Too Many Birthdays

Only two months into the year, this blog has opened my eyes to just how many birthday parties we and/or our children attend every year — and how much they cost.

Maybe it’s because I was raised by blue-collar parents in a small West Virginia town, but this reality is a new experience for me. We Glovers and Kernses only had small family affairs on our birthdays. All of the aunts, uncles and cousins came for dinner, cake and ice cream, and only the parents and grandparents of the birthday boys or girls bought gifts.

These days, at least in upper-class Northern Virginia, big parties that extend well beyond the immediate family are the norm. Everyone comes bearing gifts — even when you practically beg them not to — and the host parents are expected to “gift” back by handing out goodie backs.

It’s all, how shall I put it, very taxing.

Yes, it always comes back to taxes on this blog. My daughter Elli went to a party for a fellow Brownie scout today. We paid $15 for CD as a gift; we also had to eat out because we didn’t have time to get home after church and eat before taking Elli to the party.

We paid $2.13 in taxes for the day.

We’ve cut back on the size of the parties for our own children because we don’t want them to be spoiled by all of the gifts they get from other children. The gifts from family and close friends are plenty, and the time we share together is most precious. The taxes incurred for parties is another incentive to think twice about how we celebrate birthdays in the future.

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