We don't do "friend parties" in our family. We invite my parents over for presents and cake, but that's it. We tried a friend party when Rob turned 5, and it was so unpleasant I don't know if we'll ever do it again. MAYBE when the kids turn 10 or some other special birthday. Maybe.
Occasionally Rob or William will get invited to a classmate's party. They go. They have a nice time. Everyone knows that "not everyone gets invited to every party," so I don't worry that we don't reciprocate by inviting that child to a birthday party.
But ONE family invites William every single year. The birthday boy is someone William went to preschool and kindergarten with, and we see the family every year at the pool for swimming lessons. This is the situation that's starting to make me feel uncomfortable. Year after year, William goes to this other child's party, but we never invite that child to a party of William's.
We don't know the parents well enough for them to know we don't have friend parties, and it's awkward to drop it into the kind of small-talk conversations we have with them. One thing I've considered doing is asking the mom for some advice about friend parties, and then explaining by saying we've never done one. That would ease my mind a little: I don't want her to think we have any reason for not inviting her son.
In the meantime, what we've done is send a good present. I spend about half again what I would usually spend.
I've wondered, though, if this year we ought to decline the invitation? I don't know if they might be asking us because they feel obligated (their son always asks William at the pool if he can come to the party), and if they'd be relieved if we declined? Or if declining would be like saying, "Not only don't we invite your son, we also don't let our son go to your son's party." Plus, the one time we DID throw a friend party, I was wringing my hands over the possibility that people wouldn't want to come.
The other child's birthday is coming up, so I'm facing the usual decision.
Gift ideas for an 8-year-old, part 2 of 2 - Last week I talked about the gifts we were getting/considering for Edward, who is turning 8 next month. This week it’s Elizabeth’s turn: not “girl gifts,” ...