Monday, June 4, 2007

$50,000 for a Party for a Tot in Diapers?

Hell, $50,000 for anyone’s birthday party is absurd. This article explains how some wildly insane parents shelled out 50,000 dead presidents for a 1-year-old’s birthday party, from which the child will retain not one iota of a memory. And it’s an example of all that is wrong with the excessive, overindulgent, helicopter, hyper-competitive parenting of today.

An excerpt from the ABC piece:

“Arthur Backal has been in the party planning business in New York City
for more than two decades, and as the founder of his company ‘State of the Art’
he has literally seen it all — from celebrity-studded bar mitzvahs to million
dollar weddings. So when his own daughter Amanda turned the ripe age of one
recently the pressure was on.

. . . Manhattan’s exclusive Mandrian Oriental hotel was the site of the
Backal shindig. Cherry blossoms overflowed on tables set with the finest china,
and while the adults enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet spread, the kids were
treated to a mini-amusement park with a magician, face painter, arcade games and
even an inflated castle for jumping and playing.

While Backal won’t disclose the cost of his bash, he said the price tag
for a similar party would cost about $50,000. Backal and his wife said the
festivities had a deeper significance than just fun and games. ‘Even though it
might have seemed very extravagant, the party itself was very meaningful because
we also combined it into a baby-naming ceremony for our child,’ he said. ‘So our
family and our friends were not only treated to a great first birthday party but
it had a spiritual meaning.’”

If you actually step back and ask if this sort of party excess is about marking an important moment in a child’s life, or about the kids’ parents trying to show off, the answer will likely lead you to the conclusion that ice cream, cake, some inexpensive party favors and good, old fashioned parental pride in the form of a hug and an off-key yet hardy rendition of, “Happy Birthday” would be a better idea than fine china and an amusement park for a 1-year-old who may or may not be walking yet.

Lindsay from Suburban Turmoil has an excellent riff on the trend of outrageously extravagant pediatric parties.

E-mail Meredith

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