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no goodie bags at DD's bday party: do I dare?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

My DD turns 9 in December.  We've had a really horrible year (sudden deaths of 2 family members), so I decided to give her a blowout birthday party.  My dilemma:  should I give out goodie bags to the party goers?


Here's why I don't want to:

  • I object to goodie bags on general principle.  I fed you and entertained you at this party.  I also need to give you a gift?
  • This party is going to cost a lot, and 20 or more kids will be there.  No extra cash for goodie bags.
  • It makes me cringe when I hear kids ask the hostess where the goodie bags are, when they can have one, etc.  Such bad manners!


But I'll admit that I'm hesitant to Be The One who breaks with this awful -- but expected -- tradition. 


Am I brave or do I cave? confused.gif

post #2 of 38

Sorry you have had a rough year!! I say be brave. Or if you don't want to be so brave, maybe do a craft or something with them they can take home as the goodie bag????



post #3 of 38

Ugh, I am with you. My DS (turning 7 at the time) was really uncomfortable with no gift bags, so we did a homemade mix cd and a packet of old-school pop rocks. I applaud you if you hold firm!


post #4 of 38

Goody bags are so not cool.  Try to do a craft or something - that would be a fun activity for the party, AND something the kids could take home. 


I wish I had an idea for a cheap fun craft - but I don't.  Sorry - maybe someone else will help with that!



post #5 of 38

A friend of ours decorates with balloons and the kids take one home.


My dd went to a party last week where they made a diorama and took it home.


I don't think goodie bags are required, nor do I think they are not cool.


I think they help kids with the transition out of the party.

post #6 of 38


If you don't want to send anything home with the guests, that's cool. If you want some memento, and you have a camera and printer, you could take a group photo at the party, print it out and put it in an inexpensive frame (we've used small IKEA frames that come in a package of 4). The kids can decorate the frames as a party activity. 


In December, craft activities could be things like

- decorating a stocking or felt tree ornaments (If you celebrate),

- decorating cookies or making a small gingerbread house (using Graham wafers) and decorating it,

- rolling beeswax candles for solstice,

- making pinecone bird feeders with suet and birdseed




post #7 of 38

I have made the pinata stuff the goodie but I have never not sent anything home.  I am a believer in sending something home with the kids though because they don't understand the money that goes into the party.  I think of goody bags as a nice little thank you for young kids and a way to make celebrating with others more fun if they have had to watch the child opening (or even just receiving) a bunch of gifts.  As someone else said, they are also a very nice way to transition out of the party.  A craft, a cookie that the kid decorated, or even a dollar store stuffed toy can also be fun for kids.


If you are doing a huge party at a place that hosts the parties they may already include the cost of goody bags into the party price.  You may want to ask about that before you make a decision one way or another.

post #8 of 38

I am here and there on goodie bags...a small token that goes with the theme of the party (a book, a photo, some craft they've decorated, something they can plant) is great.  A bag of stuff that they won't even play with is...well, what's the point?  If the expectation in your area is "host a party, provide goodie bags" then I would find some way of doing that in a way that isn't overly expensive or time consuming or junky.  It's an expectation here and I don't want my daughter to be faced with, "I can't believe you didn't do treat bags" on Monday morning after her party.  She's only little, most kids her age would be candid enough to ask.

post #9 of 38

I also am hot and cold on goodie bags. A bunch of junk for the sake of a bag sucks. But a small bag of treats, a craft, something is good.


For your points above. You are doing the party for your daughter and inviting kids because that is what she wants. You are choosing when, where and how to have the party. It isn't the fault or expectation of the other kids that you decided to go all out and so spent some money feeding and entertaining them. That is part of the party. You can choose to have a smaller or less expensive party. The kids are coming to play their part in entertaining and "being" a party for your child. They are probably bringing a gift. In my mind a goody bag is a thank you to the people for coming and being the party. It shows appreciation.


For our DD's 2nd birthday we gave some home made playdough, a container of bubbles and a small book with a thank you note written inside.

post #10 of 38
Goodie bags are a big deal with 11yr old here.
My dd1 just had a party. The goodie bags were canvas totes they decorated, filled with nail polish, nail files, nail clippers, hair brush, makeup remover wipes. About $6 a child.
Kinda like the favors given out at weddings. Just a token to say thanks for coming.

I like simple parties and all that, but to plan a big party I think sets the stage for some sort of goodie bag.
post #11 of 38

I take the cue from my kids.  The party is for them after all.


My dd is 7yo and since "everyone" does goody bags it is important to her that we do them to... or an equivalent.  For her party last year I made a pinata, filled it with chocolates, pencils, glitter glue pens, stickers, silly bandz, etc and then made a little baggie out of fabric from my stash for each of the kids to fill and take home.  This year she had  "make your own sundae party" so I gave each kid a bag with all the different toppings in it, and then I bought some cute monster bowls.  They took the bowls and whatever left-over toppings home as their "goody bag".


