Originally Posted by beru
Maybe you misunderstand. I am not cancelling all celebration. I am just not having a "standard" party. This is the type of party that has only become "standard" in recent years. The type of party where there has to be a theme, there are planned activities and the kids get grab bags, etc. or there is a destination and we pay for a party space at a gym or the children's museum or whatnot. When I was young, we had parties with no theme and the kids came over to play unstructured. That's it, and we had cake. .
Maybe you are creating these expectations in your head... My son has been invited to lots of themed parties, parties at expensive places, etc. We have never, and never will, do that. We just had a BBQ with his friends and their families. People came over, the kids played in the backyard (water play, bubbles, swingset, and just in the woods), parents hung out and bbqed, had lunch, etc. People did bring presents, but nothing big or expensive. Everyone had a great time. I had gotten bubbles (50 cents each bottle, btw) for a party favor, but completely forgot to give them out and no one was offended (at least as far as I can tell) about no favors...
When I go to the big, themed, expensive parties, the kids have fun, but not more fun than at our bbq (although I have to admit, a bbq isn't cheap, it is what we like to do), I don't think. And when I go, I buy a present, but I don't spend anymore than what I can afford to spend (which is usually $10ish). Maybe the people who are having those parties would love to have a simple party, but don't have the house to entertain in (my sister, for example, has the money for a party like that, but since she works alot, her house is usually too messy and she doesn't have the time to get things ready to host a party there... she doesn't judge others for not doing one like that, it is just what she is comfortable hosting). People have those parties for all types of reasons besides wanting to keep up with the Joneses...
I am sure your son and his friends would love to have the type of party you want to have... Maybe you should try it, and who knows... others may follow suit.