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Old 09-28-2012, 08:43 AM   #1
maslex
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Birthday cake or no birthday cake?

Quick question for you.

Do you feel the birthday cake/ice cream at a party is for the actual birthday kid or is it for the guests at the party?

Here's the background. SIL had her son's birthday "party" (he was 16 last year so it was basically just some close family getting together, not a bunch of friends, no games, no party favors, etc) She had pizza, chips, soda. But she didn't get a cake because she said since her son doesn't like cake, she wasn't getting one (she said, it is HIS day you know). Well, her FIL heard that there wasn't going to be any cake and he thought there should be one there whether her son ate cake or not, so the guests could have a piece. (and I know he does like cake because he'll always have a piece, sometimes two when he's over at my kids parties) So she was soooooo upset last year about her FIL bringing the cake.

Now the time of year has rolled around again. She's having a get together tomorrow afternoon for her son's birthday (17th) with the same thing. Pizza, chips, soda but no cake, no ice cream. I understand it's her house, her rules and I could care less if she has cake or not but I'm sure it's going to be another big blowout if FIL brings a cake because he feels that people should be served cake at a party.

What's your take on it?
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maslex View Post
Quick question for you.

Do you feel the birthday cake/ice cream at a party is for the actual birthday kid or is it for the guests at the party?

Here's the background. SIL had her son's birthday "party" (he was 16 last year so it was basically just some close family getting together, not a bunch of friends, no games, no party favors, etc) She had pizza, chips, soda. But she didn't get a cake because she said since her son doesn't like cake, she wasn't getting one (she said, it is HIS day you know). Well, her FIL heard that there wasn't going to be any cake and he thought there should be one there whether her son ate cake or not, so the guests could have a piece. (and I know he does like cake because he'll always have a piece, sometimes two when he's over at my kids parties) So she was soooooo upset last year about her FIL bringing the cake.

Now the time of year has rolled around again. She's having a get together tomorrow afternoon for her son's birthday (17th) with the same thing. Pizza, chips, soda but no cake, no ice cream. I understand it's her house, her rules and I could care less if she has cake or not but I'm sure it's going to be another big blowout if FIL brings a cake because he feels that people should be served cake at a party.

What's your take on it?
I think it's fine to not have cake if the birthday kid doesn't like it but there should be some kind of dessert. First it's a party, you need to serve dessert and two where are the candles going to go?
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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Well it certainly isn't your FIL's business to bring one, but I would expect some sort of dessert type food to be offered at a party. I'm not big on cakes, you have to cut them, have little plates, etc., so we usually have cupcakes or even a cookie assortment. Maybe you could offer to bake some cupcakes or something to bring? But if she's adamant about no desserts, well she's giving the party and FIL needs to back off.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:55 AM   #4
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IMHO, cake is not a requirement of a birthday party. I did not usually have a "friends" birthday party when I was younger -- but my mom always made a special dessert of the birthday person's choosing. I often chose pie for mine because I like pie better than cake.

On the other hand, I would not get upset if someone else showed up with a cake. (I sometimes have difficulty "not sweating the small stuff" but this is one of the things I would *not* get upset about.)
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:56 AM   #5
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I wouldn't feel the need to take a cake to my grandchild's 17th birthday gathering, but if I was the mother of the 17-year-old it wouldn't bother me if FIL brought one. I don't think a birthday cake is anything to get upset or argue over.
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Old 09-28-2012, 08:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maslex View Post
Quick question for you.

Do you feel the birthday cake/ice cream at a party is for the actual birthday kid or is it for the guests at the party?

Here's the background. SIL had her son's birthday "party" (he was 16 last year so it was basically just some close family getting together, not a bunch of friends, no games, no party favors, etc) She had pizza, chips, soda. But she didn't get a cake because she said since her son doesn't like cake, she wasn't getting one (she said, it is HIS day you know). Well, her FIL heard that there wasn't going to be any cake and he thought there should be one there whether her son ate cake or not, so the guests could have a piece. (and I know he does like cake because he'll always have a piece, sometimes two when he's over at my kids parties) So she was soooooo upset last year about her FIL bringing the cake.

Now the time of year has rolled around again. She's having a get together tomorrow afternoon for her son's birthday (17th) with the same thing. Pizza, chips, soda but no cake, no ice cream. I understand it's her house, her rules and I could care less if she has cake or not but I'm sure it's going to be another big blowout if FIL brings a cake because he feels that people should be served cake at a party.

What's your take on it?
I think the decisions on what to serve would be the responsibility of the host or hostess. If I were hosting an event and someone brought something "because they thought it should be served", I would be incredibly offended. If FIL wants cake, he can eat it at home.

