whats your first thought in this birthday party situation - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: The entire class is invited, I first think...
great, inclusive of everyone 178 95.70%
present grab 8 4.30%
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#31 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 12:58 AM
 
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I've always done this. I just don't want anyone to feel left out. Definitely not about the presents.
We do the same thing when we do parties. Usually only about half of the kids invited show up.
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#32 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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I vote inclusive
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#33 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 03:53 AM
 
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Yes, inclusive. I think for 90% of parents, the fear factor of hosting that many people/kids definitely outweighs the delights (?) of any gifts they might bring to the birthday kid.

Whether invitations are distributed at school or not, our DD's school requests that it be everyone or no one -- not to invite a small group of kids from the class.

DD just had her first party under this rule, and we invited her whole class (24 kids) plus kids she knew from before starting this school. To facilitate this & not make it prohibitively expensive, we had it in a park & grilled hotdogs. We said there was no need to bring presents.

The whole phenomenon of mass parties, though, has made me re-think our response when we are invited to parties of other kids. I think it may indeed be kinder to say "no -- we have other plans" when the birthday kid is not a particularly close friend of your own child. That way we are not imposing a 40 person event on each set of parents -- they invite, honoring the rule of inclusion, but we perhaps should only accept with closer friends in order to give one another a break. Obviously, people should always RSVP.

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#34 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 06:20 AM
 
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We've never invited everyone from a class, but I understand the POV and appreciate where those parents are coming from.

We have invited a dozen kids though and only a few of them could come. The kids in my kids' classes tend to be over-involved (my opinion) in organized activities and have very booked weekend. Last year, one of the kids was able to come to my daughter's party for two hours between gymnastics and dance. Lots couldn't come at all for activity reasons.

We once planned a sleepover and invited a small group of 6. Not a single one could come due to activities (I know the families and we're talking about 9-year-olds, some of whom have slept over since).

4 kids under 10
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#35 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 02:13 PM
 
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If it's "not enough" for them, we'll have conversations with them about our reality and our values, rather than begrudging the families who do chose to spend that kind of money on their kids.
Exactly!
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#36 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 02:22 PM
 
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At least around here, the parties where everyone is invited is at a fancy party place or involves hiring a performing and costs hundreds of dollars. Not necessary and inappropriate.
I love it when it's at a fancy party place and there are performers. Means DD will get to have a blast, a new experience, and enjoy her friends' company. It's a win win for all involved. Totally not necessary, but fun and appropriate.

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#37 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Only if you buy into that sort of thing. We live in a very affluent area and are not affluent ourselves, so this type of thing will come up about many topics, not just birthdays. Here, kids drive crazy-nice cars when they're 16, carry expensive brand-name purses in high school, etc., and my kids won't. If it's "not enough" for them, we'll have conversations with them about our reality and our values, rather than begrudging the families who do chose to spend that kind of money on their kids.

I purposely "reset" the bar in many areas of my life, by cheerfully doing/offering/bringing something simple but thoughtful -- I refuse to get sucked into trying to top anyone in anything, and hopefully my kids will absorb that philosophy from me.
Totally agree.

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#38 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Honestly, my first thought was (and is in these situations) "The mom is being nice by inviting the whole class so no one feels left out, but would no doubt prefer that a smaller number attend, so its more than fine if several can't make it"
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#39 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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I think most people who do this are trying to be inclusive.
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#40 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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This is the first year that DS's party hasn't included everyone in the class -- and he's in 5th grade. He's the first party of the year, so it was always a great way for everyone to get back together outside of school. The school does have a rule that you have to invite everyone (or all the girls or all the boys) if invitations are passed out at school or the party starts or ends at school, but that's not what motivated us. We just always felt that it was more fun with more kids. And we've done both party places and home-based options. This year he thought he was "too old" for a big party, so we just took two friends to the waterpark for the day. And that was fun too.

For DD, we've done a couple of "just girls" options because she wanted to do something that most boys wouldn't appreciate (like a ballet princess party), but mostly we invite the whole class as well. It just feels friendlier to us.
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#41 of 56 Old 09-25-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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I would assume inclusive... and very brave! We just had 10 five year olds at DS1's recent b-day and by the end I was frazzled. If we had invited the whole class of 25 I might have lost my sanity! LOL
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#42 of 56 Old 09-26-2010, 12:29 AM
 
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I voted, great, all inclusive. My daughter just started Kindergarten and the second week of school told me a fellow student was having a birthday and told her she wasn't invited. She thought it meant he didn't like her. I explained to her that he probably was planning on having a party with just his family. I really have no idea, though, but it made her feel better.

Our deal with birthdays is they are for kids to get together and celebrate the birthday person's existence. I never expect gifts at my daughter's birthday parties and we make this very clear, and I do not plan to make it a habit to buy presents for other kids at their birthdays if/when either of my children are invited to a party. Gifts are simply not the point of a birthday celebration. I don't want my children to grow up materialistic, need to receive gifts in order to feel special, or feel obligated to buy others gifts in order to feel important to that person.

