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  #1  
Old 02-20-2013, 11:01 PM
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Default Need Advice On Party Etiquette

Sorry for this being so long.......

My ds will be turning 3 in a couple of weeks and I really want to have a party for him. The problem is, since I am now at home with him and not in DC he doesn't have any friends his own age that I can invite. I was thinking of having just a play date type of a party and inviting a few friends of my 5yr old to go bowling with us. All the kids' parents know my 3yr old and he knows all of the kids from picking my 5yr old up at school and also from other birthdays that he has attended with his big brother.

I have mentioned to the parents wanting to have a play date "party" just to be able to celebrate with other children but I also told them that I did not want them to have to bring birthday gifts for my son as the party will be after his actual birthday and because I just don't feel right having them buy gifts for him as their kids are not really friends with my little guy. They said they liked the idea of getting the kids together. I originally told them I hadn't figured out what I wanted to do yet but that it might be at my house.

Now here's my problem.... Normally if it is just a play date and you are meeting a friend for roller skating or the movies or whatever, everyone pays their own share. Bowling is the only thing I can think of that all the kids can do together where I can still bring my own cake, have a "party" and get a bunch of kids together to do something fun... without having to book an expensive party at some place like Chuck E. Cheese. Is there a tactful way to let parents know that I want them to pay for their own kids' bowling? (no way can I pay $16 a person for 2 hours!)

I really would like to have the party at my house but I feel like my little one would be left out of all the playing. I'm afraid all the "big kids" would stick together.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:02 AM
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I went to one party for these two boys I used to baby sit and the mom asked instead of bringing gifts everyone bring $5 for a bounce house. I brought the $5 and also got them a little gift too {bubble toys}, and I brought cupcakes as well. She just did it in her back yard had some food, the bounce house, and a woman who did face painting.

You can also try to go to a local park (free play equipment) and just have a cake from home (IDK if you would need a permit). My cousin did her son's 1st and 3rd birthday as 'jumping around' (IDK how much it costs) and you rent out a space and get it for a few hours and I think they also make pizza for you too (i'm not sure if that was extra or what). His 2nd birthday was at a bowling alley but his mom and his aunt (her sister) both worked there- But I think they liked jumping around better.
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:01 AM
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I think if you choose the activity the implication is that you are paying for it when you invite your guests.

If you are having a no gifts playdate (and not booking the party room etc.) then you could phone people and say that you were thinking of booking bowling for 2 hours, it costs 16$ a person and did they think they would like to participate. I think the moment you make it seem like a celebration for your child you are pretty well footing the bill.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:10 AM
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I agree with pp. I think if it is a party or an activity you are planning for your kids then the expectation is you pay. Asking the other parents to pay in lieu of a gift is basically dictating that they spend $16 on bowling to be company for your kids instead of $amount of their choosing on a gift of their choice. And if it's a party for a kid most parents will still get a gift even though you said no gift. Calling it a playdate party makes people feel more obligated to attend than just a playdate as the party suggests it is for a specific reason as a specific time.

I don't mean to sound rude, just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canadiancare View Post
I think if you choose the activity the implication is that you are paying for it when you invite your guests.

If you are having a no gifts playdate (and not booking the party room etc.) then you could phone people and say that you were thinking of booking bowling for 2 hours, it costs 16$ a person and did they think they would like to participate. I think the moment you make it seem like a celebration for your child you are pretty well footing the bill.
I agree. Is it something you could have at your house? Maybe set up some fun games for the kids - a relay race, bean bag toss, pinata? If you're set on bowling, maybe look on groupon or livingsocial - things like that always seem to have bowling discounts (at least for in my area).
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:17 AM
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I was just thinking back. We didn't have kid parties for our children until they were in school. At 3 my kids would have been happy with a fun family activity. You could still go bowling but do it as a family and then go to dinner somewhere or out for ice cream etc. Make the day special without involving extra children. I think the age difference between 5 year olds and a 3 year old may mean he is excluded even if it is an organised group activity.
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  #7  
Old 02-21-2013, 06:30 AM
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maybe its just me, but at that age why would you want to have a party for him with kids he really doesn't play with. Do a family party and when he goes to school then have a real party. Take him somewhere special and make a great day with him.

