But maybe it's parties in general? I mean weddings are a lot bigger than they used to be too.
Do you think birthday parties are starting to get crazy? Maybe it's not happening everywhere.
A 100x over, yes!
Personally, I hate gift bags for many reasons.
I am also seeing a trend of entire families attending. Maybe only the one child is invited but mom shows up with two siblings and expects them to be fully included in the festivities.
So far, we have only done small parties and I hope to keep it that way.
I am not opposed to entire families attending if the party is planned as a family event, we enjoy that ourselves and always attend when invited. My son's party have been family parties.
I am talking about issuing an invitation to one child and mom can't/won't tell the younger kids it is a bigger kid party and expect all of the siblings to be included. There are some activities for 7yo-8yos like bouncy houses, trampolines, etc. where two and three year olds getting involved significantly alters the birthday kid's activities. If there is a close relationship with the entire family, that is one thing but if the young sibs don't know the birthday boy/girl, the littles shouldn't be forced upon the host/birthday kid.
I don't worry about what other people are doing, and never thought about what I did either until I read threads like this. :)
We have rented a bouncy house place, and I have put together nice goody bags before with the help of the kids. It was something WE enjoyed doing (I love throwing parties and 2 out of my 3 kids have inherited that gene). I sure hope that nobody stewed over it resentfully! Neither my kids nor I have ever really cared about receiving goody bags or anything like that at parties they go to, they've had fun at big ones and been happy just hanging out with their friend. (and the parties they've had have run the gamut too).
I haven't noticed that parties are more crazy/expensive than the ones I went to as a child. There are more paying options now (I remember going to the roller rink/theater/community center as a kid, which I am sure was the equivalent of the $250ish you'd spend at a bouncy house place or whatever these days), but actual expense? Eh. Weddings seem to be getting smaller to me, but I grew up southern where your parents invite their whole roladex plus every single church member to your wedding, so I probably just have warped sensibilities.
I don't think most people invest a lot of energy worrying about what others did at their birthday party do they? I mean, the kids will be happy with whatever. If the parents are not, hopefully they're capable of putting a sock in it.