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The Birthday Party


posted September 21st 2018



I’m a retired photography lecturer and a writer for many years. I have found that being a grandparent has been a fulfilling and loving experience that has enhanced my enjoyment of life. It’s important to stay active and immerse yourself into new things always. That’s my philosophy. I hope you enjoy reading my contributions and welcome your comments. For further work from Geoff visit:

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Ten minutes prior to the moment on the very day I started typing this, my granddaughter’s eighth birthday party started. Stay well out of it mates, that’s my advice. It is her public birthday (you know, like the Queen) when a horde of seemingly angelic little girls will descend upon their house with intent. As the last minute preparations came to a conclusion it was clear from her face that my only daughter was on the point of cracking. Nevertheless, with a cheery wave, we, her parents, were off, sharpish like.

The following day was the official birthday. The day when two doting sets of grandparents deliver gifts and sit in peace eating cake. On our side of the family there are no other relatives; some exist, just not in our world, so it’s not exactly a packed gathering.

The Modern Child’s Birthday Party

Do you remember when life was simple? When we, as children, were happy with the gift of a hoop and a stick and a toffee apple? For some, that was indeed the reality, but over the years a huge industry has built up around the business of childrens’ birthdays and now not only does it cost a sum of money equal to the gross domestic product of a small country, it also has to push the boundaries of originality.

My granddaughter’s offering includes the obligatory face-painting obviously; a photo-shoot corner with a genuine inflatable guitar for rock chicks, cocktails (you heard me right) including ‘bubbly’ and a vast array of finger food enough to grace the table of an eastern potentate.

Typically, despite the many weeks of fine weather, on the big day it is raining cats and dogs. That means that the doors to the garden cannot be opened to release the kids and allow the neighbours to aurally enjoy all the fun and frolics. I’m sure they’d love it.

It’s all got a bit crazy, hasn’t it? Is it right that our grandchildren should be encouraged by society to want more and more every year, bombarded by blatantly targeted TV advertising? I don’t think so and, to judge by my daughter’s face, next year’s celebration will be more along the lines of something organised by Ebenezer Scrooge.

Why Do We Celebrate Birthdays Anyway?

Who said it would be a neat idea to make a big deal out of the passing of the years in that way? It must have started with a simple birthday message and ballooned from there.

The celebration of Christmas has a reason even if it is lost in a mire of turkey dinners and weary tinsel. Easter is the same; there’s a thought behind it, or at least there once was, but birthdays? I’m not sure I see the point.

‘Congratulations Granddad; You’re yet another year older!’

‘Oh cheers. Thanks very much. Someone please pass me my tonic wine.’

Certainly it is nice to be remembered and that people are thinking of you but it doesn’t really help does it, especially the older you get. I think we should allow children their birthday celebrations because they love it so but restrict the financial outlay to a more modest amount, say ten shillings and sixpence. I got a great hoop and stick combo for that!


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1 Comment

  1. Exactly. I was only saying the other day at my grandsons birthday party. Gone are the days when my own children just had a few close friends round for tea and cake that was their party. You dropped them off and picked them back up it doesn’t happen any more it’s become more expensive now as birthdays have a whole new meaning and parents stay also now. That’s what it all become….. I’m 60 this year all I get is are you having a party? No is the answer I don’t need to celebrate with everyone just to be reminded I’m getting older. Cards cake and family popping in are enough thanks

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