I recently read an article about a really expensive elaborate birthday party that P Diddy held for his son.

I personally think that P Diddy is an uncouth yahoo and his kid in in process to be the same but I offer up this extreme example to illustrate the point that the birthday culture has gotten out of hand.

Many many times my kids have attended birthday parties that must have cost in excess of $500. Parties with clowns, bouncy houses, face painters etc.

You do not have to fall into the material trap of expensive parties. My oldest recently turned 10 and we had a birthday party for less then $50. We had an archery contest, played Madden 2010, had a basketball game, ate burgers, and watched a movie.

Afterwards several parents told me that their kid had reported that the party was as good as any they had been to.

What has your experience been with elaborate and over the top birthday parties?