The Wolvog’s Party Etiquette Question
So I put up that last post to get ideas, but what happened was that your comments stunned the twins. They couldn’t believe how many kids didn’t have a birthday party at all. They’ve had one every year since they turned one. Their first one was a big one because we couldn’t do a baby naming (a Jewish ceremony) at birth due to their prematurity, so we held a big baby naming/introducing them to the community party as they turned one.
When they were very little, the other kids at the party were mostly our friend’s kids. As they aged, they found their own friends, and now it is more of the other way around: I have become friends with their friend’s parents. And the kids at the party are all mixed up: old friends/school friends/camp friends, etc.
Most of their friends have parties. There are a few kids that we don’t know about: they don’t reciprocate the invitation, but we don’t know if that is because they are having a party and not inviting us, or if they only have a family party (or no party at all). They twins usually invite them anyway despite the fact that the invitations are one-sided because they socialize with them in school or through another activity. But that’s just us and how we construct our guest list.
Oh — and the twins could have separate parties and they’ve been encouraged to have separate parties, but they want to hold their party together. We leave those types of decisions up to them. They may not care about having their own party because they each separately get one special day that is their day (ChickieNob Day or Wolvog Day) each year since they have to share their birthday. On that day, they get to pick the activity, the meals, and usually get a lot of sugar. We also have two birthday celebrations with family where it’s just dinner and cake. All in all, they’re well-celebrated.
So here’s the thing, we’re getting towards the end of the birthday party life span. As they get older, the parties will become more and more casual; a few friends out to dinner, etc. Slumber parties. Grabbing your four closest friends and going to a baseball game. It really feels like this is it: we maybe have two or three more years of this and then fade out into casual, intimate celebrations. I think I’ll miss the big parties as it is one more marker that they are growing up.
But still, I posed the question to them about which they would want the most: a party, a trip, or a present. They ranked it party, trip, present, with party being the most important to them. They love a good trip, and they said they may want to do that in the future. Take a small trip around their birthday and then just have dinner and cake with friends. We’re not a big present family: we usually give them things as they need/want things rather than saving it for a holiday or birthday. So present was a distant third priority.
But one of the biggest reasons they gave for wanting the party is that they don’t want to be left out of things socially, and having a party ensures they’ll be included in other people’s parties. The Wolvog admitted that he would be very jealous if he knew parties were going on and he wasn’t invited because kids knew he’d never reciprocate with his own party.
He asked me to ask you this question: do you accept party invitations if you don’t throw parties?
He asked this because I’ve always told them that if they go to someone’s party, they should invite them back to their party. If they don’t want that person at their party, they probably shouldn’t go to their party, even if their other friends are going. You go for the birthday kid, not your other friends or the activity. It’s not a perfect tit-for-tat system, but I would say that the vast majority of their guest list are people whose parties they also attended.
He wanted to know how that worked: did people feel awkward accepting invitations knowing they wouldn’t be extending one later? Did the kids who never had a party get invited to a bunch of parties each year, or were they mostly left out of the party scene? Was it common in your circle of friends to not have parties therefore it wasn’t really an issue?
So… uh… I guess my piggyback question is how people construct their guest lists.