To party or not to party?

A month or two ago, I notice from the updates of a friend’s FB page that she had been attending quite a number of baby’s one-year old birthday parties. Judging from the pictures she posted online, these were big bashes held at either a hotel venue or own homes.

There were dessert tables, entertainers for the kids like face painting, balloon sculpting, and bouncy castle, and even door gifts for the guests. Door gifts which are packed nicely in fancy paper bags! This is even better than company dinner and dance or prom night, it’s like attending the Oscar.

According to the friend, the cost of renting one hotel venue alone is S$7,000. (US$1 = S$1.24) On top of this, there’re costs for entertainers and the fancy food. At one particular party, the parents ordered mountains of cupcakes and macarons from this artisan bakery shop, ET Artisan Sweets. I was taken aback, wondering if the one-year old was fed sugar, but was told the sweets are for those two years and above. (I was advised to remove previous picture and replace with a publicly available dessert table picture that is somewhat similar to the actual one. But this public picture doesn’t match the ostentatious display of the actual.)


Admittedly the pastries look really pretty and very tempting. But that’s a titanic load of sugar on that table! I won’t go on about adults chomping on the desserts, but young kids getting addicted to sugar is a different matter altogether. I’m not saying the kiddos should avoid sugar since there’s sugar in fruits as well, but the amount is really moderate. Macarons and cupcakes, on the other hand, are to kids what crack is to an addict. The combination of sugar and fat is a lethal one, since the sugar makes a person feels non-satiated and so consume more.

Anyway this post is not on healthy eating, though this is a concern when organizing a child’s birthday party. What are you going to serve at the party that is healthy and yet will tempt the kids and adults alike? But the bigger question for me is do I want to organize a party for Buddy’s first birthday? It didn’t take me very long to decide though and my answer is no.

I think my husband and I are the pragmatic sort. We don’t see the point of having a birthday bash for Buddy when he wouldn’t remember anything at this age and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this party and another fun session. Sure there are pictures and perhaps some special commemorating item. But to me, pictures are different from memories. The child may or may not look at the pictures again. In fact it’s more likely the parents, especially the mothers, who will be going down memory lane. On the other hand, memory stays inside you, deep inside your subconscious mind.

I rather that Buddy has a birthday bash which we can organize together, and at the same time get to develop his organizing and decision-making skills. This will make for a memorable celebration, which is more gratifying. Expectedly this can only happen when the child is slightly older, which I think 3 years old is a start.

My husband thinks that parents who spent so much on a child’s first birthday is like someone who takes up a big loan to buy a fancy car in Singapore. (For crying out loud, the price of a BMW 5 series sedan is almost S$268,000 for the cheapest sub-model.) Like the car, the party is a source of comparison. This is especially so in certain mommy groups, where keeping up with the Joneses has turned into a petty competition. It makes you wonder if the birthday bash is for the child or is it really for the parents? Sure you can have another birthday bash which you can organize with the kiddo when the precious one turns 3. But why not save the money for the first birthday bash and put it into good use that helps the child in his or her development? After all, most of us have limited resources and even if resources are plentiful, it pays to be use them wisely.

So for Buddy’s first birthday, we will have a family celebration. I will also get some snacks and small gifts for the teachers and other babes at the infant care center for them to celebrate with him. Now I’ve to wreck my brain to get some healthy and tasty snacks for the little ones.


22 thoughts on “To party or not to party?

      • If you care about self-esteem then don’t cheap out on that poor child. He may not remember his one year old party but everyone around him will. This is no time to be cheapskate. He only turn one once in his lifetime.

      • I seriously don’t get your flawed logic.

        Had anybody ever tell you they had a great time at your one-year birthday party? For that matter, have you ever heard anyone telling someone this? It’s not that my son may not remember, it’s a definite NO he will not remember.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • To follow up on my previous comment, the birthday celebration is for my son, it doesn’t matter if people around him remembers if he had a one-year old birthday bash. To be honest, I seriously doubt if these same people, other than the parents, would remember for long.

        This talk about about self esteem of a one year old baby is irrelevant because he doesn’t even know the meaning of the word.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Hey?? Hello?? Ok so, mother of the year, so holier and better than everyone, so answer me this. Who died and made you party moral police??

