Author Topic: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?  (Read 5149 times)

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Take2

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Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« on: January 10, 2014, 10:57:05 AM »
DS is turning 6 this weekend, and he is a very social little boy who wanted to invite the universe to his party. We sent out 25 invitations, and got 14 RSVP of yes. Every child who is a close friend of his RSVPed yes. But the scary thing is that I got absolutely zero RSVPs of no. The kids who didn't reply are classmates DS likes fine, but is not especially close to. So I am not sure how to estimate. Every year, we have at least 1-2 kids show up with no response beforehand. I have always had some "no" responses before, too, though.

So we have somewhere between 15 and 26 children coming. I did homemade candy for goodie bags and there are 15, I am out of supplies. I made enough cake for an army and I won't turn an invited child away, so we can handle 26 kids and their parents if that and I will pay the venue fee for surprise kids. But if there are more kids than goodie bags, what do I say to the bonus kids? I wouldn't feel bad except the one who gets hurt isn't the one responsible for RSVPing, you know? Plus my son will be sad if a guest doesn't get a goodie bag. Ugh.

TurtleDove

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2014, 11:06:51 AM »
Personally, I would have skipped the goodie bags altogether!  You could call the parents of the non-responders if you really wanted a solid number though.

Take2

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 11:23:54 AM »
I don't have the phone numbers of the non-responders. All the neighbor friends and kids we do playdates with and know outside school said yes. The non-responders are all classmates whose parents I don't know personally. We have to invite all or nobody at school, and he gets along fine with all the kids and likes them and wanted to invite everyone, so we did. We were fine with everyone coming, though the "yes" list is definitely all DS' favorite people.

I like doing goodie bags, DS likes giving something nice to his friends. And it is socially expected in this area. I just haven't ever had such a large unknown quantity before.

123sandy

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 11:30:05 AM »
I'm glad my kids have grown out of the birthday party/goodie bag age! What we always did was have at least as many goodie bags as invitees, extras were always on hand for little siblings. Once we invited 25 kids and gave out 34 goodie bags...

Aquamarine

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2014, 11:44:07 AM »
I see you having 3 choices:

Turn people away at the door with an explanation.

Get the supplies and make more goodie bags.

Explain the situation to your son and tell him what may happen, that only those who responded will get goodie bags.  Tell him this is the consequence of not RSVPing or bringing along uninvited guests, like siblings.

You seem to not want to ruffle any feathers or cause bad feelings.  If this is indeed the case then the path of least resistance is to get more goodie bags.  You could purchase the supplies, and return them if unneeded.  Would it be possible to enlist a friend to make up more bags in a discrete spot at the last minute if needed?  This should take a minimal amount of time to accomplish.

Please keep in mind what you are teaching your son.  You are teaching him that other people don't need to use manners or follow the rules and everyone around them will just carry on as if nothing happened.  You are also passing on the message that no one needs to be accountable.  Yes, he is young, no he doesn't want to hurt people's feelings but there is a valuable lesson for him to learn here and one he will remember his whole life.  Young children remember and internalize the lessons they are taught, once they get a bit older they tend to think adults know nothing.

IMHO one of the most valuable lessons in life are learned by letting your children suffer or see others suffer the consequences of their actions from a young age.  Parents can teach these life lessons or life itself will eventually teach them.  Life as a teacher can be a very harsh and heartless one indeed.  It seems many parents are OK with their children learning things this way.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2014, 11:49:02 AM by Rosewater »
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

metallicafan

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2014, 12:00:13 PM »
I see you having 3 choices:

Turn people away at the door with an explanation.

Get the supplies and make more goodie bags.

Explain the situation to your son and tell him what may happen, that only those who responded will get goodie bags.  Tell him this is the consequence of not RSVPing or bringing along uninvited guests, like siblings.

You seem to not want to ruffle any feathers or cause bad feelings.  If this is indeed the case then the path of least resistance is to get more goodie bags.  You could purchase the supplies, and return them if unneeded.  Would it be possible to enlist a friend to make up more bags in a discrete spot at the last minute if needed?  This should take a minimal amount of time to accomplish.

