Birthday Parties - Florissant,MO

Updated on March 19, 2011
T.M. asks from Florissant, MO
11 answers

Hi moms! I have a 2 part question here. My son just had his 8th birthday party and it was very chaotic. His dad's side of the family is huge so not only do we have alot of kids at the party but we also have a lot of adults. We have had to pick a place over the years for his birthday party that not only has room for adults but does not charge extra for adults to play, eat, etc. Having the party at home is not an option as we live in a small apartment. How do you other moms handle birthday parties? Is there a polite way to ask that only the kids to come to the party even if they may live anywhere from a half an hour to an hour away from the place the party is at? Do I only invite his friends and not family? I will note that the kids on his dad's side of the family are his my son's dad's cousins children (not exactly sure of the relation to my son) and most of them are close. I do not want to be rude nor do I want to leave family out but birthday parties are getting crazy!

2nd question: At his party this year one of his friends did not give him a present. He did not even give him a card. I would have completely understood if his parents were struggling right now and could not afford something but they did not say anything to us and we talk to them often. Now his friend’s birthday party is tonight and my son’s dad does not think we should get him anything. I do not feel right giving him nothing but at the same time I do not think it is fair to get him something. What would you do?

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So What Happened?

Thanks for your thoughts so far on my questions. As for my second question I do not appreciate someone telling me I am being petty about realizing someone did not bring a gift especially when they do not know they entire circumstances behind the question. I did not think I had to give the entire story in order to ask an opinion without getting a judgmental response. I agree that it is not the child's fault and I did not feel right sending my son to his party without a present but my fiance did not agree so I wanted other people's opinions. I also understand that the birthday party is not about the presents but like I said there is more behind my situation that I wish to remain private. Thanks to those who gave an honest non judgmental response!

BTW We did get him a gift.

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answers from Phoenix on

I'd let it go about the gift oversight. Get him something anyway. Who knows what happened. Maybe it was a total mistake or maybe there is something else going on with them. Even if they were being selfish or lazy, you should go ahead and get him something. Good luck!

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answers from Stockton on

As far as a big party or not - that is up to you....If the birthday is in the summer time - it is fairly easy to do it at a park and just bbq and you could accomodate that many people easily.

As far as the present for the friend, my rule is I do not let someone else's behavior establish my behavior. So basically, you should by the kid a present! Not to mention, it is not the kids fault that the parents didn't buy a present. I am sure that he was very embarrassed to show up without a present.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

Just my 2 cents but i expect that if the whole class is invited to a party that it will be just freinds and not extended family. That assumption has been challenged a few times this year. and it's just ackward, but then again i am a mom that will hang around and make sure my kids behave and are safe.
so, i would suggest two separate parties or eliminate one.

not knowing any other circumstances than what you told us, I would still bring a gift and this is shallow or whatever but i wouldn't want anyone else to notice me NOT bringing a gift. but i woudn't spend as much as usual, or worry about it too much.

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answers from Philadelphia on

1) By 8yrs old, my kids' parties were "friends only", no relatives except for the immediate family. Like you've said, it gets way too crazy otherwise.

2) Birthday parties are for celebrating your birthday with people you care about. Getting presents is nice, but shouldn't be the REASON for the party. Sure, not getting a gift may have been a surprise, but don't let that ruin the relationship. Go to your friend's party, give the kid a gift, don't mention the fact that he didn't give YOUR kid a gift. *Not* getting that child a present seems a bit petty and childish. Rise above it and be the better person. And have fun at the party.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

1. IMO kids this age should just have friends b-day parties. If there is a particular cousin that he is close to then that child should be invited.

2. Is it possible that they forgot the gift at home or it got misplaced? If your sure it was intentional then I would go to their party and only bring a small gift. Have your son make a card.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

How would you feel about's a sort of compromise...just do his party where he wants and invite whatever friends and/or cousins he wants to come. Then tell your family that you're going to have the family celebration at a restaurant somewhere, but it's a pay your own way situation, unless you can afford to pay for everyone, but that gets a little hairy. I know that there was a question on Mamapedia today addressing this exact scenario and how it wasn't fair for this particular mom, so you'd have to assess the situation of your families and whether or not they'd be open to this idea, but it's a sort of best of both worlds option. I do agree that at that age they should have the party they want, but I also agree that family should be included on some level. People want to spend time with the birthday person and give presents and just share the time, so if you were my relative I would want to be acknowledge and included in something, but not necessarily the birthday party itself. I know you said you live in an apartment but you could also do an open house or something for the family and say stop by between 12-4 for cake and snacks or something.