  1. 1yo nothing much to eat when it comes to snacks. Sme of his frds may be younger than him. I think yogurt melts and happy baby’s munches are good choices. 🙂
    Very headache planning baby’s party, we had a buffet for our relatives and a cake for the lil one during her first birthday…cost around $700 in all, venue at our place as its more convenient esp young one need her nap etc. now I’m scratching head for her coming 2nd bd. probably will bring her to hello kitty at JB. Less hassle to get n trouble relatives to come over. I hope you lil boy will have a great celebration with daddy mummy. 🙂

    • Hi Jasmine,

      Good to know that you’re practical and realized that there’s no point splurging so much on the one-year BD celebration. Agree with you that it’s not easy planning a party and it’s so funny that the baby is oblivious to the celebration.

      Anyway thank you for the suggestion on baby food. I’ve also thought of yoghurt. I think Yoplait may be a good choice. I’ve thought of taking the little one to the zoo, especially to see the pandas. But my husband wonders if he’ll appreciate the animals. Perhaps the little train ride at Vivocity.

      Thank you also for the good wishes and I also hope your baby girl has a fun time at the hello Kitty theme park. Think she should be old enough to have a good time.


      Sent from my iPhone

      • He will enjoy the zoo trip better than you and ur Hb, lol
        This age their memory is very good too, a good chance to expose him to the plenty animals in zoo. You will be surprised how much he picks up. May the day be sunny for your family outing. 🙂

      • Hi Jasmine,

        You mean at one-year old the baby is able to remember the animals? I think my husband and I will also enjoy the zoo trip. He has only been there once and even then, he didn’t even get to see all the animals. What I’m concerned about is the warm weather. My son is a temperate weather child; he doesn’t take the heat well. When we took him to the botanic garden during Chinese New Year, I had to hold an umbrella over him. And when we were at the cafe, we couldn’t get an indoor table, so my husband and I took turns to cuddle him under the aircon vent. I have been trying to find a mini fan that can attached to the stroller, but unfortunately it’s sold out wherever I look. Let me know if you know of any shop selling it. Thanks.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Yes! They remember la!! Not all but a few..those that you taught or show before. Those new ones they come across they will try to absorb new Infos…
        Like sounds of animals etc.

        At 12mo, my girl liked spiders, giraffe, elephants, monkeys, dogs (we have 2), cats, neighbour’s hamsters, birds, butterflies…expose expose! ..but before going on the trip I did show her pictures book, started introducing to her when shes 6mo. U underestimated Alex Liao!! He can remember your Tom cat for example…and when you show him the real cat he will likely go CAT! Meow! (If you teach him). I showed my lil one YouTube clips of the real animals too and daily walks to let her explore.

        Usually the lil babies Alex age will absorb so fast u just need to show once or twice and they get it- outdoors still the best even it’s just a walk in the park nearby.
        Hey…try Barney ABC DVD. I’m gg to get it later too. Saw laser flair shop selling ard $10. Or u try to watch on YouTube and see what u think. Lots of songs and animals.
        Wear cooling clothes, singlet with lots of mozzies repellant helps. I saw those fan at metro too, home fix has too. My girl never likes them, will try to pull it out to play instead, so when we go to such places, it’s sleeveless.

      • Jasmine, You’re right. I should give more credit to baby Alex. We don’t have pets at home but he has seen dogs at the park near our house, and he’s fascinated by flying birds. I haven’t used the flash cards much on Alex,; instead it’s mostly singalong to kiddy songs, Dr Suess’ E-books. Alex likes interactive staff, and so still pictures don’t engage him. But we bought this mobile play-pen which has sounds of various farm animals. During the initial days he kept pressing the various sounds because he was fascinated by them.

        To be honest, I don’t like Barney, so I’m using alternatives. But yes we’ve decided to take him to the zoo. I’ll take your lead and show him pictures of the animals before the trip.

        Thanks for the info on where to get the mini fans. I’ll check out metro and home-fix.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • Hi Maria,
        W too changed our plans and will be bringing my lil one to the zoo on her birthday. Checked with the zoo and got this so I thought share with you. 😀

        Dear Jasmine

        Sure we will highlight to the restaurant on your request. ( we planning a buffet breakfast with the orang Utans and asked if we could rqt a table nearer)

        Please find the in-house birthday perks of our park:-


        Guests who visit the Park on their birthdays will receive complimentary admission, 10% off retail and F&B spending (not valid for the Jungle Breakfast Program) plus a FREE slice of cake! To enjoy all these perks on their birthdays, guests only need to present an identification document in exchange for a free Wild Birthday badge.

