The Birthday Party

CakeBalls

Earlier this week, I celebrated my birthday with a small gathering of good friends at a favorite sushi restaurant. With a few notable exceptions, my birthdays have been mostly low-key, probably a result of the sweet and simple parties of my childhood. The theme was always “Birthday,” the entertainment was a game of “hot potato” or “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey,” and my guests went home with naught but tummies full of cake and ice cream. Goodie bags? Coordinated party décor featuring my favorite Disney character? Traveling exotic animal petting zoos? As if.

Not that birthdays weren’t a big deal back then, they just weren’t anything near the BIG DEAL kids have come to expect these days.

My own daughters’ parties have been slightly more elaborate than my childhood celebrations, but none of them — not even the monkey-themed one where we rented an inflated chimp bouncy thing and I baked a monkey-in-a-coconut-tree cake — would be considered extravagant by today’s standards.  Especially in this era of Gatsby worship and “reality” tv shows like “My Super Sweet 16″ and the now-defunct “Outrageous Kid Parties.”

It leaves me wondering what’s to become of these kids as they grow up. How do you top a $60,ooo party when you’re four? With a $120,000* party when you’re eight? (*not adjusted for inflation)

One thing’s for sure: if this trend continues, I may just encourage my daughters to pursue careers as party planners.

Or psychotherapists.

.

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

You’re invited! You’re invited!
And we would all be
so delighted
If you’d accept this invitation
to Hannah’s PRINCESS celebration!
Next Saturday from noon till eight,
it’s Party Time, so Save The Date!

There’ll be inflated Bouncy Castles
with satin drapes and silver tassels.
Minstrels and Magicians, too,
and a Medieval Petting Zoo!
Don’t miss the Knight upon his Horse
with flowing mane (all white, of course!);
plus you can ride a Unicorn
complete with sparkly rainbow horn!

We’ll also have a Tumbling Group,
Face Painters and a Ballet Troupe,
a Clown who twists and shapes balloons,
a Dee-Jay spinning Top Ten Tunes!
And over on the second stage?
That Boy Band that’s just all the rage!

And next, but certainly not least,
comes the Royal Birthday Feast:
hot dogs, burgers, shish kebab,
curly fries, corn on the cob,
canapés and caviar,
tapas and a sushi bar,
shrimp and oysters, shucked and chilled –
enough for guests to get their fill.
We also had the bakery make
a seven-layered castle cake,
and hired the gourmet ice cream mart
to bring their new gelato cart.

Each guest will get a Goodie Bag
that’s stuffed with precious birthday swag:
candy, toys, a princess crown,
a Princess Barbie, princess gown,
jewelry, make-up, DVDs,
an iTouch filled with mp3s.

Enclosed you’ll find all information
needed for our celebration:

  • maps
  • directions
  • wristbands (two)
  • a schedule of events for you
  • the website for RSVPs (Just e-mail us; no phone calls, please.)

And so that parking won’t be trouble,
attached are tickets for the Shuttle.

And please: no gifts.
(But if you must, she’s registered at Toys’R’Us.)

You’re invited! You’re invited!
And we would all be
so delighted
If you’d accept this invitation
to Hannah’s PRINCESS celebration!

.

©2013 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

 

Screen shot 2013-06-13 at 5.07.19 PM

Piñata Good Idea? [a re-post]

[note: I’m reposting this as a public service to all the people who may partake of piñata pummeling on Cinco de Mayo.]

.

I didn’t have piñatas at my birthday parties as a child growing up in Michigan.

It wasn’t until I gave birth to two native Texans that I caught wind of this potentitally treacherous trend. I actually purchased a few of these perilous paper-mâché repositories for my daughters’ birthdays over the years, unwitting parent that I was – back then.

But now I know better.

According to this web site, “every 47 minutes there is another incident of piñata-related violence.” Even respected writer Dave Barry has spoken out against the pitfalls of piñatas. It’s only a matter of time before they make it onto the ever-vigilant Stephen Colbert’s Threatdown list.

Consider yourself warned.

.

Piñata Good Idea?

Party planners say ya gotta
have a big and bright piñata

stuffed with sweets and treats and toys
for the giddy girls and boys

who are eager to get swinging,
sending gobs of goodies flinging!

But letting kids go whacking wildly
seems unwise (to put it mildly).

Could there even be a faster
way to guarantee disaster

than to make a weapon handy
to kids clamoring for candy?

©2010 Carlotta Stankiewicz

The Birthday Party

To date, I’ve thrown 22 birthday parties for my daughters.

None of them — not even the monkey-themed one where we rented an inflated chimp bouncy thing and I baked a monkey-in-a-coconut-tree cake — would be considered remotely extravagant.  Especially in this era of “reality” tv shows like “My Super Sweet 16″ and “Platinum Babies.”

Still, my kids’ parties have been a far cry from the simple gatherings of my childhood, where we played “hot potato” or “pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey” and went home with nothing but a tummy full of cake and ice cream. Goodie bags? Huh?

Until recently, conspicuous celebration seemed to be the rule rather than the exception, and not just for celebrity parents. With the bad economy, though, some moms and dads are scaling back.

Then again, some aren’t.

My daughters have never been to one of these over-the-top parties, so I haven’t had to deal with whatever questions or issues attending such an event might raise. But if they were invited to, say, a  Girls’ Spa Day Party, I think I’d have to put my foot down…and go with them.

I really need a pedicure.

.

The Birthday Party

You’re invited! You’re invited!
And we would all be
so delighted
If you’d accept this invitation
to Hannah’s PRINCESS celebration!
Next Saturday from noon till eight,
it’s Party Time, so Save The Date!

There’ll be inflated Bouncy Castles
with satin drapes and silver tassels.
Minstrels and Magicians, too,
and a Medieval Petting Zoo!
Don’t miss the Knight upon his Horse
with flowing mane (all white, of course!);
plus you can ride a Unicorn
complete with sparkly rainbow horn!

We’ll also have a Tumbling Group,
Face Painters and a Ballet Troupe,
a Clown who twists and shapes balloons,
a Dee-Jay spinning Top Ten Tunes!
And over on the second stage?
That Boy Band that’s just all the rage!

And next, but certainly not least,
comes the Royal Birthday Feast:
hot dogs, burgers, shish kebab,
curly fries, corn on the cob,
canapés and caviar,
tapas and a sushi bar,
shrimp and oysters, shucked and chilled –
enough for guests to get their fill.
We also had the bakery make
a seven-layered castle cake,
and hired the gourmet ice cream mart
to bring their new gelato cart.

Each guest will get a Goodie Bag
that’s stuffed with precious birthday swag:
candy, toys, a princess crown,
a Princess Barbie, princess gown,
jewelry, make-up, DVDs,
an iPod and some new CDs.

Enclosed you’ll find all information
needed for our celebration:
•maps
•directions
•wristbands (two)
•a schedule of events for you
•the website for RSVPs (Just e-mail us; no phone calls, please.)
And so that parking won’t be trouble,
attached are tickets for the Shuttle.

And please: no gifts.
(But if you must, she’s registered at Toys’R’Us.)

You’re invited! You’re invited!
And we would all be
so delighted
If you’d accept this invitation
to Hannah’s PRINCESS celebration!

©2009 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz