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  • Goody Bags

    July 16, 2009

    I was chatting up some other moms on Twitter yesterday and it turns out that some of us — and not just crusty old me as I previously thought — do not like the whole culture of the goody bag that is prevalent among the preschool crowd these days.

    Yes, we are bitter. We did not get goody bags when we were growing up, so why should these little twerps?

    At Sean’s school, he gets a goody bag for every child’s birthday, every holiday, every minor occasion. At the end of the school year, he got an “end of the school year” goody bag and by bag I mean a giant brown grocery bag.

    Each mom was asked to contribute a “summer fun” item (x13 kids) which made for a giant bag of plastic goody goodness that thrilled and delighted the little children for all of 20 minutes.

    I don’t approve of all this goody bagging, but I go along because I don’t want to be “that” mom or Sean to be “that” kid with “that” mom. Although at one time I wanted to be That Girl.

    Anyway.

    As I trolled up and down the aisles of the dollar store looking for a suitable goody bag contribution, just to amuse myself  I composed a mental list of inappropriate goody bag items:  disposable lighter, Sterno, gift card to the liquor barn, pocket knife, small bottle of capers, car air-freshner cards, can of WD-40…

    Ended up going with brightly colored bug boxes with the tiny butterfly nets and tweezers. Got the pocket knife for myself.

    Now I know that some of you are going to say that you would just say no and not go along, but you don’t know what I’m up against.  The other moms are a lot younger than me. They are the original goody bag generation.

    67 Comments »

    1. Steffj89 says:

      I am sooooo thankful to hear I am not the only mom who feels this way and like you I dont rebel because most of the other moms are a lot younger than me.

      I have however refused to send candy because t absolutely drves me nuts that at least once a month they come home with a 5 lb bag of candy from school for some stupid reason or another.
      steff

      July 16th, 2009 at 1:29 am

    2. momof8 says:

      I hear you. I have to tell you a story about younger moms though and this was on child number 3. I had number 3 when I was 33 (10 years before my last!). Anyway, I was sitting at a kindergarten program feeling old. The other moms all seemed to be sooooooo young. Then a lady walked in that looked about my age, with salt and pepper dark hair. I was like, whew, another mom my age! Then the teacher said, “Susie, I am so glad your grandmother is here for you!” Sigh.

      Now I stand in line at parent/teacher conferences at the high school and look around at all the people wondering what I will look like at 61 when my youngest graduates. I guess as long as I’m still around, it won’t matter, right?

      * * *
      Oh that story made me laugh. And then cringe! ~AM

      July 16th, 2009 at 1:51 am

    3. Janmary, N Ireland says:

      Here we only do goody bags at birthday parties – never in school or any other occasion. Even THOSE I detest (such a grumpy mum I must be!).

      I try to do a wee craft activity at our own kids parties, and they take home what they made instead of a bag of sugar high and plastic tat!

      End of term, the kids might get a seasonal pencil or sticker from their teacher, but that is it – thankfully!

      July 16th, 2009 at 3:24 am

    4. Deanna says:

      I always thought it was horrible that my girls were always ‘rewarded’ with candy at school. Even in High School with my oldest daughter! Then they lecture them about proper eating habits. I was rewarded in school by good grades and being able to participate in band, etc., for having good grades.

      July 16th, 2009 at 6:42 am

    5. Brigitte says:

      I’ve only dealt with preschool so far, and only some of the moms seem to do it there. I still bowed before the pressure, but I made home-made cookies. Which were probably thrown away by the parents because they weren’t safely and hermetically sealed.

      My husband and I spent the entire Kindergarten orientation looking at all the other YOUNG parents! At least we know one dad who is older than us . .

      July 16th, 2009 at 6:45 am

    6. Marie says:

      Oh how timely… my 5-y/o found the remnants of a goody bag yesterday, from a MARCH birthday party. (Why hadn’t I tossed it?!) It contained the most disgusting “push-up pop” – like a lollipop in a lipstick container. He sucked on it on & off all afternoon. Left it standing on the counter in the evening, so I sneakily buried it in the garbage after he went to bed. Disgusting.

      I’m OK with the occasional dollar store trinket (singular trinket). But en masse? In bags? Ick.

      I am old too & not of this junk bag generation…

      July 16th, 2009 at 7:05 am

    7. mannequin says:

      Such a stupid idea. Wouldn’t it be nicer if they just “collected” for one final time and bought a book for the library with all of the contributors names or something?
      So many other worthwhile things to do then to buy plastic disposable crap bags.

      And they may be younger than you but maybe that only means they need your guidance :)

      July 16th, 2009 at 7:37 am

    8. Karen says:

      …Ugh! What a collective waste of $, resources, and time!

      July 16th, 2009 at 7:51 am

    9. Tonggu Momma says:

      I call those bags landfill fodder.

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:06 am

    10. happy geek says:

      I hated the school goody bags, but that was because we as teachers were required to give them to our students. I was pinching pennies so tightly at the time that I squeaked when I walked and I had to give my students a bag full of trinkets to show them that I loved them. My principal’s words, not mine.
      How’s about I just show up and teach you for 23,000 a year. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is.

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:10 am

    11. Barb says:

      I agree! As soon as my child is busy with another activity I toss the goody bag!

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    12. Tracey (real estate girl) says:

      that’s funny! I love the list of inappropriate items!!! You are a hoot!

      I’m not from the goody bag generation either!!! We never got the “goods” when we went to a birthday party! We were lucky if we got a paper plate with a slice of cake and a single scoop of ice cream while being ordered to go outside and eat it in the blazing hot sun!

