The first thing I thought upon hearing of one angry mother’s decision to invoice (fine) another parent for their child’s ‘non attendance of a birthday party’ was not, ‘wow – how mean spirited, unforgiving and downright petty’, but rather, ‘Jeez, who the hell books a dry ski-slope for their son’s 5th birthday party?!’ What’s he doing for his 18th? Disco at Everest base-camp?
Children’s birthday parties are now similar in grandeur to weddings; and they seem to have grown in pretentious magnitude also.
Long gone are the days of a simple birthday tea at home, or even the hiring of the local village hall. Today, if you’re not booking out the Odeon in Leicester Square or Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disney World, you really are the Victorian tight-arse.
Why are so many parents hell-bent on lavishing their pups with parties to rival the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics? Is it because they are so extraordinarily minted, nothing is too big for their spoiled darlings? Or is it simply an exercise in upstaging the other mums; a case of ‘my party is better than yours-itis’?
Your party takes place in the kitchen with a few half blown up balloons, some paper hats and a Victoria sponge from Tesco, MY party will take place in a specially commissioned Frozen themed ice-palace complete with 100 tonnes of Siberian snow, ice-crystals from the glaciers of Norway and 1D’s rendition of Let it Go.
Gone are the days of the cocktail sausage, party ring and Monster Munch (beef & onion); or pass the parcel and musical bumps. Clearly, today’s younglings celebrate the day of their birth atop a dry ski-slope. (Are they practising for their ski-jumping debut in the 2026 Winter Olympics?)
The only ‘big deal’ birthdays when I was a kid were the 18th and 21st. All the others were marked with the typical birthday tea at home with a few school friends. And I loved them. Although I was rather envious of friends who were lucky enough to celebrate their special day with Ronald McDonald and a cardboard crown.
I hope Mrs Lawrence realises she is being totally unreasonable and lets go of the £15 she feel she is owed for a child’s no-show on the slopes. It’s £15! An amount she is happy to dispute with the parents in a small claims court. £15! Perhaps the five year old absentee in question felt a bit intimidated by the thought of spending an afternoon uncontrollably sliding down a dry ski-slope without his parents.
If Mrs Lawrence is happy to fight to the death to claim the self-imposed £15 no-show fee, she might consider a cheaper party alternative next year. Nice birthday tea perhaps? Tesco does a great sponge.