Pass the parcel – is it ok to disappoint?

After several years of simple birthday celebrations, I am now in the mist of proper birthday parties! I have several birthdays because children surround me. Therefore, there is a haze of cake, presents, bouncy castles, and party games every weekend because these children are becoming a year older. It includes mine too!

Back in the days, the parties include the pouring of some well-earned bubbles with the celebrants playing with the wrapping paper. It was my first year of ‘proper’ parties because the kiddies are getting older. There are no more bubbles but party games. The most prominent of them all being the “Pass the Parcel”.

Since this is an old game, there has been an enormous adjustment to the rules of the game. The game has been in existence since I was a child; I’m not too old anyway. The change is a shift, which I am quite overtly opposed to. This shift shows that we can now disappoint our children and put a prize in every layer.

Some years ago I  remember, how I was sitting in the circle eagerly and watching the parcel go around. I remember waiting for the parcel to reach my side and the longing for the music to stop. I was so excited to hear ‘is this the last layer?’ I didn’t care what was in the middle of the parcel, all I wanted was to be the one to open the parcel! It was never anything significant.

Although, I was disappointed when it was not The One I still hope that it could all again happen as I passed the parcel on, that the game wasn’t over. What I love about the game was not the price but the prospect, the playing, the wonder, the surprise.

That was then, anyway. Now, in the present day situation, none of that rules and surprises existed anymore! The rules have changed!

Once the music stopped, the child has to unwrap the parcel with the aim of seeing a prize. The child has to rifle through the parcel to find what was deservedly theirs. What is placed in the middle of the parcel is not a prize but something that will console the child for not winning.

It is mostly done for children to prevent them from feeling sad or disappointed all through the game party. Even though not winning, they will have a surprise just for taking part in the game. It may not be possible for our children to accept that disappointment is one of the main components of the game just as excitement and eventual triumph are too.

To enhance the excitement of playing the game, I cleverly disguised a tube inside many layers of colorful wrapping, ribbons, and boxes. That is the only prize when it is time for Pass The Parcel in my house and it is meant for the smartest child.

The best disappointment in the game is to open the first layer and found it empty! The ultimate prize of the game, however, is not the prize to the winner but sitting in that circle with your friends. That is what most of the kids will remember all through their lives!