting for a toffee to be handed to her. Hubby finally had to get DD back from near the stage.

    3. Many of the ‘games’ made me feel if I was at Valentine day bash. I was embarrassed by some of those games for the adults. Or was it only me? I always thought b’day parties for kids would be kid-centric, guess I was wrong.

    4. DD got cranky after some time. We realized that the cake had not yet arrived(?) at the venue, we decided to finish dinner first. It was about 9 pm then .We missed the cake cutting as we were in the middle of our dinner.It was about 9 pm then.

    5. DD would not budge out from there without eating the cake. So, managed to get a piece of the cake and gave it to her.

    6. I was totally put-off by the entire thing. Made me realize how the total concept of fun & sensitiveness for kids was completely missed out. Most of the older kids seemed to be enjoying but at 3.5 yrs, DD could not participate in any of the games and started getting cranky after sometime. The only thing she enjoyed there was the bouncer.

    7. Still can’t understand if the party was meant for the kids or adults.

    Whew!Err..have I digressed.. It is a real long comment and am so sorry to hog so much of your space. But I really had to get this out of me.

    • R's Mom says:

      Thanks rey for your comment…you dont need to be sorry or anything please!

      Gosh I cant imagine doing that to a kid…I mean how can you ignore a small girl and then drop the sweet on the ground and ask her to pick up…Gosh!!! its so horrible!

      Its okie to miss the cake cutting na…you dont have to feel bad…I would have asked for the food counter to open myself if I had a choice!!

      older kids enjoyed..thats nice to the party I wrote about, I dont think even the older kids enjoyed too much 😦

      Glad you took it out on the comment here

  31. Kanchan says:

    Not giving food till 9 totally freaks me out. People who do that to babies are immediately struck off my list (which gets smaller). But what I fail to understand is that these are parents themselves, don’t they understand kids’ needs?

    Also the return gifts coming from school are scary. We have enough pencil-boxes, pencils, erasers and such to open a shop. It is an implied obligation too. I went to ask Adi’s teacher if she needed something and she said crayons as the kids keep breaking them. So that was it. Jellies and crayons 🙂 But I wish schools stop this practice. Technically – a return gift should be given, if you are going to a party, right? Idhar toh bas yoon hi…

    That said, I am guilty of having done a 1st year bday party, but not for kids 😀 Mostly for all the family and friends to get together. Since we live very far away some of them hadn’t seen Adi for months…So we booked a restaurant in the city so everyone could come. And good fun was had…

    But I do skip theme-parties and extravagant ones. Cannot explain all that stuff to the little one. Barbie, Ben 10 and what nots… Also the candle bursting and snow stuff is scary for him, so he doesn’t really insist.
    We have simple deal with the fellow. No gifts, (sometimes even no friends) just a cake of his choice. Every year he gets a beautiful cake of his choice, this year it was Lightning McQueen!

    • R's Mom says:

      hahhaha list that gets smaller…you are cute 🙂

      We have enough pencil-boxes, pencils, erasers and such to open a shop – seriously! I have started now giving away stuff to the garbage lady’s child and the watchman’s children..that makes more least some one uses it!

      Family and friends is fine rey…at the end of the day, there is nothing wrong in having a party..its just that the extravangaza associated with it which scares me 😦

  32. Swarna says:

    Hey R’s mom, I was just going through comments now. Happy to know most ladies here don’t like those grand parties. About teaching money value to kids, even I feel it’s so difficult. But I have seen some kids who are taught the value of money at a very young age. Salute to those parents.
    I know one kid (a boy) whose cousin goes to a very costly school ( yearly fee in lakhs 🙂 ), this boy does not mind that.
    Now a days we have started speaking ‘Paisa’ to my son. When he asks for too many toys, we say no ‘paisa’. So now he asks for toys and then asks us “Paisa idya?” (you have money?) 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      hahahah! loved him asking that question…I guess after an age, they do understand Swarna…we just need to be honest to them about it…I know my parents had money issues when we were kids and they were pretty transparent to us about it…RMB and I did the best we could to help them regarding that…not making stupid demands, etc etc…having that faith and honesty with your child goes a long way in their upbringing

  33. My era says:

    Birthdays for me (be it mine, anyone in the family or anyone who happens to be visiting us and his/her birthday) means and more food (all home cooked).

    I am totally with your idea of a birthday party.

    As far what others do, let them do what they please. I stick to my beliefs for they leave me with a happy feeling long after the even is over. I am with you in gifting useful gifts like books etc.

