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There seems to be a trend emerging, and that is pushy parents, who always seem to try to outdo each other getting their little cherubs friends parents to pay for their birthday party.

Back in the 90’s when I was a child, birthday parties were held at the birthday boy/girls house and the most exciting part of it was playing pass the parcel, party bags with bits of plastic tat were given out and a small finger buffet laid on. The grand cost? Probably no more than £100, and even that was extravagant.

These days it seems that unless you have a venue, a pop up circus, at least 2 people in character from whatever fad is in and designer party bags, it’s deemed a failure.

A woman this week asked all of the parents to pay £6 per child attending so they could have a party at a kids soft play centre. Allegedly, 60 invitations were sent out. That is a minimum of £360 this woman was asking for, not to mention she would also have expected presents for both of her children, which we’ll call £5 each. That’s £960, and as most parents have 2 or more children, that’s an expense that most can really do without.

I understand that most people do want the best for their children, and want them to be happy, but seriously, the best things in life are free, and if you can’t afford to give them the Oscars of Birthday Parties, don’t expect everyone else to bank roll it.

The idea of holding a party is that you are the one to go to the expense. Yes, BYOB at a house party or dinner party is acceptable, booze isn’t cheap, but you would be expected to at least lay something on yourself, even if it is only a buffet, or load of cans of beer.

In Spain, during the summer it is commonplace to hold pool parties, the host lays on some of the party essentials (and the use of the pool), but everyone else is expected to bring a little something, a plate of sandwiches, nibbles, drinks etc. That is acceptable, as it’s not costing the earth. But for a parent of 2 kids, £12+£10=£22, which could literally be the last of the cash in their bank account.

We are living in hard times, and we’ve all have to tighten our belts, but going to such extravagance for a child’s birthday party and expecting the other parents to pay just screams cheap skate out to me.

There is a saying ‘Do not live beyond your means’, and this woman should take heed of that advice because she is also setting a bad example to her children. Essentially crowd funding is used to get something for nothing. If I was asked to fork out to attend someone’s dinner party, I’d be mortified! If you can’t afford to do something, find an alternative.

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Sara O'Connell
A passionate photographer from Arizona, Sara enjoys art and culture.