I am not crazy about the whole goody bag thing myself, but since my kids want and expect it I do it.  I try to find stuff that's relatively useful and not just a ton of extra clutter for people's homes.

post #12 of 38

Vital extraction technique for parents ("You can open your goodie bag in the car!!")  Cruel to take that away  ;)

post #13 of 38

I agree with many of the others. I think goodie bags for the sake of a bag is junky and wasteful. However, at our parties we usually have a theme and I usually have activities that end up with something to take with them. For my 5yo's Star Wars party, we had homemade light sabers and jedi training robes that went home with the kids. That was it, no additional bags of cheap toys. We did wands and cauldrons for my 7yo's Harry Potter party. Everything was used during the party for an activity. That way I feel like I'm not just giving them toys for no good reason. I think a craft is a great idea. That way you have something to keep 20 kids entertained and you can send them home with them. Have a fun party.

post #14 of 38

What about doing something like a "make your own cupcake" station and have them take those home as their goody?  I don't like bags full of junk toys and candy, but it's nice to send them home with something, even if it is a piece of art or craft they made themselves.

post #15 of 38

Yikes! Goody bags are expected, all the time, and not giving one is rude? When did that happen?


No, I do not think you owe the kids a goody bag. If you want to do one, then do one. if not, than don't.


I have hosted 3 parties for my DD over the last 8 years. When she was one, I made bags with crayons, a can of play doh and some paper and tied a balloon to the handle. My thinking was that there would be something to play with if the kids got restless and everyone had their own. When she was 2 I think we sent the kids home with balloons and left overs. we had way to much food and it was a kids plus family cook out party. When she was 5, we had a fancy Nancy party so we purchased purses, necklaces, rings, clip on earrings, crowns and feather boas at the dollar store for each kid so that they could all be fancy at the party. No additional bag, the kids took home their dress up loot.


Just so I don't look like a stingy mom, the other years we did a family day trip to celebrate, or did a low key family event, due to a recent birth.

post #16 of 38

We try to make the gift bag the craft that we made at the party.  Last year DD had a tea party so, we decorated cookies and I bought a bunch of flowers to decorate straw hats.  I put the cookies in cello bags with pretty ribbons and they had their decorated hats.  

post #17 of 38

It's tough for kids to watch someone else open gifts and none are for them.  And as a mom of a very "passionate" boy, it makes it WAY easier leaving when he has a surprise bag in the end.  Goodie bags are good form, IMHO.  


However, at 9, kids should be past some of those issues, but it would still be fun for them, there are lots of ways to make it creative and interesting.

post #18 of 38

Wow, I'm surprised by this thread.  I go to parties because they're fun, and that's why I went as a kid.  I never expected a gift and still don't.  I take my kids to lots of parties (many of them all-ages parties) and would be seriously annoyed if they started expecting or demanding a party favor.  Yuck!  In my mind, the people coming to the party aren't doing me any more of a service than I am them by throwing the party.  I set the atmosphere and invite people I think would like to join us -- some of them show up, eat, drink, and be merry.  It's about being together.  Not about stuff.  No way.  That is not okay with me.


That said, I like some of the ideas mentioned above, especially those that involve kids making something together.


I do not think you should feel pressured to do anything extra, though.  My family was the odd one out much of the time when I was growing up, and the kids that came to my parties had fun finding little toys, pieces of fruit, or all fruit popsicles at the end of the spider web game instead of candy.  They were thrilled when stickers and peanuts came out of the pinata, and they didn't care that we didn't have perfect pink decorations or a pink frosted cake.  We ran around and played together and sometimes stopped to eat.  Fun.


My dd is younger, but she loves to have sledding parties for her winter birthday.  It is great to get everyone bundled up and outside playing in the snow; the kids (and adults) have so much fun.

post #19 of 38

We do goodie bags or something to take home because my dd likes to. Usually it's more like a craft made at the party or something.

However, I don't think it's necessary, and I would love to see the trend turn around. I think it's a good learning experience to go to someone else's party and have it be about somebody else on their birthday, and I don't like the trend of kids getting presents at sibling's birthdays either for that same reason. There's a whole culture of entitlement (eta and consumerism) I think is fed by this kind of stuff, and I (internally only) rage against it.

post #20 of 38

Not necessary.  However not terrible either.  I don't know, I'm the kind of person that goes to a party and gives a gift to the birthday kid and his siblings.  Why?  Cause my great grandmother always did that with me and my brother.  I do it for my girls now too.  DH thought it was crazy but it's a special day for everyone.  We're celebrating!!!  It's the day DD1 got a little sister of the day DD2 made our lives so much richer.   My friend from Croatia always brings gift for her friends on her birthday.  Odd, since it's her day but it's kind of interesting. 

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