15 May 2011

Thoughts on Pass the Parcel

Despite everything we still play it every year
In nearly eight years of hosting and attending children's birthday parties, I've observed many a game of pass the parcel.  I'm not sure why this is such a favourite - perhaps it's just the nostalgia value for all the adults present.  My observations about this most treasured of childhood games:
If the party goers are under five, it may be very hard for them to understand, during pass-the-parcel, that this brightly wrapped present they have been handed must be passed on.  And they might be quite reluctant to pass it on.  And they might cry.  And when the parcel is passed to them again and they have to pass it on again, they might scream.  And if the parcel comes around yet again you might have to take them away to a quiet room.  

The over fives
On the other hand, if you play pass the parcel with the over fives, they have had five years of birthday parties to figure it all out.  And what they have figured out is that the odds of being in possession of the parcel at the moment the music stops increase according to the length of time they hold the parcel.  So you might find that the game moves v.e.r.y s.l.o.w.l.y indeed. 

The preparation
If, however, you have a group of children who hold the parcel for the appropriate amount of time, and do not cry when required to pass it on, you still might find that wrapping a prize in twenty layers of paper, and using up your last piece of sticky tape, and having to go to masking tape, and then maybe even glue, and forgetting part way through the wrapping how many layers you've done and how many children are coming, so wrapping a few more layers, and discovering that now the parcel is so damn big you're having to pull out all the butchers paper art work your children have brought home from kinder just to cover that thing, and it's midnight on the night before the party and you really wish you'd done this earlier and even the middle section of The Age no longer gets around that whopping parcel and you've agonised over the modern parenting dilemma of whether a prize in each layer is too indulgent and pandering to the 'everyone's a winner' culture you  suspect might be ruining kids today, but you also don't want all the party-goers to be in tears when they realise that everyone isn't a winner in this particular game of pass the parcel, and will your child be really upset with you if you reduce all their friends to tears, or will the other parents think you're making a point because they had a prize in every layer at their party, so maybe you'll put a prize in every other layer, or just random layers, but you've already done the first ten layers so maybe you'll just have a bag of freddo frogs on hand you can toss into the melee so it looks like they've come out of the parcel when the layer was removed.....
well, after that you just might decide not to do pass the parcel again.


  1. I relate to this, completely.

    Oh - and I have a few thoughts on the photo issue, but We're about to get a plane to the Uk so are a wee bit frantic. when I get a moment i'll write them down for you. I must warn you though, I'm no expert!

  2. Oh cool, have a fabulous trip to the UK.

  3. I so hear you lol! Here is one for you we are about to have a party for my daughter in two weeks time and her real birth date was back in February! There is nothing wrong with a Clayton's birthday is there???

    So hopefully being a party of 7 year olds it shouldn't be too traumatic should it? Hopefully we survive to see her 8th birthday with out too much pass the parcel trauma!

    Thanks for the lovely read, it gave me a good giggle or two!