So, I suppose I have to be the someone who writes about the ridiculousness of children's birthday parties (or adults for that matter).
I have this thing about birthday parties. In general, I don't do them for my kids. Since my kids' birthdays are all within 6 weeks of each other, we host a single family party for all three once a year that is very simple and casual. Shockingly, we host it at our house. I don't really understand the trend of going somewhere (like Chuck E Cheese, Little Gym, etc) and having to have specific activities, etc. for kids. We just don't need Party Leaders in our lives.
I work with kids, I have kids, I was a kid. You really don't need to give them anything to do. Put a group of children of similar age together and they will run and play and fight and it will be fantastic! We had birthday parties all the time as kids, and we just had people over and my mom got us food and maybe a video (and the VCR rented from the video store).
As for a friend party, I think my daughter has had two over the past 12 years. Every few years, she has a 'big' party with 8-10 friends...again at our house, simple (they love chips and ice cream). We didn't have parties at all until she was in grade school. Most often, she invites a friend or two over to do something special, like go to the movies, out to lunch, or have a sleepover.
My favorite is the First Birthday Party. I suppose marking the child's first year of life is important but let's face it...the party is for the parents and grandparents. The child will have absolutely no memory of this event except for photos (yes, I think that 'eating cake photo' is adorable). What I don't understand is why people have these huge parties, renting out halls, catering food, etc.? Its a lot of work, energy, and lots of money. The event should be intimate.
My second favorite is Adult Parties at Bars. I just don't understand this idea at all. I really don't like being invited to a party and then asked to pay $30 just to go, especially because it would take me days to drink $30 worth of Sprite. I went to a party at my friends house once, and we were asked to pay for dinner. I feel like if you want to have a party, you should pay for it.
And don't get me started on party favors.
I think celebrating special moment is extremely important. But I think we should focus on the actual celebration not the event. My mom always tell us our Birth Story on our birthday. We always write down our favorite moments of the past year on New Year's Eve. We often prepare a small show about the honored person. I am banned from diapers and dishes on Mother's Day.
Because, overall, it is not about a party with lots of food, favors, activities, and decorations. Its about the amazing person and that doesn't take any money to say "I Love You!"