Dear Snarky – A 7 Year-Old Has A Birthday Gift Registry

Dear Snarkyfunny-birthday-quote

Here’s a question for you – since when did kids start registering for birthday party gifts? My 7-year-old son was invited to a party and the email invite included a link to where you could see and buy the gifts for the b’day boy and the cheapest one was $25!

Are you kidding me?! I was so appalled I said something to a group of moms and they looked at me like I was crazy and then one mom told me “that’s the only way to do it and that it’s RUDE to get someone a gift that’s not on their registry.”

I’m I the only mom that thinks this is horrible manners?

Signed, One Mad Mama

Dear Mad Mama,

 Relax, take some deep breaths, it’s all going to be okay. Now on to your question – Yes, a gift registry is a fine and fabulous thing for say wedding or baby shower presents BUT I find it overkill to use one for a kid’s birthday.  To me, it seems like it’s a lesson in greed especially when the gifts selected have a starting price of $25.

 As for the statement that’s it’s rude to go free range and not buy off the registry to that I say “Seriously?” A registry is, at best, only a suggestion it’s not meant to be marching orders nor should you feel bullied if you get a gift that wasn’t registry approved.

 So go ahead and let your 7-year-old enjoy roaming the toy aisle at Target and having the fun of picking out a gift for his friend and if any mom gives you attitude for your non registry present just give her the gift that keeps on giving – the cold shoulder (or the extreme eye roll or even better do both). 😉

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Dear Snarky – I Hate Throwing Birthday Parties

One odear_snarky_logo-1f the more common themes from letters I get are about children’s birthday parties. It can be nerve-racking to throw an awesome celebration and yet not drop some major coin to make it happen. Here’s an example of some of the letters I have received.

Dear Snarky,

I can’t afford a big blow out for my son’s 9th birthday, but I’m afraid he’ll be disappointed if we don’t have a big party like his other friends have had.


Dear Snarky,

I’m so mad I spent what I thought was a fortune on a party for my twins at a Go Kart track and kids were complaining that they were bored!

Oh moms, I so feel your pain.  With a party for six children at an American Girl Doll store costing more than $300 or a trampoline park celebration bouncing up and over the $500 mark it can make you starry-eyed for the days of a Duncan Hines cake mix and a couple of presents from mom and dad.

My suggestion to alleviate all this party anxiety and cost is to embrace the birthday festivities of yesteryear and kick it old school.

Here’s the deal.  Our kids are jaded.  Not kidding about this – one month my daughter went to 3 American Girl parties.  If you really want to throw a bash that will be remembered and not break the bank do something unexpected that speaks to a child’s sense of silly fun.Scan 3

One year I had a party for my son that  featured flour fights in the backyard.  I’m talking baking flouScan 7r. I filled up wheelbarrows with the white stuff and the kids went crazy. It was hilarious.

Another year for my daughter we had a goofy face paint party where the girls did each other’s “make up” and then put on a show.

All of it was very, very low-cost and fun. Primarily, I think because it was different, a little bit unstructured and they were allowed to make a mess. In fact, my son is 18 and he has one friend that to this day, still talks about the “awesome flour fight.”

So relax and don’t over think it and most importantly do not try to keep up, one up or use your kid’s birthday as a I way to impress other parents. That’s not a party. It’s a competition and there’s nothing fun about that.

Dear Snarky – Party Crashers

d46061e43fd6a6aae3b297a1e0d56dccDear Snarky,

My friends and I would like some advice about what to do when a mom brings siblings to a birthday party? There are always a couple of mothers who think an invitation for one of her kids means bring everyone under 21 who still lives at home. Serving a few more pieces of cake is no problem yet it can really add up or create awkward moments when you run out of goodie bags or you’re having the party, at say, a trampoline park and you don’t want to pay for anymore kids. Help! We’re running out of patience and cash.

Signed, Wanna Be Snarky Moms

Dear Wanna Be’s

This kind of boorish behavior calls for a direct approach. These moms know exactly what they’re doing. They’re party crashers plain and simple. Oh sure, some of you maybe saying the “more the merrier” but sometimes for your sanity and cost reasons you need to keep the party to the number invited.

In my parenting career I’ve seen these party crashers in action plenty of times. Their M.O is to walk into a party with all their kids and act like they’re just going to hang out for a couple of minutes and chat with the other moms. Then not so slowly their kids, who were not on the guest list, become intertwined in the party happenings. Before you know it, your party for ten kids turns into an event for 14 and you’re scrambling around trying to turn a couple of gallon Ziplocs into goodie bags and rummaging through your pantry for bag filler which forces you to part with that secret stash of Easter candy you had been saving for yourself. But much worse than having your hospitality taken advantage of is that sometimes extra, unexpected guests, can ruin the dynamic of the party.

For example, bringing a four-year old to a party for third graders at a trampoline park means all the older kids have to watch out for the little kid and you know the preschooler is going to cry or have a melt down because the big kids either aren’t playing with him or he’s going to get hurt trying to keep up.

Even if you hold the party at your home having an uninvited guest that is not in the age bracket of the birthday girl or boy means something as simple as pin the tail of the donkey can become a challenge. And if the party crashers are older kids they’ll call the game “lame” and can and will under the right circumstances take over the party.

This is why you must be proactive. If a mom has a history of party crashing let her know before the event that only child X is invited. Explain that you have a limited number of kids that can attend and if it makes you feel better apologize as in “I’m so sorry but I want you to know up front we won’t be able to have any siblings at the party.” If she shows up with siblings in tow stand firm and offer to give her child, that was invited, a ride home so she doesn’t feel like she has to stay. If she refuses to take the hint sadly your only recourse maybe not inviting her child to anymore parties, at least, for a while. Don’t let yourself feel guilty – that emotion should be saved for the party crashing mom, not you.

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