should you splurge on kids' parties? A debate
Gone are the days where a game of pass the parcel was enough. Now parents are splashing out on extravagant celebrations
Christina Savvouri, 40, is a photographer. She lives with her seven- year- old daughter, Isabella. Discovering I was pregnant at 34 was a complete shock, but also a wonderful surprise. I had cancer when I was four years old and had chemotherapy on and off for years. Doctors warned it could affect my fertility, so I’d grown up thinking I’d never be a mom. When Isabella was born in 2012, it felt like something to celebrate. Over the years I’d watched as my friends settled down and had lavish weddings. I’d not had a big day, so I decided that Isabella’s christening would be our chance to shine. I hired a venue and caterers for 200 people, and bought Isabella and I pink dresses. It cost a fortune but was worth every cent.
I wanted to make a big fuss over Isabella’s first birthday so
I put money aside each month from my job as a photographer.
I invited 60 adults, plus their kids, and designed invitations. I filled my house with helium balloons, banners and photos of Isabella, and had party bags made. It felt so good making my daughter happy and creating wonderful memories for her. I knew Isabella wouldn’t remember it all, but she’d have photos to look back on.
As a single mom, covering the cost wasn’t easy, but by her second birthday I’d saved enough for another do – a Minnie Mouse themed party. I hired a magician, jumping castle, photographer and caterers. Every year since then, Isabella has had an extravagant bash. For her sixth birthday, I hired a ‘ Party Parlour’ for 50 guests, which had a chocolate fountain, and this year I’m planning two dos – one for the kids during the day and one with a DJ for the adults later on.
Isabella now expects a big birthday party every year, but she doesn’t take it for granted. It’s always on the condition that she behaves herself and does well at school. Some people say that I spoil my daughter and I know I do, but you can’t put a price on memories that will last a lifetime.
Claire Sebastião, 34, is a digital editor and lives with her husband, Nic, and daughter, Lily, six.
I've attended more than my fair share of kids’ parties and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s that children will have fun no matter how much effort you go to (and the best parties have wine).
I've seen people spend crazy amounts of money on birthdays. Once, we attended a fourth birthday party where the parents hired an actual throne for their little darling to sit on while her subjects/friends got to watch her open presents. At another, the party packs were filled with Lindt bears ( you better believe I gave Lily the inferior treats and ate the Lindt loot without sharing!)
By contrast, Lily’s first few birthday parties have been low-key affairs – but they were all marked by the true sign of a successful kid’s party: crying children when parents want to leave. As long as there’s enough food, a cake and space to run around, kids will have the time of their lives. Our house is pretty small, so we usually have her party at a nearby park, which means there’s zero venue fee ( but it does make things a bit dicey, weather wise). I make a cake, outsource sandwich making to my parents, and Lily and my mother-in-law dream up the decorations.
Twice I've spent more than I wanted to on party novelties, and both times I regretted it. The first was when I bought a giant heliumfilled foil T-Rex balloon for Lily’s fourth birthday – the balloon floated off her wrist before the party even began and almost ruined her day.
Every time someone gave her a present, she said, ' Thank you, my balloon is gone,' and started weeping.
Two years later, she still brings it up.
During the second spending incident, I organised pony rides. But all the kids were having so much fun doing whatever it was they were doing, that no one actually went for a ride!
Lily still has memories that will last a lifetime, but luckily they didn’t cost us that much to make.
'You can't put a price on memories that last a lifetime' 'The best kids' parties have lots of wine for the parents'