Friday, January 11, 2008

Amalgamated parties

Tim Harford gets it exactly right about combined birthday parties ...

Dear Economist,
I feel guilty because I paid £200 to co-host a birthday party for my five-year-old with another mother, but got at least £300 of gifts in return. As a guest, I don’t like these parties because you take two gifts in return for only one party bag. But co-hosting is surely a rational thing because you pay half and get a full complement of presents?
South London Mum

Dear SLM,

Congratulations on your move to more efficient birthday parties. It seems to be a happy accident, since you have failed to realise the true scarce resource here. It is not doggy bags or disposable toys, but time. By hosting a joint party with a friend, you are saving time for many parents who would have had to attend two such parties in quick succession. The children may feel hard done by, but then again they may not. Even five-year-olds do not want a party every day.

Indeed, I think we should have one party per year -- a children's day. Think about how great it could be and it would give you back your weekends in this world of increasing class sizes.

Here is a recent post about our amalgamated parties and one about making a profit from a party.