Commercial birthday parties considered harmful to children?

About half of the kid birthday parties to which we’ve been invited lately are what might be called “credit card parties” in which a parent gives a credit card to an indoor gym that provides an hour of bouncy fun followed by plain cheese pizza and a nut-free cake served by minimum-wage 19-year-olds.

One of my childhood memories was watching our parents go out at least once a week to a neighbor’s house for a dinner or cocktail party. Virtually every family in the neighborhood was capable of cleaning up the house, putting some frozen pigs-in-blankets into the oven, and pouring out some wine.  Today’s young adults don’t seem to be as capable as hosts as were the 30-somethings of the 1970s.  I’m wondering if the next generation of adults will be even worse because they never got the idea that it is okay to spend more than 60 seconds of effort to host a group of friends.

What do readers think? And what about those of you with kids? Are the kids more or less enthusiastic about going to one of these commercial events compared to going to an artisanally organized party at another child’s home?

Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

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