It is birthday party season in my house. My three children were born between July and September so they are preparing madly for their parties - and they have been dedicated in their preparation.
Every night, my eldest Tom, and his sidekick Minnie flick through old AWW cake books to choose a design for their forthcoming parties. Tom, nearly five, is convinced that a Spiderman or Vampire cake will be perfect (I've been pushing Spiderman - isn't five too young for a vampire??).
Minnie, my almost three-year-old is still caught in her "pink" phase of childhood, and just wants a pink Barbie cake with marshmallows. 'Ok Minnie,' I comply. 'But you did have that exact cake last year.' Her dedication to pink is unwavering and she won't budge on changing her cake.
Cakes aside, I always shudder at the party season. Because it is a perpetuating money pit. The first family only has to add one special feature like a jumping castle to their party, for the next family to feel compelled to add pony rides to theirs.
From there, the options are endless: designer lolly bags, hired entertainers, catering companies, animal farms and even musical acts.
These additions provide everything they promise to: fun, fun and fun. And that's the problem. The kids get so much enjoyment from this entertainment that their expectations for a great party, grow.
Will this upcoming generation Z expect so much more than a game of pass-the-parcel and musical chairs? Who is strong enough to stop the party snowball and get back to basics by inviting five kids to eat fairy bread, party pies and play pin-the-tail on the donkey?
Is it possible to talk up a low-key party to your beloved birthday child as a super event? I think yes because ultimately the day will be all about them and as long as they are the focus, they should have fun. It's an old-fashioned opinion isn't it?