        Terms and conditions:
        · To present proof of identification.
        · Applicable to Singaporeans and PRs only.
        · Valid on date of birthday only.
        · 10% discount applies to regular priced items only at participating retail and F&B outlets. Not valid for any other discounts.
        · Proof of identification is required to redeem the “Wild Birthday” badge.
        · Not inclusive of tram rides.

        Thank you and please feel free to contact us should you require further assistance.

      • Hi Jasmine,

        Thanks for the info. I checked out the Singapore zoo website and found that admission is free for children below 3 years old. So I guess for your daughter (coming to 2?) and my son, the free admission on their birthdays doesn’t matter. And also you won’t get to see the Giant pandas from the zoo. Instead visitors have to go to the newly opened River Safari to visit the panda park. The admission ticket for the river safari is $25 per adult. But if you get a 2-in-1 ticket, i.e. zoo and river safari, you pay a discounted price of $39. However I also found out that visitors have to book viewing time slot for the pandas at the booking kiosk. Each slot is 15 minutes. So before you buy the river safari ticket, make sure there are slots available for the viewing.

        Sent from my iPhone

  2. My rule-of-thumb is to just celebrate all and any occasions. That way the child doesn’t feel deprived and you can never go wrong. What’s a little money in exchange for the happiness for your child?

    • Hi Verma,

      A one-year baby doesn’t even understand what is a birthday, and so how would he or she feels deprived? And how does the baby know the difference between a birthday party that the parents spent $10,000 or $1000 on it? That’s why it begs the question, is the splurging for the baby or is it really for the ego of the parents?

      And I’m not even saying not to celebrate birthdays but to be selective. I’m happy to throw a fun-filled birthday bash for my boy when he’s 3 years old and able to participate in the planning, and let me know his preferences. But until then, I think it makes good sense to have a celebration within the family whom the baby knows these are people who love him very much. To be honest, the celebration at the infant care center is more for the teachers and the older kids there. So that really wasn’t for the baby, who again, won’t know the significance.


      Sent from my iPhone

      • Hi Maria,

        I do think a toddler knows when he/she is being loved. And I do think a celebration in the name of the child is always a good thing. I do not know how you were raised but when I was growing up, we always celebrate every occasion. I mean isn’t it a little hypocritical to demean parents who have parties for one-year and two-year-olds but not for three-year-olds and above? To me, mother of three beautiful children, it is very odd to “selectively” deprive them of such childhood memories. I hope you are understanding my point.

        On the question of money of course you can do what you can afford and also how many people and close friends you have. What you consider is splurging may be just a normal party for them. Some even do it in public venues like Macdonalds or places like go-go-bambini etc.

      • Hi Verma,

        I don’t get your points. I’ve repeatedly said so that a one or two years old child doesn’t remember birthday celebrations, especially for the former who doesn’t even understand the concept of birthday. So how does it “selectively” deprived him or her of the memory? Like I mentioned in another comment, did anybody come to you and said, “I had a great time at your one year old birthday”? No, these people don’t even remember, and I bet you can’t remember what happened when you were one. Sure you look back at pictures, but the memory isn’t inside you.

        But you and another reader, who criticized me for being cheapskate, totally missed the more important point when I said the one-year old party has turned into a game of keeping up with the joneses. Sure, paying $7,000 for the venue is “normal” spending for some, so is shopping for 20 Hermes bags for oneself. It smacks of ostentation, and I seriously wonder what value the parents are passing to the kids. Do we seriously want a society where people are trying to compare with each other the party they organize, the schools they go or the car they drive?

        Sent from my iPhone

  3. To a 1yr old, spending precious time with his loved ones is definitely much better than spending time with his mummy’s pals (read:strangers)! So why cook up a huge party when the little dude cannot even recall much?! :p

    • That’s what I’ve been repeating to those who disagree. Worse are those parents, particularly mommies, who compare the parties they hold. That would be the beginning, next they compare the pre-schools the kids go to, the elementary schools, the high schools, etc.

      Sent from my iPhone

  4. Hi. I chanced upon your website and just wanted to comment that one year old baby bash is more often for the mommy rather than baby. We had a marvelous one at Crescent Ballroom some time ago. There was no venue charge, only headcount charges, which I think is standard here. Ours was about 9k, inclusive of the 3k theme package. The evening was wonderfully done and everyone had a great time. Cheers.

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