'Birthday parties today too expensive'

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
May 24, 2011, 10:51 PM GMT+0

Forty percent of British parents with children under 18 admit to feeling pressured into organising more extravagant birthday parties for their children than they would like to, according to our research for children’s charity Lumos, which is launching a birthday awareness campaign for deprived Eastern European children.

  • 40% of British parents with children under 18 say they feel pressure to organise more extravagant birthday parties for their children
  • 66% believe that children’s birthday parties have become too expensive compared to five years ago
  • 42% revealed that they had spent between £100 and £500 on their children’s birthday parties in the last year alone
  • Compared to 13% of British parents who had spent £50 or less in the past year
  • 21% of British children under 18 went to over six parties in the past year
  • 7% of children went to 11 or more
  • While 25% of parents surveyed said they’d spent over £100 on presents for their children’s friends in the last year, with some (1%) revealing that they had spent over £1000

International Children’s Day

The findings help highlight the work of the charity, founded by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling ('lumos' is a spell which creates light, in the much-loved books and films), which is launching its Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos on 1st June to raise awareness of the plight of hundreds of thousands of children in Central and Eastern European institutions, many of whom do not even know their actual date of birth and who are unable to celebrate their individual birthdays.

Georgette Mulheir, chief executive of Lumos, says, ‘Across Central and Eastern Europe, 1st June is celebrated as International Children’s Day and is the day that many institutions celebrate the birthdays of the hundreds of children within them. This means that institutions are doing something for the children, but in terms of each child’s personal identity, it is yet another way of destroying and dismantling it.’

Lighting the candles

‘Parents in the UK are under increasing pressure to spend more and more money on birthday parties for their children and their children’s friends. While we are in no way criticising mums and dads for celebrating their children’s birthdays, the results of this research highlight the huge disparity between what our children have here in the UK, compared with the many thousands of youngsters who live just a few hundred miles away.’

Broadcaster Kirsty Young, who is supporting the campaign, added: ‘As a mum of two girls I know the joy that a birthday brings. This June, please throw your own party in aid of Lumos and light a birthday candle for the thousands of children across Europe who are growing up without a family.’

Mulheir continues, ‘Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos shines a light on these forgotten children and asks people to remember them by raising money to support our work.’

Lumos is encouraging everyone, including families, teachers and community groups, and employees in the workplace, to host their own cake and candle-themed fundraising events, from Tea & Cake parties for friends, family and children to Bake & Take events at work. Supporters can also donate online or text LABC£2 to 70070.