  34. AT says:

    I have been to b’day parties because invite came for my little daughter..but they were totally different than what you described here….
    like invite mentioned start time and a end time, no formal dresses i.e. Just bring your kids in plain clothes not dressed like supermodels or princesses just average children…. One party mentioned no presents but whatever you wish, give it to the charity of b’day girl’s choice…. But you know this was not an Indian b’day party…..
    when my daughter grows up i.e above 2 years of age, I’ll arrange party on these lines only….kids just want fun and show off is for parents….

  35. CA says:

    My kid’s birthdays so far have been in parks (mostly) and twice at home and only once in a play area. The only reason why we had it in the play area was because I had just had my second kid, and had not energy / time to plan a birthday for the first one. And not hosting would not go well with the just turned 4 kid, who also had just welcomed her sister.

    Hosting parties in the park has always been a success with the kids. We have hosted Rainbow themed party, Candy themed, Farm Animal theme and such like. The return gifts have been chosen to align to the theme but never extravagant. For Eg: For Farm Animal party we made Farm animal masks, gave away animal erasers and pencils and coloring books / rhymes book involving farm animals…. you get the drift 🙂

    What do I gift a birthday child … well age appropriate ones for sure. For Eg: For 4 yr olds, it could be 24 piece puzzles or simple board games or lego set and for 8 yr olds it could be simple art kit or books.
    Of course my kid’s get a set of new clothes, cake of their choice for their birthday. We are also parents who pass of kid’s essentials such as swimming glasses / bath robe as additional birthday gifts 😉

    • CA says:

      Oh, most of our parties are from 4:30 – 5:00 through 7 🙂 Both my kids are born in summer and it gets dark quite late here. But we wrap up our party by 7 … though sometimes parents continue to stay in the park since the kids refuse to go home 😉

    • R's Mom says:

      I think after reading most of the comments, I have realised that abroad there is this wonderful concept called playarea…can you imagine hosting a party in a park in Bombay (Errrr…if I find a park) it wont work at all…

      loved the idea of the simple return gifts!!

      loved that swimming glasses/bath robe idea heheheh 🙂

      4.30 to 7 is great timing as per me…I think most mothers would agree to that!

  36. Yeah right! What a colossal waste of money

  37. Pepper says:

    Babe… can I tell you again, that you are not the only one? 😀 So, no. You are not weird. You are not overreacting or over thinking. Tell RD that. Just look at your comment section. It’s full of people saying “I agree, it’s stupid to have such extravagant parties for kids”. That is the general sentiment around. Most of us in this social circle think the same way. And I expected that.

    Allow me to address a few points you brought up.

    1) I really wouldn’t over think the ‘what to gift’ a child part. I would go with books, puzzles, mind stimulating and age appropriate games, etc. If they are not interested in it,or if the child already has it, let them recycle the gift. Maybe the gift will lie unused forever. It could be wasted, but there is nothing I can do. I don’t think our parents ever thought so much while gifting their kids’ friends. I must have collected so many packs of crayons, sketch pens and books as gifts. So many were repeats. We just put them away for later use, or ‘regifted’ it. So why do we stress ourselves out so much now? These are things that are not in our control. Kids are supposed to find joy in the mere idea of a gift, and not so much in its content. If they don’t, that’s their problem.

    2) So much thought over occasional tattoos for kids? Are they that harmful?! My cousin who orgainsed a grand bday party for her daughter went and verified this bit. They said for kids, they only use regular washable paint. If you allow your child to finger paint and have fun (and I hope you do), then those tattoos are the same, right? How many such parties does R attend, one in 2 months on an avg? That paint is such a worrisome issue? Or are you saying my cousin was cheated and that is harmful, toxic ink that they use? She specifically got ‘child friendly tattoos’, but now you have made me doubt it all.

    3) As a child, while attending bday parties at home, we were never booed at if our team lost. But the winning team did enough of ‘Yayyyysss’. I thought the message conveyed is the same? Winners in this world are appreciated. Even as a child, I realised that, and it didin’t cause me much harm. I would hate to boo at the losing team, but I would not over think it either. Just wanted to say, that when a team ‘Yaayys’ and celebrates, it sends out a similar message to the child. And yes, you got that right – we teach them from an early age that it is bad to lose. Or let me modify that. We tell them it is preferable to win. I don’t know if you can do anything to protect your child from this message. 😦 So really, let go. Instead, do what you can to instill enough confidence in your child, so that they are secure enough to discard such messages on their own. You can’t stop the world from believing that ‘Winning is good. Losing is bad’.

    4) Did you really think these parties happen only in Mumbai? C’mon RM! I have no idea or experience of other cities, yet I can say with confidence that they happen in all big metros. Maybe the degree varies, but it is not city specific. Common sense hai yaar yeh toh 😛 Also, I have seen you commenting a lot of times on Mad Momma’s blog. She has written a million times about the troublesome birthday party culture in Delhi. You didn’t read all that? A lot of other bloggers have also mentioned it, including Kiran (who you read, though I know she’s in Bombay too.)