I would never ask parents to chip in in lieu of gifts. Its kinda of tacky. I hate when people say "its a birthday party but don't buy gifts" really because children LOVE presents and I love seeing their happy faces when they open up gifts.
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Old 02-21-2013, 06:53 AM
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I don't think you can ask the parents to pay the way if it's a B-day party you are organizing. I also don't think inviting older kids to the party so he has kids to play with is really the way to go. I grew up with very simple birthday parties and I loved everyone of them! My immediate family only, present, cake & ice cream. Take your own family to one of his favorite activities (bowling, jump it, movie, etc) and he will love having his own special day!

To be honest, as a parent with a young DS and older sibling, I have enough going on with the older DD (bday parties, gifts to buy, sleepovers, etc)and I wouldn't be thrilled at doing yet another party for a younger sibling KWIM? They WILL probably bring gifts regardless of you telling them not to...
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  #9  
Old 02-21-2013, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by countrymom View Post
maybe its just me, but at that age why would you want to have a party for him with kids he really doesn't play with. Do a family party and when he goes to school then have a real party. Take him somewhere special and make a great day with him.

I would never ask parents to chip in in lieu of gifts. Its kinda of tacky. I hate when people say "its a birthday party but don't buy gifts" really because children LOVE presents and I love seeing their happy faces when they open up gifts.
I agree with Countrymom. My ds has only had a first and a fourth bday party. Both of which were just backyard bbq's with family. He shared his fourth with his brother's first bday party! He didn't know he didn't have one for age 2 or 3. We just had a cake with our parents for those ages. If you don't have the money, why not just make cupcakes and have a "party" with the dck's? He would have so much fun and really won't know he is missing out on presents. I would nix the whole bowling party idea because I also think people will assume you are paying.
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  #10  
Old 02-21-2013, 09:00 AM
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I do agree with those of you that say to have it at the house but I was really hoping to have some other children there without him getting left out of the activities. If it was just family then it would only be me, my dh, and the two boys. We really don't have any family members to invite. I really appreciate all your input. I guess in my mind I didn't really plan on having a "party" per se, just a fun outing with cake, so I wasn't looking for them to pay for his party. As far as the gifts, I get what you're saying about people bringing them anyway. My son's best friend's mom already said she got him something, but then again we are much closer to her than anyone else and she knew his birthday was coming up.

My ds has been cooped up in this house with only me for far too long and I was just hoping to get him out with some other kids for a change. The age difference wasn't really a huge issue. He's a little toughie and plays just like the big kids. I just worried the older ones might gravitate more to my older ds (even though most of them do treat 3yo like their little brother.)

I'm not even sure why I'm stressing about his birthday in the first place. My dh and I just had a conversation the other day saying, "When did kids start having all these birthday parties? When I was a kid all we had was...." Maybe that's what it was... Since my ds started school, he has gone to a party at minimum once a month. This month he has had 5 to go to and another 2 next month....

Thank you ladies for waking me up. I never intended to appear rude. I think I might have gotten caught up in trying to give my son the same thing that "all the other kids" were having...
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  #11  
Old 02-21-2013, 10:47 AM
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When our children were little we told them they could go to 3 friends' parties each per year. (that still ends up being around 60$ per child and I have 3 kids so 180$ a year in gifts) any other parties they wanted to go to after that had to come from their spending money.

Parties are getting bigger and bigger with lootbags costing so much as each parent tries not to fill a bag with junk.

As I said above a 3 year old will be happy with a special family event. Tell him when he starts school he'll have a friend party and that will be yet another thing for him to look forward to.

