Frequently asked questions

What kind of organization is Birthdays Without Pressure?

Actually, we are not really an “organization,” just an informal group of parents and professionals who came together to start a local national conversation on what’s happened to birthday parties. We have no formal membership, no bylaws, no chapters, and no budget. 

Are you a support group?

No. We are a citizen action group.  We don’t meet primarily to help each other (although that happens) but to make a difference in our community and nation.

Aren’t there bigger problems in the world than birthday parties?

Absolutely. It’s just that we see out of control birthday parties as a symptom of a larger problem: the consumer culture of excess and entitlement.  Plus it’s a problem that we have some leverage to address from our corner of the world. 

Isn’t this just a middle class problem?

That’s a common misconception.  Take a look on the related research section of the website for a study of low income mothers who feel pressure to spend more resources than they have on their children’s birthday parties.

Is it just an American problem?

We wish it were. We have heard from people all over the industrialized world who are facing similar pressures. 

Do you have a political agenda?

No.  We see this problem as crossing political and ideological lines, and our group is diverse politically.  Raising children wisely in a too much of everything world is not a red or blue issue.

Why do we need a group like yours to tell people what they should do on their own—if they had backbone?

First of all, we are not telling people what they should do; we have no prescriptions for what is the right party.  But we do believe that many parents can benefit from conversation about what’s happened to community norms for birthday parties.  We don’t think it’s a backbone problem of individual parents as much as “bracket creep” of doing a bit more each year as community expectations increase, and then trying to figure out how to tone things down.

Why don’t you take on other problems like Christmas excess?

Be our guest. We encourage anyone who wants to tackle Christmas or any other area of excess to get mobilized.  We have our hands full with birthday parties.

How can I get involved in changing standards in my community?

Send people to this website, talk with a few parents who you think share your values, suggest modest changes first, be an example of the parties you hope will take hold in your community, and spread the conversation.
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