    And I love your idea of a birthday party. It is what most of us would prefer to do. Maybe if a lot of people start doing it, it would set a good example.

    • R's Mom says:

      1) Agreed totally to your logic! I think I will gift books…you can re-gift if you want!

      2) depends Pepper….while R’s tatoo didnt seem to be of child friendly colours to me, because I had to take it out with oil…sometimes, these tatoo colours contain aniline which is not very good for health…I am sure there are child friendly colours, but does everyone use it?? even in finger painting, one has to be careful to remove ALL traces of it, because they are not completely devoid of chemicals unless you are using vegetable/fruit based dyes (I didnt find any of the finger painting available in India which are natural dye based) again what you say is true…I am definitely over reacting to the tatoo situation….its the first time in 3 years that R has got a tatoo..and I removed it the next day itself *Rolls eyes to herself*

      3) Exactly..the winning team CAN say yayayayyaya! which is natural right? but why ASK the winning team to ‘BOOOO’ to the losing team…I dont think it doesnt have an effect…if it came out came naturally, then its okie..but when young impressionable minds are ASKED to say Boo…I am sure somewhere, it gives a feeling that losers are bad and should be insulted (again, I may be over reacting!)

      4) I do read MM’s blog..and I have read about her birthday party culture..but I didnt realise it was AT THIS SCALE OF 30 K + additional expenses!!!

  38. Raji says:

    This post does bring back memories. We were in Hyderabad until last year and experience similar things. It gets worse when you have a teenager. My daughter had friends each celebrating birthdays at exotic venues and it was like a competition between parents. The first one had at Ista , then the next one was at Westin and then the next one at Presidents. I am sure now other parents in the school are thinking how to beat that. It was funny when i went to drop my daughter at Ista, I was the only one who possibly came there without a driver and I was looking for where to park the car.
    You should see how some of these people for parent teacher’s meeting. You can see the latest style blouses and diamond jewellery on mothers as if they are in school for some sort of celebration.
    It is never too eary to explain money and affordability to kids. I was very clear with them from the beginning on this. I genuinely felt they enjoyed the birthdays at home year after year where i spend time to think of innovative ways to engage their friends.
    Now that we are back in US, the same trend continues. I had a birthday party at home. Made samosas at home along with ordering pizza. Kids had a blast. I am big fan of giving books as return gifts. It may not excite some kids, but it sure excites the parents:)
    Sorry for hogging your comment space

    • R's Mom says:

      Hey welcome here…

      are you kidding me…teenage birthday parties at such locations *Gasp*

      Now that we are back in US, the same trend continues. I had a birthday party at home. Made samosas at home along with ordering pizza. Kids had a blast. I am big fan of giving books as return gifts. It may not excite some kids, but it sure excites the parents:)
      – How sweet is this!!! you are doing great…

  39. anisnest says:

    well said RM but how can handle the peer pressure? Its only Feb now and Adi is already asking about her birthday plans that’s to be in May. Over here people usually throw party at common joints like kids play center or something.. So far we have had birthday party for Adi only at home but in past 2 weeks I have attended two parties one at a bowling spot and another at a Ice skating spot and everytime Adi is questioning me about her party. So far we have convinced her but now she is turning SEVEN. I seriously didn’t know how to handle this 😦

  40. Sangitha says:

    You just do what you think is right. We’ve done a couple at a decent hall close by, not even close to the amounts you mention and a joint one with neighbour’s kid. The first few years are when all this happens – the adults are in the picture, you see. After that, the kids take over and call some of their friends home and are quite happy to not have you interfere in any way (except providing goodies).

    I gift books, always. Esp. when I am not sure if there is a reading culture or not. The ones who don’t need it more! 😀 Yep, my bias. I am considered weird – one time we said no gifts please. And people gave. Then we said, please give us books, old and new – daughter donated to an NGO that sets up libraries, she got to keep some books too….and we donated our old ones that were well loved and read. It hurt me a lot more to give away their baby books. It was hard but we were all happy to see the video of how the children enjoy books (not specifically our books).

    One time took the kids to the Butterfly park and they took the raw mangoes they picked as return gifts. The children looked at me like I was mad. I am sure I was. 😀

    The thing is that this is just one thing that a child will see that a family may not afford or CHOOSE not to afford. Then there are games and clothes and electronics, vacations… name it. If we want our kids to resist, we should also be okay with being weird.

    The best birthdays these days are just providing the time and space for kids to spend time together, given people’s schedules and the distances. More power to your birthday party organizing skills….catering to kids’ whims even for a little bit forcefully makes you an adult, for sure! 😀

    Long comment, sorry. Should just stick to writing posts, huh?