And while I love dessert, I have several family members who are diabetic. Therefore, I disagree that dessert is a "must".
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:06 AM   #7
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i see nothing wrong with FIL bringing a cake. (Plenty of people bring desserts, wine, beer, etc to a party!)

If the kid hates the idea of birthday cake, candles and singing, then I would just serve the cake and omit the singing part.


I am not big sweets eater, but I always have some kind of dessert for people who want it, regardless of the event.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:07 AM   #8
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Do people still have birthday parties for their 17 year olds? I figure by that age my kids can go do what they want, so I guess I'm in the cake and ice cream don't need to be served. I'd tell my FIL that if he wanted to throw a party his way, he is free to host it at his house
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:10 AM   #9
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Well, I have a HUGE sweet tooth so I'm still trying to comprehend the idea of a celebration without some sort of a dessert!

As the hostess, she should get to choose the menu. My kids don't always pick cake but they do pick some dessert that they want and I'd have served that. If he really hates sweets, then I would probably still offer something and serve it for others.

I don't see why she's getting so upset about FIL bringing a cake. If he's family, you know he loves cake & he brings it, what's the harm. I can only see this as a problem if there were health or weight issues that they were trying to control.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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My son also doesn't like cake. We haven't had one for his birthday since he was very little. What he opted to have for friend parties was one (or two) of those giant chocolate chip cookies. (We call it cookie cake.)

If someone wanted to bring a cake, that would be fine with us, but I won't buy or make one for him.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:17 AM   #11
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My son has a good friend (both age 10) who doesn't care for cake, or really any sweets. they've been friends since they were 3 and for his party his mom does have some sort of cake for the other guests, but gets this enormous edible arrangement for her son (he loves fruit!) and that is the big wow factor each year. all the kids seem to really love the fruit, too, and get a kick out of it...but they still like having a cupcake . I cannot for the life of me remember whether he blows out candles on the cake/cupcake or if she sets something up on the fruit. When I picture the scene I just see his face all lit up with pure joy over his treat.

for me the cake is about the birthday child (or adult, yes, I still love my birthday and want my cake! lol). but I also believe in providing some sort of dessert for your guests when at a party. my kids have inherited my love for cake, so definitely not an issue in my world.

I honestly can't imagine caring that FIL brought a cake for others to share, but that is just me. I'm guessing there might be more history here?
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:18 AM   #12
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The menu should be made up by the the host/hostess. If they don't want cake, unless it's planned as a carry-in, someone else shouldn't take it upon themselves to bring it.

Then again, if someone showed up with a cake in hand, I can't imagine getting upset about it. Similar to if someone shows up to a dinner with a bakery box. You just graciously accept it.

That said, I think that the birthday kid has a right to choose what he/she wants for his/her birthday dessert. If kid doesn't want anything, I would still think the parent would provide something for the guests.

As an adult guest, I would also hope for a salad or fresh veggies. If a kid wants XYZ for his birthday dinner, you can still provide other stuff for the other guests.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:19 AM   #13
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We've had birthday parties where the birthday person wanted a fruit tart (shortbread base with strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, etc layered on top - YUMMMMMMM!) instead of a cake. I'm in the camp of - it's a birthday so SOME kind of dessert is usual/customary/expected but I think FIL is out of line for making darned sure there's a birthday cake (or is he bringing a plain old, not decorated, cake?) there! If I were SIL, though, I also don't think I'd get too bent out of shape about it.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:25 AM   #14
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As always, a host has to find that balance between what the honoree wants and what guests want. So while it's overstepping for a guest to bring something unwanted to a party, a wise and gracious host would give guests what they want if it is not onerous or contradicting the honoree's wishes.

As an example, I've been to two vegan weddings. One wedding ended early when most of the guests left to go and eat elsewhere because the food consisted of a rather "unique" salad and some tofu dish that were the bride and groom's respective favorites. Nothing else was served because "it was their day, you know." Another vegan wedding did not have the problem of the entire wedding guest list filling up the local McDonald's because they had a wide variety of foods being served. One couple is remembered for being gracious hosts and the other? Not so much.

To sum up: Pizza, chips and soda doesn't sound like much of a party to me and I can bet it doesn't to other guests. I think the hostess here should provide some freaking dessert! And teach her son a lesson about hosting a party.
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Old 09-28-2012, 09:29 AM   #15
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A little flexibility on SIL's part would be nice. Is this really something to have a cow over?
Yea, I get her house, her "rules", but jeeze louise, the old guy just wants some cake. Maybe have the teens fav dessert, and cake?

Of course, none of this is really about cake. I guess folks choose their battles. I don't get the need to win this one.
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