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#43 of 56 Old 09-26-2010, 01:23 PM
 
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I would assume inclusive... and very brave! We just had 10 five year olds at DS1's recent b-day and by the end I was frazzled. If we had invited the whole class of 25 I might have lost my sanity! LOL
me too!!!

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#44 of 56 Old 09-27-2010, 12:56 AM
 
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ds's school does not allow invites to parties to be distributed at school unless the whole class or all of the same gender are invited.

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#45 of 56 Old 09-28-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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I would say inclusive.We usaully get invites in the mail.

We stopped accepting b-day invites and hosting parties.It got to be so expensvie,and I would much rather spend our limited money on my own kids.

My kids have been with the same kids for atleast 2 years now and outside of birthday invitations they have never been invited to a classmates home, or had classmates over(we invite people over weekly).I would prefer their first visit to someones house not be for a party.

None of the invites we get ever say no presents.That would help,but the time and gas cost adds up for 40+ parties.

In the summer my kids and their friends have their own party and we go somewhere special.
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#46 of 56 Old 09-28-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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but DD's school instituted a policy whereby invites have to be given to the entire class. The alternative to this is to have a birthday celebration at the school with cake.


This seems very severe to me! How can the school dictate who you invite to an off-campus event?

Our school has the policy that many others seem to have: all invites handed out IN school must be for all of either sex or the whole class. I don't see how the school can prevent you from mailing invitations to your friends for a private party.

Actually, our school made a point of "no birthday parties in class". It seemed like many parents wanted to turn their child's birthday into a party in class with cake and games. The school said no to that.

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#47 of 56 Old 09-28-2010, 01:21 PM
 
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Our school does the same and I agree with it. If you wanted to invite only one or a few children, you'dsimply have to give the invitations another way than passing them out at school.

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#48 of 56 Old 09-28-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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DD asked to invite her whole class when she turned six. She informed me that sometimes kids feel sad when they aren't invited to parties, and that inviting everybody was the nicest thing to do.

There were 21 kids in her class, and including us, I believe that six kids invited the whole class to their birthday. At least six didn't invite anybody from school or had a summer birthday... so of the 12 to 15 kids who brought invites to school, six invited the whole class.

DD's kindergarten class was a close knit group. I realise that whole-class parties aren't something everybody can do, but it really was nice.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#49 of 56 Old 09-28-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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Oh, totally inclusive. The words 'present grab' has never, ever occurred to me, and frankly, it's a really bizarre thought. I've hosted many inclusive parties so that kids wouldn't get left out and hurt. I enjoy them. I'm now a pro at planning big kids' parties and we've never not had a good time. Trust me - the expense of hosting far outweighs the presents haul, dollar-wise. But I've never compared those two until now

It's also the norm here to do performers or rent party places, more for convenience than anything else. They don't break the bank for us, and there are tons of options - not just the Chuck E. Cheese thing, but for eg., dance and art studio packages, ice skating, gymnastics, martial art studios, etc. etc.

Present grab. I can't imagine obsessing that parents are somehow scheming for presents...
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#50 of 56 Old 09-28-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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We've invited the whole class a couple of times. Maybe it's the December birthday, maybe my son is unpopular, maybe this is the norm - around 20 invites has usually generated about 3-5 attendees. With another 3-5 friends from outside the class, party sizes have ended up around 8-10, which is pretty all right. The thing is, I have found it impossible to predict which 3-5 of the 20 will show. The times we had a really small party (around 3-4 total) my son said it didn't feel "party-ish" enough and I get that.
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#51 of 56 Old 09-29-2010, 08:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by peaceful_mama View Post
ds's school does not allow invites to parties to be distributed at school unless the whole class or all of the same gender are invited.
Does this help? Our problem with parties where only a couple of kids were invited wasn't kids seeing the invitations. The issue was kids talking about the party at school.

Numerous kids told DD that she could come to their birthday, but she never got a formal invite. I assume the parents limited numbers, but the kid didn't really get it.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#52 of 56 Old 09-29-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sarahr View Post
Saying it's a "present grab" is too strong, but I think parties like that are over the top in an unpleasant way. I really think kids should just invite their friends -- and no one is friends with the whole class. Of course, that doesn't mean you should invite everyone but 1 or 2 kids -- that would be exclusive -- but less than half (of the class, or of the one gender) is appropriate. We're going with having the number of kids corresponding to the age, so 4 kids for my dd's 4th birthday.

At least around here, the parties where everyone is invited is at a fancy party place or involves hiring a performing and costs hundreds of dollars. Not necessary and inappropriate.
Not the case here. Totally opposite.

It is normal for the whole class to be invited, and more often than not, the party is at a playground. Easy peasy and builds communities because the parents get to know each other.
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#53 of 56 Old 09-29-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Saying it's a "present grab" is too strong, but I think parties like that are over the top in an unpleasant way. I really think kids should just invite their friends -- and no one is friends with the whole class. Of course, that doesn't mean you should invite everyone but 1 or 2 kids -- that would be exclusive -- but less than half (of the class, or of the one gender) is appropriate. We're going with having the number of kids corresponding to the age, so 4 kids for my dd's 4th birthday.

