Friday, April 10, 2009

Party thoughts

When did party favors turn into loot bags?

This morning, we were thinking about our own birthday parties - many years ago. I remember that at each person's place at the table was one of those crinkly paper cups. The kind we use now for making muffins but then I had only ever saw them around cupcakes. Muffins hadn't taken over the world yet and icing was a Good Thing.

My mom would put a small amount of candy in each cup. In my memory, it was always dolly mixture and I looked forward to finding the reddish-brown ones with the spikes all around. They reminded me when I was a kid of the spiky knob at the end of a cartoon caveman's club . This small amount of candy was what each guest took home from the party. It was a table decoration and to eat it at the party would have been bad manners.

How did such a humble 'thank-you-for-coming-to-my party' ever escalate to the costly offerings we see at events today. Did birthday parties become so boring that friends need a bribe to even show up? Is there some kind of quid pro quo at work? Is the party favor commensurate with the gift expected? Is there a kind of party favor competition among the parents? Or maybe it's because we think it's not fair that the birthday boy or girl gets all the gifts that day. Do the kids even care?

We've come a long way from that white paper cup holding a few cheap candies.

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