It doesn't take much, really: a cool place to hang out with some friends, a little entertainment and a steady supply of snacks. When it comes to parties, kids are easy to please. Bigger isn't better or necessarily more memorable – just pricier. More and more parents are realizing that they don’t need to break the bank to bring down the house.
Take Joyce Scharf of Montreal West, for example. All she needed to plan her two daughters' bat mitzvah parties was the local greasy spoon, a karaoke machine and some hot dogs and fries. Joyce didn't need to shell out a small fortune to make the celebrations special. "It was about the essence of the party, not the excess," she says. "We were going to celebrate, but we wanted to do it in a way that was meaningful."
That's the spirit more and more families are embracing today. So long, lavish loot bags and over-the-top fêtes. Meaningful and easy on the wallet is the new mantra for celebrating our kids' special occasions, be it a birthday, bar mitzvah, confirmation or graduation.
The shift in the economy is only one reason for this trend, says Michelle Gibson of Par-T-Perfect, an event-planning franchise on Bowen Island, B.C. Parents are also reassessing the lessons they want to give their kids, and asking themselves whether they should be teaching their kids that how you remember an occasion is more important than what you spend on it. "There's still pressure to keep up with the Joneses," says Terry Carson, a parenting coach in Toronto. "But parties should [speak] to your core values. And at the end of the day, you want something fun."
Page 1 of 5 – Learn why the diner bat mitzvahs were such a hit on page 2.