Once upon a simpler time, I enjoyed birthday parties. Whether it was my mom bringing cupcakes and ice-cream to school or her baking the cake at home, I had a good time. For our at-home birthday parties, the decorations were simple; party hats, blowers, twisted streamers, a matching table cloth, and balloons that were unknowingly filled with a mixture of saliva and hot breath. The menu consisted of hot dogs on buns, cheese "sprayed" on buttery Ritz crackers, tuna salad spread across the same, chips poured into a bowl or two, candy mixes, sweet and swirly ice-cream punch, and of course the main course - the cake. The cake was not fancy. There was no super fantastic decoration, just "Happy Birthday" and the name of the birthday child. And no one was able to cut the name; it was to be refrigerated for later. (Not sure why. It was just the thing to do.) The guests were family members who outnumbered your actual friends. Either way, everyone had fun. Even the birthday kid, who received a few dollars and a few gifts, had an exciting time. The children ran around and played and exerted themselves, while the adults engaged in adult talk, beverages, and maybe a spades game. The party was about the people and the love and enjoyment of being together. It wasn't about extravagance and appearance. It wasn't about your parents showing off for the guests or strangers via social media. It wasn't about how much money was spent to impress anyone. The pre-internet birthday parties were amazing because they were intimate gatherings where everyone knew exactly why they were there - for the birthday child. Once the party was over and everyone had gone home, it was all about the next kid and their birthday because you got the chance to do it all again.
What's a memory you have of "pre-internet" birthday parties?