    • R's Mom says:

      The first few years are when all this happens – the adults are in the picture, you see. After that, the kids take over and call some of their friends home and are quite happy to not have you interfere in any way (except providing goodies).

      – When will I write this ever in the blog..waiting for R to grow up :):)

      I gift books, always. Esp. when I am not sure if there is a reading culture or not. The ones who don’t need it more – I agree Sangi…I think the best part of doing this post was that I am certain next time, gifts will be books..whether you read or not 🙂

      Then we said, please give us books, old and new – daughter donated to an NGO that sets up libraries, she got to keep some books too….and we donated our old ones that were well loved and read. – What a lovely Idea…I am going to do this if anyone asks me what R wants on the birthday!!

      The best birthdays these days are just providing the time and space for kids to spend time together, given people’s schedules and the distances. – True true and very true!!

      Nah! your comments are as welcome as your posts!

  41. You are so right about those extravagant bday parties–such a waste of money! I guess it is a status symbol for the parents–maybe the kids sense this and egg them on. Anyway the bar keeps getting raised with every passing year and generates a lot of peer pressure.

    I really cringed at the idea of the winning team being made to boo the losing team. It is one thing to rejoice in winning and quite another to mock and jeer at those who lost 😦

    And the return gifts–ah, the return gifts, don’t even get me started on them. I don’t understand when and how the idea caught on. It is a recent phenomenon for sure. I mean, you give a gift to the birthday kid so they also give you a return gift–by the same logic, since they gave you a party, should you also give them a return party?How absurd! Like many commenters have said, I too have received enough of these pencil boxes and stationery items to last the entire school-life of my kids. Even parents like us who don’t agree with the concept get drawn in, because if your child receives return gifts, you also have to ‘return’ those return gifts 😉

    Whatever happened to those simple birthday parties of our childhood, RM. Such fun we had !The idea of fun has become commercialized these days.

    • R's Mom says:

      The idea of fun has become commercialized these days.

      – Thats so so said it in one sentence, for which I wrote an entire post *Rolls eyes at self*

  42. Archana says:

    Hehe..I can imagine someone so pained at this! Make R like you, simple. I had birthday parties with flat kids until I was 7 years. Mine was like what you say. Simple – some local bakery cake, cream buns from the same bakery, home made banana-diarymilk /potato mint sandwiches, some burfi sweet and may be potato chips. We played lock and key in the terrace, parents rarely came and kids went back home in cycle. Gaah, I know this cant happen today.

    On my 8th birthday, amma got me and my bro one common hundi (money bank) and put some money and said – this is what I would have spent. After this pot is full, you can break it and buy something. It went on to become full with every function ( yea, we still get money for pongal, new year, tamil new year, navarathri, raksha bandhan, diwali etc) and with every good deed – like cleaning dress shelf ( I still suck at this), getting ready on time for a week, doing table cleaning duty, throwing away hair/stuff from room/loo for a week, cycling everyday ( yea, i had to be bribed) etcc…so yea, when this money became full – we bought some books, toys, a giant colouring kit and some other stuff. Was fun 🙂

  43. Aparna says:

    R’s mom, was just nodding my head at all your points and trust me its not the case only in Mumbai but also in other metros (can’t comment on the smaller Indian cities). Don’t even get me started on return gifts brought to school an distributed to classmates, cake cut in classroom etc which is IN ADDITION to the regular party.
    This year, we completely dispensed with my son’s bday party (he turned 6 and we had a celebration at home) and had a small party at home for my daughter’s 3rd.

  44. chattywren says:

    Hello R’s Mom,
    Liked your description of the extravagant birthday party. In my current situation, I view birthday parties as a way for kids to have a good time, simply. For the parents, more like a way of meeting other parents, basically that’s it. Keeping it super simple. Posting a link to one of my few blog posts, also a birthday party 🙂

  45. Jazz says:

    These are exactly my problems with lavish birthday parties RM.. Recently my SIL had her son’s first birthday party and it was HUGE. It is all about money. And when I was talking to my MIL about how the pics look so grand, she thought I was referring we do the same and said we’ll do even better, ok ? :S I shuddered, simply because I cannot afford it, and I also don’t want my kid to think themselves to be a prince/princess.

    And I promised myself, I’m not going to waste money on stupid birthday parties for my kids. Something tells me I think too much because I don’t even have kids now. 🙂

    • R's Mom says:

      Errr…you reading my archives :):) how sweet…

      I can understand rey…your reluctance…big hugs to you 🙂 what, you can always plan for your future kids eh? 😉

  46. saloni says:

    hey R. this saloni from indian express bangalore. i am doing a story on the same topic, birthday parties becoming a status symbol. I will be gretaful if you could get in touch with me. You could mail me at Thanks

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