Look no further than the playpen for the real winners of this economy

baby opening present

Those grubby baby paws may look cute, but the adowable wittle fingers are where the downfall of family budgets really begins.

It’s probably no surprise that kids are making out like bandits in this so-called recession. Perfect present fodder like toys and video games barely suffered a dent in sales this year, according to market research firm NPD Group. MarketWatch brings us the no-brainer reasons why:

1) Kids bring out the crazy in us.
“We are not always rational about these things with our kids,” David Palmiter, a clinical psychologist who focuses on children.

2) Presents for any occasion are associated with the divine.
“With things like birthdays, Christmas, the tooth fairy, people regard those to some extent as sacred,” Paul Donahue, a Scarsdale, N.Y.-based clinical psychologist and author of Parenting Without Fear.

3) Parents who do not participate in ceremonial gift-giving may need to see a therapist.

“People are so resistant to make changes because of feelings of guilt, feelings of shame, sadness,” Kathleen Gurney, a psychologist and chief executive of Financial Psychology Corp., a Sarasota, Fla., advisory firm, said.

So there you have it: kids are the new evil Wall Street bankers of this economy.

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The recession will not get in the way of your daughter’s bat mitzvah, dammit

bar mitzvah

We don't care how much it costs. Little Sarah will have the time of her life if she likes it or not.

While some young adults are living at home, (a recession trend we covered in November), others are partying it up as though we’re still in the ’90s. The LA Times noticed the boom when it covered the first Teen Party Expo, “where dozens of companies hawking tiaras, frilly dresses, disc jockey services and giant sheet cakes tried to capture a piece of the multibillion-dollar teen party market.”

Mothers planning quinceañeras, Sweet 16 parties, bar and bat mitzvahs and coming-out bashes barely batted an eye as teenagers modeled tiaras and chiffon dresses beneath a bright spotlight as an emcee uttered such phrases as “iridescent taffeta gown” and “sheer bodice.”

Think they’re worried about the recession? Try a $500 Renaissance taffeta gown.

Families are willing to splurge on a kid’s coming of age over a wedding because “this is still a milestone event, and you want to give your child that important day,” Lisa Hurley told the LAT. You’d think this was just as valuable as a college education, since parents apparently save up for years for the landmark event.

And of course, there’s always the prestige factor. Anyone who’s ever seen the vile My Super Sweet Sixteen on MTV knows that spoiled brats are just half of the equation responsible for the lavish ceremonies. No parent — no matter how badly suffering from the recession — wants to be outdone.

L’Chaim everybody!