The younger sibling doesn't always need to get what the older one does. They'll have their chance as they grow up.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by canadiancare View Post
When our children were little we told them they could go to 3 friends' parties each per year. (that still ends up being around 60$ per child and I have 3 kids so 180$ a year in gifts) any other parties they wanted to go to after that had to come from their spending money.

Parties are getting bigger and bigger with lootbags costing so much as each parent tries not to fill a bag with junk.

I said above a 3 year old will be happy with a special family event. Tell him when he starts school he'll have a friend party and that will be yet another thing for him to look forward to.

The younger sibling doesn't always need to get what the older one does. They'll have their chance as they grow up.
I think that is a great idea! (Why didn't I think of that??? lol) I am going to have to implement that rule for sure. We just got another invite in the mail today... sheesh! I've definitely been spending more money on gifts for his friends than I have for my own two and it's getting a bit out of control. I've noticed that all the parties have been getting bigger, too. One kid had a bounce house the size of the ones you see at amusement parks and fairs! I do miss the "old fashioned" parties where kids just dropped clothespins in a bottle and played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. I agree that loot bags are such a waste of money and no matter what they cost they are still junk that will probably be thrown out by the time they get home.

I have already talked to my lo and asked him what HE wanted for his birthday party without any input from me and he replied with, "CAKE!" I guess he's good with just a simple party. Shoulda known....


On a side note.... When did birthday parties stop having the recipient open gifts at the party?? That was one of the strangest things I noticed when going to all these parties. Nobody opens their gifts anymore. They just get bagged up and taken home with rarely a thank you note sent out.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:41 AM
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I think that is a great idea! (Why didn't I think of that??? lol) I am going to have to implement that rule for sure. We just got another invite in the mail today... sheesh! I've definitely been spending more money on gifts for his friends than I have for my own two and it's getting a bit out of control. I've noticed that all the parties have been getting bigger, too. One kid had a bounce house the size of the ones you see at amusement parks and fairs! I do miss the "old fashioned" parties where kids just dropped clothespins in a bottle and played pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. I agree that loot bags are such a waste of money and no matter what they cost they are still junk that will probably be thrown out by the time they get home.

I have already talked to my lo and asked him what HE wanted for his birthday party without any input from me and he replied with, "CAKE!" I guess he's good with just a simple party. Shoulda known....


On a side note.... When did birthday parties stop having the recipient open gifts at the party?? That was one of the strangest things I noticed when going to all these parties. Nobody opens their gifts anymore. They just get bagged up and taken home with rarely a thank you note sent out.
I have never noticed this but I would imagine that if it is an offsite party they probably don't want to waste 30 minutes opening presents when the kids would rather be playing.

Home parties build gift opening into the schedule but that isn't always possible when you have a space for a set time.

My oldest is 21 now and my youngest will be 16 in August they both were the kids who got "ripped off" in the party department because the oldest is the 20th of December so most people had plans around his party time and my daughter is the long weekend in August so people were always away.
Middle son had good luck with a mid-winter birthday so he often had good attendance while the other 2 ended up with few kids.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:56 AM
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I am deep in the throws of birthday party world right now. My oldest is in kindergarten, and only has 15 kids in his class. Every kid is invited to every party...and if you don't go, it is sort of frowned upon. it is expensive, time comsuming, and a little bit much. One week, we had three parties - on SCHOOL NIGHTS! It is cheaper to have them at a place outside of the home on weekdays. It was crazy!

I have noticed that most parties, the kids open the gifts after the event is over. I personally prefer it, as I always find opening gifts to be a frantic, stressful part of the party. And it is usually pretty boring to watch.

I have a friend who allows her children to have as many friends to the party as they are old. When they turn five, pick five friends. Six, six friends, and so on...I think it works out well.

I have held parties in the past for my kindergartener where, instead of gifts, every child brings a donation to a local food bank or animal shelter. I then have my child go with me to drop them off. I think our society has taught our children that the more they have, the better it is. I try to emphasize with my kids that we are lucky, but that others really aren't as fortunate. It works!

