Written by Leslie Kennedy for BabyPost.com
I think the best loot bag I ever got was in Grade 2. The birthday girl's name was Rebecca and I remember getting one of those long tubes filled with 6-inch long layers of different coloured sugar. It was the best! I can still taste it.
But, I digress.
As a kid, goody bags rock. Six-year-old Jimmy goes to celebrate little Billy's birthday and gets a bag filled with, who knows, it's always a surprise! Will there be tattoos? Rock hard Double Bubble gum? Some fun junky toy from the Dollar Store? Who cares? It's fun!
Well, apparently not everyone agrees. I mean, I'm confident you'll be hard pressed to find a six-year-old to disagree but Jimmy's mom? Turns out she's not a fan.
In a blog that appeared earlier this week on the Huffington Post, Melissa Sher (not actually my fictional Jimmy's mom) asks parents to do away with the party favours.
"Enough," she rants.
"Enough with the plastic.
Enough with the small.
Enough with the cheap.
Enough with the crap."
She REALLY hates goody bags. I mean really hates them.
"Why in the world are we still giving out bags filled with sh*t to thank kids for coming to our children's birthday parties?
Thank them for coming? Because why?
Because decades ago some overachiever decided that throwing a party, serving cake and entertaining a horde of loud, sticky children wasn't enough?
No! The party is more than enough! I'm putting my foot down."
Okay, so, kids be warned, if you go to a party at Sher's house, expect a wave goodbye and a "thank you." And whatever you do, do not ask her for a goody bag. Because she'll want to yell at you.
Look, here's the thing. Goody bags for us adults are a total pain in the butt. Granted. But they're FUN! Not for us. But for the hyper little six-year-olds who are high on cake and anxious to see what they're gonna get.
I seriously have no clue why she's so offended by them. Because reality is, birthday parties are parties; like showers; like weddings.
But wait! We give party favours at showers. And then there's that word I find hard to pronounce. I'll let Wikipedia do the talking:
"Bomboniere (Italian) also known as "favours", are gifts given by hosts to their guests on special occasions such as bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, baptism, First Communion or Confirmation."
Wait, hold up! Bonboniere are given at more than just weddings?!? Who knew?
I get it. Figuring out what "crap" to pick up at the dollar store can be a real mind twister. I've been there, crying in the aisle of the local Dollarama on the phone with my mom, exasperated by not waiting to do crayons and colouring books, AGAIN (it's true. Ask her. Totally happened).
So instead? I walked out, forsaking the "bag of crap" and instead got gift cards for ice cream. They were a hit. I've also done book store gift cards. While I wasn't a fan of the crayons and colouring books I'm pretty sure the little kids would have enjoyed them. Heck, give them lined paper and a fancy looking pencil with a ridiculous shaped eraser and a 5-year-old girl will swoon.
If you're not a big fan of the gift cards, bake some peanut free cookies, put them in a cute plastic bag and boom. Happy kids.
It really doesn't take much to impress a kid.
We put all of these expectations on ourselves to try to avoid "crap" and give good stuff or nothing at all. We're offended by kids expecting a gift for coming to a party, but forget that here in North America at least, it's a part of our culture to do so.
So I say, bring on the goody bags. Because they're fun. Because they're something kids get excited about.
And isn't that what a party is all about?
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