Birthday Party Drama

My brother and his wife throw my nieces huge birthday parties each year, Im talking 70+people at least, they are not fun at all they are loud and there is barly room to breathe, his wifes family is sooo anooying. The girls are spoiled rotten all year long and I have no desire to attend. The one year i dont think we even got to see our niece other then from a distance opening gifts and eatting cake. Weve had enough of going, Do you think its wrong for us not to attend this year?

If your niece and/or your brother might be upset that you didn’t make it, I think it would be wise to attend to show support and keep family harmony. You don’t have to stay for hours, just make a reasonable appearance.

If I were in your shoes, and went to the party, I would make a determined and definite point to see my niece and have a word with her, even if it’s no more than “happy birthday.” For you to go and not interact with her at all strikes me as terribly sad.

I agree with Gary – go for as long as you can stand it, and try to find some little thing to enjoy about it. If you like, give the niece an “event” gift - tickets to show or movie, or something you and your spouse can take her and have some time with her.

So your brother spoils his kids and you don’t like his wife’s family. Unless there are more pertinent details, don’t take it out on the kids. Show up to the party, grin and bear it.

It sounds like you won’t really be noticed if you don’t go.

If you don’t like attending the parties (hey, they’re not for everyone), send a gift.

Don’t go.

I mean, if we were talking about your granny’s 90th birthday and she’s got a terminal illness and everyone’s going to be there to create one last happy family tableau for her to see, then I’d tell you to go.

But this doesn’t rise to that significance. The girls likely won’t notice your absence, and who cares if your brother does. They will have 70+ other people to entertain.

I don’t like when parents go all out for their kids’ birthdays. It’s sweet when it’s a milestone birthday (10th or 16th), but every year? Gimme break. These kids grow up expecting fanfare every year and then become 20-somethings who lose their minds once they realize no one gives a shit that it’s their birthday. The only way to discourage this kind of excess is to not participate.

Sending a card, though, is always nice.

It really doesn’t sound like your presence would make much difference to what happens at a party.

If it were me, and a close family member was declining an invitation to my child’s birthday, it would be nice if that person said “sorry, we have a conflict and won’t be able to attend the party, BUT we would love to see the nieces and would like to invite you over for ice cream/see a movie/play video games on this date in the future” (or whatever would appropriate given your interests and the ages of the kids) because that shows an interest in being involved with the children beyond attending the party. If your brother is not that interested in taking you up on this kind invitation, it could tell you a lot about how he sees your relationship.

I’m in the don’t go category. They won’t miss you. You should acknowledge your niece’s birthdays in some more meaningful way, like a card.