Saturday, 7 May 2011

Party Talk

I picked this book up today at our local second hand book sale.  Children's books are only 10p each, and I ended up coming home with 11 in total!  Flicking through this book today has made me nostalgic for the 70's house parties my mum would host for me and my sisters when we were little girls, We would dress up in our floor length party frocks and play games such as the non-politically correct 'pass-the-parcel' (you know what I mean, it bugs me now when i go to a party and the music is staged so that each child gets a 'go' plus a sweetie) and eat hot dogs and pickled onions on cocktail sticks with jelly and ice-cream for pudding (from a rabbit mould that would never set!) .
Some of the games in this book are great, bringing back lots of memories
I'm sure we used a Mars Bar for this game...
Still a family favourite in this house...
Our youngest is obsessed with this game, never quite as good with only 4 people!
Whilst I'm talking about parties and the likes, Birthday season is well and truly upon us right now, with one or both of my children coming home with a party invite on a weekly basis right now.  I have a question - how do you feel about buying gifts for countless parties? (including joint ones, class kids you don't know etc..) and how much is reasonable to spend?  Generally speaking for a typical class party I try not to buy toys, sticking to books or sports equipment etc.. if there is an offer on I tend to buy a couple and put away and try and stock up a 'present drawer' with immaculate 2nd hand books etc..  I like to think of this as smart buying and am proud of my frugleness. It kind of disgusts me when I see parents fill bin-bags with presents of 20 plus gifts for one individual child - we live in an affluent area where parents feel pressure to spend a certain amount on a gift, whether they can afford it or not - an example - yesterday I was standing in the playground waiting for my boys to finish school - a parent approached me and asked if I had sorted out a present for a particular party this Sunday(a joint one) apparently a group of the mothers had decided to club money together and buy said child vouchers - "£20 would be fine, thank you very much" ...Now, I was kind of caught on the hop, I had been working all week and this was the first I had heard of this arrangement.  The mother, seeing my flustered face, back-tracked saying I probably had something else organised, she had been told that 'I like to do my own thing'.!(ok, so I obviously have a reputation!)  I was polite and declined her offer, because personally I think £20 is an obscene amount to be spending - that's £160 per child !!
What do you think?  Am I being mean? Personally speaking I cannot afford to be forking out £10 for every party my child gets invited to - Am I the only person who thinks parents should politely ask guests not to bring gifts, just themselves? or a donation for a charitable cause?

Rant over......


  1. What a gorgeous book. It does look vaguely familiar. You have a lovely blog. x

  2. Oooh Elaine, what a touchy subject that one is!
    I too despair about the WHOLE birthday thing - from the gift, to the party bag, to the trip! My three are annoyingly popular (!) and it does cost a fortune (you're not mean - we once did a group thing and collected £5 per person, which gave the child enough to buy a good size pressie and cost us all less than usual). £20 = way too much in my view.

    One party the party goers came back with an action the party bag...WHAT???!!! (I went on about if for weeks - obscene)

    I get frustrated with the expectations all round (as you can see!) but struggle between being sensible and towing the line. It's not about the money - it's the principle.
    I genuinely think my boys want for nothing - but they, of course, would disagree!
    rant over...til next time!
    ps gorgeous books!

  3. £20 is way too much. The amount I spend depends on who the party is for, but maybe I can get away with spending less because my children are younger. Typically around £5, I reckon. For my daughter this year we had a party at home and kept the numbers down. We did traditional party games, but do you know what the favourite activity was? Colouring in pictures (Disney ones mostly) that I'd printed off the internet. Who needs soft play centres?

  4. Hello, I just read your post and felt so relieved that I am not the only one who thinks this.
    We have had to try to limit the amount of parties that our daughter goes to because of the cost.
    £20 is far too much, in my opinion. I try to spend around a fiver.
    Thank you for sharing your rant.

  5. Oh wwo Elaine- I love the book. I remember doing the game where you have to eat the choclate with a knife and folk, a complete classic. Greta find. p.s did you see the award I gave you ? xxx

  6. In the rest of the UK there is a recession and record unemployment. The £20 party people need a big reality check (politest thing I could think to say)

  7. well done Jill, very restrained!