School hasn’t even started, but a mom I know has already received a first birthday party invitation from one of her son’s future classmates. The child’s birthday falls two weeks after the start of school so his mom must have figured that he’d already be fast friends with some of his classmates by then. Or she was just following that age old tradition of inviting the whole class so no one feels left out.

As a child who was not always included in group invitations I can really appreciate that unwritten rule. It’s nice to make sure that everyone feels included. But as a mom with two little girls who attend daycare and preschool, it almost makes me want to scream. Really, there are only so many weekends in a year. How many parties can you really attend in one weekend before you slowly start to think that cake and pizza are completely valid everyday diet options?

This past May we held a party for my five year-old and invited all her school friends, all her daycare friends and quite a few friends of the family. (Yes, I sent each and every one of them a birthday invitation!) At one point there were some 40 children in or out of the pool. It was a madhouse that left the birthday girl feeling somewhat overwhelmed. When we packed up the gifts I spotted one from a child I had not even seen at the party. I truly think that my daughter would have had more fun if we’d carefully selected her true friends from the bunch and kept the party hush hush so as not to hurt any feelings. Had the party been a bit more subdued she would have been able to really play and make great memories.

After that event I think we’re done with the “invite everyone” approach to birthday parties and I think we’re going to be extra selective about the parties we RSVP yes to. I’m secretly hoping to be spared the onslaught of over 30 birthday party invitations per child this year, but I’m not deluding myself. The norm is still to invite everyone, after all.

How about you? Do you throw the big “invite everyone” bash, or are you ultra selective about your guest list?

Birthday Party

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  1. Amanda Cowan says:

    I think I definitely agree. Aside from the reasons you’ve given, we were unable to entertain any of the ideas for parties that Grace really really wanted to. Like at her cooking school.. or the place where she gets her hair cut.. that offers parties to kids and they do fancy hairstyles and girly stuff because of the cost. You just can’t get 20 kids in a party like that and still afford to send them to college someday.

    I think from now on, we are going to go that route. Of course, we will have to make sure to explain to Grace that this means she will not be invited to every single party that occurs in her group of classmates.. but I think in the long run, this is better.

    I love the “don’t exclude anyone” route but does that really do those kids any good when you have, like you said, 40 kids running around? No one gets face time with the birthday kiddo that way anyway.

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