Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Have we gone overboard!!

When I was little, a birthday party was held in your home and your mama thought of a creative idea and planned the party herself. There were no party planners, gourmet cupcakes for $4 a piece, or fancy cookies. In my teens, the cookie company was invented, and sometimes people would serve a cookie cake at their birthday party. My grandmother made most of our cakes and they were absolutely fantastic. The year my brother requested a red cake, she made it. She sometimes bought sweet figurines to put on top, but sometimes it was just a homemade cake with candles. I had english muffin pizza parties, backward parties, and princess parties. Guests enjoyed sack races, putting on makeup at the princess party, and running in the yard. We were happy then!!

Now things are out of control. Birthday parties require expensive invitations, the cuter font the better, and we go ALL out. Now I love a birthday. I have lived long enough to know that there is no guarantee we'll have our next birthday, so I do like to celebrate and honor my children and husband. I take great joy in planning for their birthdays. I have jumped right in there and made CDs for favors for years. However, I am continually amazed at how great the favors are. A CD is one thing. It takes a lot of time to make it, and you have to buy cds and covers, but it is not an overly expensive favor. I have been to some birthday parties where the favor was nicer than the gift we brought!! We're talking fairy wands, ice cream gift cards, bubbles, bags, etc. We women have put ourselves in a bad position. We have gone completely overboard. There is nothing wrong with a birthday party with a theme. I go crazy for a theme. My favorite party that I have given for our children was the triplets Bugs and Butterflies party where I made bug food, had a bug parade, and made yellow jacket t-shirts and gave out butterfly wings. It was in our yard and so much fun. Having triplets, we've had some very nice parties because I can justify hiring a horse & carriage or having Roger Day come sing... three children share the party. But I continue to be amazed at the way we women are making ourselves compete and spend more and more.

The world has gone crazy. When I worked briefly at Quintessentials, a fine china, crystal, and gift store, I was amazed that a local hairdresser WAS REGISTERED so that his clients could buy him china for Christmas. What??? Are you kidding me? If I am paying high prices for haircuts, I can't afford to give you china!!! If my family is not given fine china, then I certainly can't give it to my hairdresser! I do believe in tips. People who serve deserve something for their service. I just think things are out of control. We treat our military terribly, we pay our teachers nothing, and yet we give someone who cuts our hair once a month some fine china for Christmas. What does this say about our integrity?

Teacher gifts are another example. When I taught school, my "gift" was a sweet note from my students. I didn't receive gift cards and massages!! School ends for us this week. Now I LOVE our teachers. I am so very thankful for them. For this reason, I try to give them small gifts throughout the year such as a surprise lunch or a Diet Coke or Starbucks gift card. We are giving our teacher a special book that I made on behalf of our class. It is a hardback coffee table book and I think she'll love it. I want to give my teachers all that I can. However, at some point, we need to calm down a little bit! We're going broke giving gifts to every person in the school. I'm not saying they don't deserve our appreciation because they do. Teacher Appreciation was a week and a half ago and all staff was honored. I think it's okay to give a teacher a baked good or a note from your child at the end of the year. Or, teachers can always use money, so a cash gift from the class is nice. I do think we should honor our teachers and give what we can. Nonetheless, when we are going broke giving gifts, we need to step back and re-evaluate. We can't keep up with the Joneses. It's okay to give the most that you can but not more than you can. What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Hi Mrs. Henley,

I have been following your blog for the past few months and you have served as a huge inspiration to me! Your devotion to your family and faith is so incredible. I just started a blog called "My Mother's Daughter." I am a rising college senior at the University of the South (Sewanee) in Tennessee but my family resides in GA. Would you mind sending me your email? I've looked for it on the blog but couldn't find it. I think that you could be a huge help to me spiritually because you give wonderful advice on your blog. I need God in my life now more than ever. My email is kmckemie@gmail.com

Have a wonderful day,

Deelsu said...

I agree with everything you have said!
Especially in these economic times - you would think people/women would quit trying to impress and get back to basics..family.
It's not about things but more about the love and thought.
thanks for the post.

Melissa said...

Amen, sister! I agree we've gotten a little out of hand and forgotten that, especially for kids, sometimes less is more!

Heather said...

So true!

EKM said...

This past christmas, my alma mater where my sister still attends decided (via PTO) to do a gift card to each teacher. So your student/child donated $X and an even portion was given to each of their teachers. Worked out well from what I hear. My mom always made sweets for my teachers and then sometimes if I really liked the teacher, or the teacher helped me out in a desperate situation (my school was legit college prep) we did something nicer (i.e. nail gift certificate or restaurant, etc) but I agree completely. Some of these mom's go over the top and it's really not fair to the other students whose parents either don't have time or the money!!!!

pink green & southern said...

I couldn't agree with you more!!! And that hairdresser story? The craziest, scariest thing I have ever heard.

Domestic Diva said...

I totally agree, we were just required to give a big cash amount to our teachers. This being the second time for the school year.
I gave my money and by mistake received an e-mail saying that they did not receive the money. I was Shocked as not only had I given... I thought this was the rudest e-mail. There were numerous names..this got me thinking...maybe some could not give...why would you point this out? I must add this is a private school..where we already pay a tuition.
As for birthday party... I have attended some that are nicer then some weddings I have attended.
We always take the girls away on a birthday trip.
xxx me

Henley on the Horn said...

Domestic Diva, I can't read your blog! Will you send me an invite to ahp5@aol.com THANK YOU!