Cake and No Presents for Today’s Kids

1206626167When I was a kid, I was grateful that I was born in July. My friends were on summer vacation, so they could always come to my birthday party. Not only that, but it was the perfect opportunity to stock up on Barbies and Christopher Pike novels to hold me over until Christmas.

But today’s kids aren’t able to take advantage of this since their parents are forcing them to give up birthday presents.

My inner seven-year-old cringed when I read this article. Many well-to-do parents use their child’s birthday as an opportunity to teach an anti-consumerist message by requesting that party guests don’t bring gifts for the wee tot, or instead bring items or money to donate. Which is ironic when you consider that the parties themselves can cost as much as one of Eliot Spitzer’s nights out.

“It seems funny that parents today will make this option/request to ‘humble’ their child,” Katie Tagliavia, owner of maternity boutique 9 Months, said in an email. “Yet it happens in the midst of $500 organized events.”

My adult self cringed when I read that affluent parents have turned their charity into a twisted form of snobbery.

In some circles, parents have become almost competitive in their quest to banish materialism from their children’s parties. The nonpresent is quickly becoming the “must-have” gift.

To a kid, a birthday is his or her own personal holiday. They get dibs on the first piece of cake, get to have a hand in planning an event, and get showered with gifts. If you want to teach your kid to be selfless, encourage voluntarism. On a day that isn’t his or her birthday.