As far as the other kid I think you did the right thing with the present. I'm guessing there is more to the story and maybe the parents just didn't tell you they were having money issues b/c they were embarassed. It would be really hard to just say oh by the way, we can't afford a present. Maybe they were hoping you just wouldn't notice, which isn't right either, but it's an uncomfortable situation. Even if it isn't money, it's something and if you are all good friends I'd let it go for now.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

In response to your 2nd question - I would go ahead and get the boy a gift no matter what he gave or didn't give your son. You are teaching a lesson here as well so if you don't give him something you are teaching your son that he should only give if he receives. The true meaning of giving is to give w/ no expectation in return - if you get something then that is great. I wouldn't worry too much about why his friend didn't give him a present and try to to talk to your son about it alot and make a big deal of it. He might not even notice or remember if you dont' bring it up.



answers from New York on

First of all - who says you have to have a big party every year? Whenever we had big family parties it was always after the kid-party. The kid-party would be from 2:00-4:00 for example and the family adult party would be at 6:00. At around age 8 we stopped the big family birthday parties. Just grandparents and maybe a special aunt/uncle cousin family for pizza & cake. Then even the kid party can be scaled down at around age 9 - 10. We would ask a handful of kids (only as many as would fit in our minivan - one parent drives, the other parent comes in the other car with sibling and goodie bags). It's controllable and yoru child won't get too many presents.

As for the second question - gifts are not payment for the party, nor should they be a reflection of what they gave you. It could very well be that the child forget the present in the family car - or that the family really is struggling. People who live in gorgeous homes and drive luxury cars can be in more financial trouble that you could ever imagine. All that being said, give the child a present. It's not his fault that his parents are clueless. One year my son's very good friend came without a gift, his dad brought him, his mom had died a few months earlier and I knew the dad was overwhelmed. Who cares - like my kid would miss another plastic stupid thing. Another party a dad had custody that weekend and gave my son a very, very inexpensive gift. Knowing the family, I knew the dad had just made partner in his law firm - and was making a ton of money. But I also knew he was paying child support and had a very young girlfriend - we all know how expensive they can be. He was, and still is, a knucklehead - but it's NOT the kid's fault. ;o) Be gracious - it's always the right thing to do.



answers from Portland on

I think it is extremely petty of you to notice who did not get a gift and base your gift giving on that. Just because a parent does not give you a full run down of their finances does not mean they may not be struggling. And honestly, it is not a requirement to bring a gift to a birthday party, in any case.



answers from Honolulu on

For us, now that my kids are the ages they are ( 4 & 8), their birthday parties comprise of THEIR friends.
Not the whole ripple effect of relatives.

As a child gets older, they will naturally want... their 'own' parties. With their friends. Most parents/relatives, understand that.
For me, as I got older, my parties were just me and my friends. Not all our relatives, like how it was when I was 4 years old.

Per your #2 Question: Just give the kid a gift. So what if they never gave your son a gift. That is not the point. The child did attend your son's party. Your son considers him a 'friend.' This is a 'life lesson' for your son. It is not about an eye for an eye... but the thoughtfulness... of which some people do not have that.
If you do not give a gift... then maybe it will cause problems, with that friend and family. Who wants drama?
Besides, I don't think its a big deal to give the other kid a gift... even if they did not give your son one.
I would just explain to my kids, that they must have reasons that we don't know of. Its okay. Don't assume.



answers from Dallas on

Jumping to your 2nd question - are you sure that this boy didn't give your son a gift? Is it possible that the gift and card could have been misplaced or left in a corner somewhere? That is very strange. I think you should get this boy a gift, but make it under $10.00.

To your first question - yes, have his birthday parties from now on for his friends only, and not family. On a different date, celebrate his birthday with family at a restaurant.

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