OP, you will have plenty of years when your baby will want to have parties with their friends. Enjoy the simple time when all he wants is cake and his family ~ it goes so fast!!!!
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:08 PM
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I have never noticed this but I would imagine that if it is an offsite party they probably don't want to waste 30 minutes opening presents when the kids would rather be playing.

Home parties build gift opening into the schedule but that isn't always possible when you have a space for a set time.

My oldest is 21 now and my youngest will be 16 in August they both were the kids who got "ripped off" in the party department because the oldest is the 20th of December so most people had plans around his party time and my daughter is the long weekend in August so people were always away.
Middle son had good luck with a mid-winter birthday so he often had good attendance while the other 2 ended up with few kids.
Yeah that stinks. I don't remember my younger brother ever having a party growing up because his birthday is in August. Everyone was always on vacation. I always felt so bad for him. My 5yr old kind of got ripped off this year, too, because his birthday is Sept 11th and he didn't know anyone yet from school. We held off for a few weeks until he could remember some of his friends' names. It was a small party but it was still warm and they just played outside. His was the only party so far that had gifts opened during the party. It definitely was very hectic and I almost prefer the other parties that bag them and take them but I can't understand why parents wouldn't send out a thank you card. I have always insisted that they send one even before they could write so they got used to it. A little thank you from me and a scribble from them, but at least my kids know what is expected of them. I figure it's never to early to teach them good manners.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bunnyslippers View Post
I am deep in the throws of birthday party world right now. My oldest is in kindergarten, and only has 15 kids in his class. Every kid is invited to every party...and if you don't go, it is sort of frowned upon. it is expensive, time comsuming, and a little bit much. One week, we had three parties - on SCHOOL NIGHTS! It is cheaper to have them at a place outside of the home on weekdays. It was crazy!

I have noticed that most parties, the kids open the gifts after the event is over. I personally prefer it, as I always find opening gifts to be a frantic, stressful part of the party. And it is usually pretty boring to watch.

I have a friend who allows her children to have as many friends to the party as they are old. When they turn five, pick five friends. Six, six friends, and so on...I think it works out well.

I have held parties in the past for my kindergartener where, instead of gifts, every child brings a donation to a local food bank or animal shelter. I then have my child go with me to drop them off. I think our society has taught our children that the more they have, the better it is. I try to emphasize with my kids that we are lucky, but that others really aren't as fortunate. It works!

OP, you will have plenty of years when your baby will want to have parties with their friends. Enjoy the simple time when all he wants is cake and his family ~ it goes so fast!!!!
Ugh. My son's school has "open" classrooms where both kindergarten classes get mixed for different subjects. This makes his "class" a whopping 41 students. Thankfully he has not been invited to every party this year, as a few of the girls didn't invite him, but it seems like a lot of the boys have very close birthdays this time of year. Luckily we are not obligated to invite every kid unless the invitations are sent into school so next year I will be taking names from the kindergarten friendship list that was sent out this year and have him pick a select few to invite.

I agree that kids seem to be conditioned to think that more is better. I was shocked to find out that these kids already had all of the gaming systems before they even started school. I hadn't planned on video games until he was MUCH older but I caved because I wanted him to be able to fit in with his friends. I do like the idea of donating to charities instead of getting more gifts. We have done that with their older toys and have given them to Goodwill but I never thought of having that in lieu of gifts. I might give that a whirl this year.

And the number of friends per years of age remind me of the number of "spankings" they should receive. Lol. That also sounds like a good rule of thumb to follow.

Glad I started this thread. I am getting lots of great ideas for future parties. The biggest one has probably been this ----> Keep It Simple, Stupid!
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2013, 10:39 PM
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If you are throwing a party it obviously means that you are the one who will pay every expenses. if you make a call and ask every parents that they have to pay for your kid's birthday party,then i don't think that they would be ready to send their kids for this party.
I will suggest you to have small party at home with simple theme.
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