When did every moment become “a thing”? And why does it have to be so over the top? I blame social platforms – because how would you fuel FOMO if you didn’t have an insta-worthy photos?
But it goes back farther than that. It used to be called “keeping up with the Joneses.” I first noticed it when my boys were little (they are now 18 and 19).
Kid’s birthday parties with the inflatable castle, magician and goody bags. A full meal plus cake and ice cream. Beverages for kids and all the adults. What ever happened to *just* ice cream and cake? And maybe a trip to the pool or a simple run through the sprinklers if it’s in the summer?
Then came the social-worthy “asks” to dances.
Kids make up signs with some clever play on words, show up at the house, make the “ask” and then post on social. This seems like it would be stressful for both the asker and the askee. What if they said no? I’ve been told that the asker has already asked the askee, so this is “just for show.” For who? You? Your friends? The insta-verse? I mean, if you’ve already asked, why make a big production of it? 🙄
Then once the big day arrives, it’s not enough to take pictures at someone’s house. You actually “go somewhere cool” to take pictures. A park with a fountain. Cool art deco downtown facade. On a brick street in old town or in front of a cool mural. So I guess my prom photo taken on the driveway of may house with the gray minivan in the background is lame.
Now it’s on to graduation parties. I don’t remember anyone having graduation parties in the early 90s. You felt the excitement of the last day of school – maybe even celebrated with a burger and shake from Braum’s. Then you attended the graduation ceremony and maybe went out and celebrated with friends after. End of story.
Now it’s a party with themed food stations like popcorn, cereal, or cookie bars. Speciality drinks from Italian soda to coffee. Gourmet pizza. Huge collages of every picture, from every event from birth til now (because we have thousands of pictures of our sweet children). A graduation video. Yard signs. Balloons. College gear. A scrap book of assignments from learning colors in kindergarten to a senior research paper and everything in between.
Do graduates really want this? Or is it a way to see how many “friends” they can get to show up at their event? Or is this another way to upload fun pics to their social accounts?
Last year, kid #1 graduated. He had an open house at a local restaurant with three other friends. Then we had a low-key open house later with close friends and family in our garage. And it was fine.
This year, kid #2 had his open house at home too. In the garage. Here’s a picture.
I hung up plastic tablecoths to hide our “stuff,” got a few color coordinated plates and napkins, served a few desserts and drinks and called it good. I printed out some pictures, found some fun projects from his school days and set them out.
I’m not going into gender reveal parties, baby showers, sprinkle shower and other celebrations I don’t even know about yet. Maybe this GenXer is just becoming a grump and I need to embrace all the fun. Maybe I’m just wishing for a simpler time…