Please keep in mind what you are teaching your son.  You are teaching him that other people don't need to use manners or follow the rules and everyone around them will just carry on as if nothing happened.  You are also passing on the message that no one needs to be accountable.  Yes, he is young, no he doesn't want to hurt people's feelings but there is a valuable lesson for him to learn here and one he will remember his whole life.  Young children remember and internalize the lessons they are taught, once they get a bit older they tend to think adults know nothing.

IMHO one of the most valuable lessons in life are learned by letting your children suffer or see others suffer the consequences of their actions from a young age.  Parents can teach these life lessons or life itself will eventually teach them.  Life as a teacher can be a very harsh and heartless one indeed.  It seems many parents are OK with their children learning things this way.

I totally agree with you that life lessons should be taught, starting at a young age.
But, I'm thinking that in the moment of the goody bags being passed out, that the children who don't end up receiving one either because they didn't rsvp beforehand,  or they are the younger sibling, these kids naturally will be quite upset and wonder why everyone else got a goody bag and they didn't.   They will not be thinking of life lessons or consequences.   And, if the parents are rude enough to show up without having rsvp'd beforehand or bring siblings, they may very well be ticked off that their kid didn't receive a goody bag.





Aquamarine

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2014, 12:13:31 PM »
This would be unfortunate.  By the parents inaction they are ones subjecting their children to this experience.  This is how the parents are electing to have their children learn about the world.  Yes the kids will be upset but they will also learn the lesson that if people don't think you are coming to an event you will not be included.  Not all lessons are pleasantly learned.

Giving something to the children whose parents did not respond just reinforces in the parents that RSVPing is old fashioned, stupid and something that no one does.  This is the lesson they will pass on to their kids.

Doing what appears to be the gracious and easy thing will make everything smooth but by doing that negative lessons are being strongly reinforced.

This is a very good example of why small BD parties are desirable and only for those whose personal info you have so you can call and nag the parents into giving you a yes or no.  The rule of thumb is as many guests as the kids age.
Always be polite, even to nasty people. Not because they are nice, but because you are.

metallicafan

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 12:20:22 PM »
This would be unfortunate.  By the parents inaction they are ones subjecting their children to this experience.  This is how the parents are electing to have their children learn about the world.  Yes the kids will be upset but they will also learn the lesson that if people don't think you are coming to an event you will not be included.  Not all lessons are pleasantly learned.

Giving something to the children whose parents did not respond just reinforces in the parents that RSVPing is old fashioned, stupid and something that no one does.  This is the lesson they will pass on to their kids.

Doing what appears to be the gracious and easy thing will make everything smooth but by doing that negative lessons are being strongly reinforced.

This is a very good example of why small BD parties are desirable and only for those whose personal info you have so you can call and nag the parents into giving you a yes or no.  The rule of thumb is as many guests as the kids age.


I do agree with the principle of what your saying.  I was just saying what I thought could happen.

I am the only one amongst my social group who doesn't do goody bags.

jillybean

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2014, 12:32:07 PM »
My kids are past the big birthday party stage, thankfully, but the status quo seemed to be that if people weren't going to come, they didn't RSVP.  Not saying that's right, but that's pretty much how it worked.  I would always have a few extra goody bags just in case.
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Take2

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2014, 12:37:06 PM »
This is the first year that DS has really paid attention to the inner workings of his party. He asked about goodie bags and the amount of cake. He discussed with one friend who said he was attending but mother hadn't called, so I explained the idea of RSVP and the difficult concept that while it is HIS party, I am the host and parents have to call me if their child wants to come.

I made 15 goodie bags when the RSVP stood at 12 kids, since the supplies and effort for 1-15 were the same. Three late RSVPs leave me with an exact number if I give a bag to each of my own children as well. Now the supplies and effort for 16-30 are also the same, and I am strongly leaning toward sticking with what we have.  My kids would be ecstatic if I made more homemade candy, especially if it wasn't needed. But I also want to find a balance between teaching my kids grace and responsibility. Either way, I will talk to them afterward about how it plays out.