At least around here, the parties where everyone is invited is at a fancy party place or involves hiring a performing and costs hundreds of dollars. Not necessary and inappropriate.
Whole class parties can definitely build community. And in the lower grades at least, it is totally possible for a child to be friends with the whole class... or very close to it.

We rented a community art studio for DD's party. It cost $30.

All of the other whole class parties were either at the neighbourhood pool, or an indoor playground at a local fitness centre. The indoor playground party runs about $120 for twenty kids with everything included except the food. I think the pool package from the rec department is a little less.

It's not the size that makes a party over the top, it's the attitude of the party planner.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#54 of 56 Old 09-29-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Does this help? Our problem with parties where only a couple of kids were invited wasn't kids seeing the invitations. The issue was kids talking about the party at school.
True, but where does it end? I mean, kids at church, playgroups, sports teams, after-school lessons, daycare, and around the neighborhood might catch wind of a party too. Should they all be hurt not to be invited? DS hasn't been invited to every single one of his friends' parties, and we have a very laid-back attitude about it -- I'll just say, "Oh well, I bet he could only invite a certain number of people. Hey, maybe next week we can take him mini-golfing and out for cupcakes to celebrate!" DS has never seemed to be more than mildly disappointed about it.

For us, we invite fewer than 10 kids, and that includes a few from school, a few from the neighborhood, and a few family friends. This year, for example, there are only 3 school friends being invited (and the invitations are being mailed, not distributed at school). I make a reasonable effort to reduce hurt feelings by discouraging DS from talking about his party at school, but I'm simply not interested in hosting a party that includes every single person we come into contact with, and I'm okay with that.

ETA: I certainly don't view whole-class parties as "present grabs," though -- I just assume that those families enjoy large parties the way we enjoy small parties.

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#55 of 56 Old 09-30-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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True, but where does it end? I mean, kids at church, playgroups, sports teams, after-school lessons, daycare, and around the neighborhood might catch wind of a party too. Should they all be hurt not to be invited? DS hasn't been invited to every single one of his friends' parties, and we have a very laid-back attitude about it -- I'll just say, "Oh well, I bet he could only invite a certain number of people. Hey, maybe next week we can take him mini-golfing and out for cupcakes to celebrate!" DS has never seemed to be more than mildly disappointed about it.

For us, we invite fewer than 10 kids, and that includes a few from school, a few from the neighborhood, and a few family friends. This year, for example, there are only 3 school friends being invited (and the invitations are being mailed, not distributed at school). I make a reasonable effort to reduce hurt feelings by discouraging DS from talking about his party at school, but I'm simply not interested in hosting a party that includes every single person we come into contact with, and I'm okay with that.

ETA: I certainly don't view whole-class parties as "present grabs," though -- I just assume that those families enjoy large parties the way we enjoy small parties.
I don't expect every kid to invite the whole class. My only question was, what is the point in not allowing invites to go to school if the kids are just going to talk about the party and who is invited.

It's just something kids have to get used to. I can't imagine very many kids go to schools where all kids are invited to all birthday parties.

Julie - Mom to Elizabeth (Libby) age 6, Penelope (Penny) age 5, Elliott age 29 months, and Oscar who is 1 year old!
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#56 of 56 Old 10-02-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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Just from my point of view, the effort and (often) expense of hosting such a large party would negate the present-grab angle.

I'm sure there are people out there who host a huge, cheap, unorganized party and just hope for the flood of presents, but I just think it's not that common.

Also, I'm biased because I personally would dread having that many presents. I'm intellectually aware that most people don't feel the same way, but just instinctively I would be thinking "oh, gosh, having to deal with all those presents would be SUCH a pain."

My first thought of a whole-class party is definitely "that's nice, very inclusive - mom maybe is nice and wants to meet the other moms - like the fact that they consider kids from the other sex as friends - sounds like a lot of fun and a lot less drama."
This is my thought as well. I did host many parties where I invited everyone, and most often not all of them came. We just did it for fun and to get a chance to meet some parents too. We had a sandwich bar - I just made tortillas with like 4 choices, and cake, and we had a pinata, and the kinds of things we used to decorate were the things kids have fun playing with. I really didn't spend a lot of money, but I also didn't want much for presents. I did get a lot of calls asking for ideas & stuff and I said a hand made card is great or something crafty or small. we still have a box of cards from the kids, and lots of great memories. I was just lucky to have a big enough basement to pull it off.

Now that they are older, or moreso, now that I have no space, We limit how many invitations, and even with 5 kids, it's still about the experience for the kids. Last year we had a sleep over with 4 girls and we got the little caesar's $5 pizzas and I made french toast for breakfast. We made most of the decorations ourselves. Harriet wanted a Peace/tie dye theme, so it wasn't too hard to come up with something.

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