Kids party hell

This morning, this press release dropped into my inbox:

In a new consumer report looking at spend on children’s birthdays it has been revealed that across the nation mothers are spending up to £808 million solely on the traditional party bag gesture. 

Mothers spend as much as £5 on each bag and children invite, on average, 21 friends. This equates to a sizeable spend of £105 per party – just to keep their place in the league of best party hosts, as rated by parents in the playground.

It’s no secret that parents feel a level of competitiveness to surpass each other when it comes to who does it best, and this research shows that the party bag is playing a big part in the competition. But, so big is the trend to make birthdays an occasion to remember that generous mothers are also spending as much as £355 on gifts, cakes, party entertainment and a family day out.

The study, carried out with 2,000 mothers to mark the launch of a new campaign by charity World Bicycle Relief UK, verified this trend as almost half (43%) of mothers admit they feel social pressure to spend a lot of money on their child’s birthday but it didn’t necessarily increase the enjoyment of the occasion for the child.   

Arghhhhhhhhh…. What am I going to do?! We’ve been to a thousand kids parties in the last few months (possibly an exaggeration but that is how it feels…) All but one has been in a hired venue, with an entertainer, little lunchboxes, party bags… And this year, Johnny has wised up. He knows what a birthday party is ‘supposed’ to look like.  And it’s ‘supposed’ to look… expensive. We are already getting requests. “Will there be an Octonaut’s cake like at X’s party?” “Will our clown have a creepy face like Y’s did?” “Can we have a tattoo tent and football and soft play and magnums of Moet and caviar on a bed of gold dusted with diamonds?”

What will we do?! We can’t do it outside, because it will be December. Can we have it in the house? Or will twenty four year olds trash the place irreversibly? Is it one of those situations where it would be so hideously painful to organise, run and then tidy it ourselves that it is just insanity NOT to shell out on a venue? HELP?!

P.S Please don’t tell me to do something brilliant like craft my own soft play out of recycling. As you know, my ingenuity and patience are EXTREMELY limited…!