As for number of kids, my DD forms deep friendships with a few close confidants. She will probably have 6 girls come to her 8th birthday party in the spring. My DS is very social and makes many close friends wherever he goes. To him, having a party with lots of friends was more important than getting a single present.

TootsNYC

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2014, 01:26:34 PM »

Explain the situation to your son and tell him what may happen, that only those who responded will get goodie bags.  Tell him this is the consequence of not RSVPing or bringing along uninvited guests, like siblings.


Can we make some sort of universe-wide announcement: "If you don't RSVP yes, your child won't get a goody bag"?

Maybe we should each contact all the PTAs and PTOs and church groups and daycares, etc., etc., in our neighborhood and ask them to inform their members: "The Universal Rule now is: if someone does not RSVP for a birthday party, their child will not get a goody bag. Hosts are responsible for enforcing this; compliance is mandatory. Generosity will not be allowed." Then when we've trained people for, oh, about 15 years, people can start having extras again, and generosity will be optional. (which means we'll have to do this again in about 25 years, but at least it's a start!



Quote
IMHO one of the most valuable lessons in life are learned by letting your children suffer or see others suffer the consequences of their actions from a young age.  Parents can teach these life lessons or life itself will eventually teach them.  Life as a teacher can be a very harsh and heartless one indeed.  It seems many parents are OK with their children learning things this way.

Or, you could take each apparent aside and say, "I'm so sorry we don't have a goody bag for your child. You didn't RSVP, and I thought you weren't coming. Will you please explain things to your child?" Let them deal with it.

Though I might also say to the kid, "I'm sorry, sweetie--your mom didn't call to tell me you were coming, so I didn't know! Next time, have her call, so the birthday boy can be sure to make a goody bag for you."

Hmmmmm

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2014, 01:33:02 PM »
My rule when we did large bday parties was to plan for 80% attendance no matter what the RSVP.  So if we invited 25 kids in the class I bought supplies for 20. And I did always end up with a couple of extras.

But if you can't buy the supplies for exact same goody bags, I'd put together 5 different goody bags that could be saved for another purpose if you don't use them. Maybe a sugar free option for kids who's parents aren't thrilled with candy.

MurPl1

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2014, 01:34:22 PM »
I have another suggestion, and not knowing the logistics involved may be more work than you are up for.

You say the Yes RSVPs are all the close friends.  Could you not do goodie bags at the party and then do a round of dropping them off to the ones who did RSVP?  If you have anyone actually mention it to you, you can explain that the lack of RSVPs made it impossible to do at the party.  Those who do RSVP will probably get it since they've likely had a similar issue. 

If anyone who didn't RSVP mentions goodie bags at the party is gauche enough to ask where they are, you can always respond that lack of RSVPs made that difficult so you opted not to have goodie bags at the party.  Let them ponder that.

Around here the kids either all live in this same subdivision or in the next one over and distributing 15 goodie bags would take about an hour.  But I do get that other places may be different and that might actually not be how you want to spend a weekend hour. :)

Mikayla

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2014, 01:38:14 PM »

Can we make some sort of universe-wide announcement: "If you don't RSVP yes, your child won't get a goody bag"?

(snip)

Or, you could take each apparent aside and say, "I'm so sorry we don't have a goody bag for your child. You didn't RSVP, and I thought you weren't coming. Will you please explain things to your child?" Let them deal with it.

Though I might also say to the kid, "I'm sorry, sweetie--your mom didn't call to tell me you were coming, so I didn't know! Next time, have her call, so the birthday boy can be sure to make a goody bag for you."

On the bolded, I guess I already know the answer, but isn't there a polite way this could be stated on the invite?  I can't think of one that doesn't indirectly insult those who know better, but it seems there should be. 

Anyway, I do like these 2 suggestions on how to handle it.

jayhawk

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Re: Birthday party-any guesses on how many will show up?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2014, 01:50:06 PM »
I know this smacks of "class B guests," but I'd probably go to the $$ store and get a few token items to pass out to the non-rsvp kids.  Still will be hard for the kids to handle, especially since they have no power of whether or not the parents RSVP.  If asked, I guess I'd say something along the lines of "We're so glad you could come, but I didn't know for sure that you were, so I didn't get to make you a goodie bag."