Opinion

Crowd funding for birthday parties?!

Has it really come to this? Emma Waverman's alarmed by the amount of parents turning to crowd funding sites to raise money for kids' parties.

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Photo: iStockphoto

Some parents are using crowd funding websites to pay for their kids’ birthday parties. Has it really come to this?

According to ABC News, GoFundMe has seen a 330 percent increase in their birthday party category—with more than one million dollars raised for birthday celebrations since the company first launched in 2010.

One fundraiser wants to throw her toddler the perfect birthday party. She writes on the GoFundMe site: “I managed to throw an amazing 1st birthday for Licia and would like to follow through with an amazing 2nd birthday for my blue eyed princess!!… due to a series of unfortunate events in our lives recently money is tight… every dollar helps!! thank you in advance for any donations made.”

So far, this mother has received $280 out of her requested $600. Six hundred dollars! For a two-year-old’s birthday party! I think that’s just crazy, and asking your friends to donate is even worse. Not to mention the fact that it sets up a strange dynamic—if you donated money towards the party, would you still bring a gift? Would you be irritated if there was a chintzy loot bag? What if you didn’t enjoy the cake? If a stranger donates, does that mean they get a party invite?

ABC News writes that the crowd funding trend is “either the smartest way to throw a birthday party on a budget or it’s the worst possible representation of keeping up with the Joneses.” Personally, I think the whole thing is representative of a culture going off the rails. Who thought begging for money from friends and strangers is a smart way to throw a birthday party?

It’s a sad truth, but “keeping up with Joneses” is an issue in many aspects of parenting. Birthday parties are becoming bigger and more extravagant. There’s pressure to create a fabulous Instagram-worthy bash that will make everyone in your mommy group jealous. Hopefully this trend of crowd funding your child’s event indicates we’re at the (extreme) end point of birthday party extravaganzas and will soon see a return to small, homey, inexpensive parties.

If my daughter had her way we’d be taking all her friends by limo to a local water park for the weekend. Instead, we’re having a sleepover where we’ll rent movies, make pizzas and eat cupcakes. Maybe we’ll even do our nails. It’s unlikely my nine-year-old daughter will recall every little detail of her birthday party, but the chances of that little toddler remembering her second birthday is practically nil. What people will remember from that party is the little girl’s mom who asked for donations to throw a bash she couldn’t afford in the first place.

Emma Waverman is a writer, blogger and mom to three kids. She has many opinions, some of them are fit to print. Read more of her articles here and follow her on Twitter @emmawaverman.

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