The New Birthday Party

I recently heard a story on NPR that with the dire economic crisis and no end in sight families of all income brackets are indeed tightening their belts and moving toward simplicity. The latest casualty is the birthday party. As the news reported, parents are forefeiting extravagant, elaborate, theme oriented birthdays for cake, ice cream and playtime in the park. Perhaps I thought if we all could have learned earlier from the local French country families about the joys of a birthday party at home with cake, candy, and maybe a few homemade games we would have saved more money over the years. At Bay Area birthday party prices ranging from a minimum of $500-$1,000 a pop that could have added up to a family with two kids who are 12 a whopping $12,000-$24,000 -- a nice little nest egg for college. Or we could have remembered back to when we were growing up and how playing pin the tail on the donkey created giggles and laughter. Followed by ice cream and cake the party was a success. In reflection something went out of wack and the tidal wave of keeping up with the Joneses followed.

San Francisco however will always want to be a little different and so the new birthday party -- yes is more simple-- but the pendulum has swung even further and now I hear it is about gathering kids together to volunteer for some project -- cleaning up the beaches, counting birds, serving in the soup kitchen followed by cake and ice cream.  Possibly this is a new trend we could all benefit from--- low cost, teaches teamwork and giving back to the community, and most of all what really matters above all else is there is ice cream and cake to celebrate! Nothing more, nothing less.