      By the way, thanks for the advice on Twitter regarding my kitchen floors. I’m gonna go to Home Depot today and check out the stuff you were telling me about!

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:20 am

    13. Minnesotamom says:

      You’d make an excellent Marlo Thomas, if it is to her you are referring. :) Oddly enough, I, still in my 20s, might be the only person who caught that reference!

      All that goody bag stuff would go immediately into the garbage at our house. Husband hates clutter, and I don’t blame him!

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:28 am

    14. marviv says:

      I’m all for goody bags! Just had a family party and gave four little ones goody bags. I put quart spray bottles, balloons and bubbles in the bags for the party day. You wouldn’t believe how much fun four little ones can have with spray bottles on a warm summer day. Each bag also had a book, a video (not new)and playdoh to take home. Girls got barrettes and boys got a matchbox car. Two of these great grandchildren had never gotten a goody bag before so they loved it.
      Can’t wait to do it again next summer!
      marviv

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:41 am

    15. Julia says:

      I have wondered over the past few years why I don’t remember getting goodie bags from birthday parties as a kid. I came to the conclusion that either they weren’t as fancy as they are now, or they didn’t exist.

      For my son’s 6th birthday, we went to a local kid’s spot that charges $10 per kid… when you add in the cost of the “goodie bag” per kid and my husband realized that we were spending more money per kid to come to the party than they were spending on a gift!

      Most of what goes in a goodie bag gets chunked within 5 minutes of getting home, so what’s the point?

      July 16th, 2009 at 8:57 am

    16. edj says:

      I hated the huge collection of cheap plastic junk that we had to get rid of every time we moved. The nice thing about moving overseas was escaping some of this. (now, the cheap plastic junk IS the birthday present :)sigh…)However, Abel went to a party recently where they had a water gun fight and each kid came home with a water gun! I thought that was brilliant. I am totally stealing that idea at some point in time.

      * * *

      At a recent reunion, my mom gave all the grandkids spray bottles, the kind you put cleaning products in, and they had a blast running around spraying each other and the plants and the dog. Better than squirt guns because they don’t run out of water so quickly, you can adjust the spray and best of all? You can use them for the intended purpose after the party. :-)

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:05 am

    17. Marian says:

      Mm-hm. Because we are all suffering from a lack of cheap plastic toys that quickly end up broken on the floor and then in landfills. And cheap candy. We need much, much more of that. My kids get a “prize bag” just for visiting Grandma’s sometimes, for goodness sake, despite my protests. Refresh me memory on the definition of “prize”…?

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    18. Heidi says:

      I too hate the goodie bags and have spent 18 years wondering why we are expected to over indulge our children.
      Wait until prom and post prom. I was naive enough to be on the post prom committee this year. After I found out that the previous year’s committee spent $21,000 – TWENTY ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!! – I kept a low profile but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. The other parents looked at me like I’d grown a second head when I expressed concern that we were over doing things a bit. I’ve already told my daughter I will NOT be on her post prom committee.

      It all starts with those goody bags….

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:33 am

    19. Nelson's Mama says:

      Goody bags are expected in these parts, but I got tired of trying to fill them and got tired of all the little junk and clutter that came home with my girls.

      So, I buy those HUGE Hershey’s bars, wrap a bow around it and send ‘em home with it. They are a big hit with the kids and the parents.

      They run about $1.50 each, which seemed expensive, but after I started calculating what I was spending on the bag and the “junk” to go in them they were more affordable in the long run.

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:36 am

    20. Heather Crawley says:

      I just rounded the ole’ 40 corner and have two kids (9 and 4). The older they get, the more anti-junk, anti-goodie bag I get. But, I also understand the pressure “to keep up” among the mom set. Don’t like it, but understand it.

      On the flip side, I also like to show the party guests appreciation for coming and for getting my child a gift.

      For my daughter’s 4th birthday party, I went and got 2.99 t-shirts (at half off) from Hobby Lobby and a flip flops (also half off). I did a tye-dye on the shirts and put some Spongebob stickers on the flip flops. The kids loved them – they all had matching shirts. One kid did ask me where the candy was.

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    21. The Diaper Diaries says:

      Just had my daughter’s 3 yo birthday party and I rebelled and didn’t provide goody bags. Everytime I get one at a party I curse the day because it is just more dollar store crap to add to my piles. I say we start a goody bag rebellion!! We could have t-shirts :)

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    22. J says:

      I crocheted magnets for their mental lockers! Match box cars were the IN Thing back in Son’s time.
      Cookies were my problem with driving 30 mintues to and again from so I turned the recipe in and then bought an extra dozen. Drove the preschool teacher nuts!!!

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:13 am

    23. Diana says:

      I’m a youngish mom (31 with a 3 yr old and 1 yr old, that’s young, right??), and I hate goody bags too! My big pet peeve is the fake tattoos. So far I’ve convinced my 3yo that they’re broken stickers. FYI, it is actually illegal in Texas to distribute any kind of food in schools that does not come from the cafeteria or is not used for an educational purpose. We had a big in-service lecture about it when I was teaching. You could bring that up next time, if you want to be “that” mom.

      * * *
      I think that must not be true for private schools because they hand out food and have cupcake/cookie parties all the time. I lovelovelove Sean’s school. It’s small and the teachers are wonderful and tremendously caring towards the kids. I’m very pleased with it.

      We are also anti-tattoo, again out of step with the culture, and don’t like that they hand them out to the kids but you have to decide what you are going to make a big deal out of and what to let go, and that’s a moving and shifting line.

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:23 am

    24. Carly @ The Tree says:

      I hate goody bags too, though with only two birthdays under my belt it’s been relatively easy to buck the trend.

      So far we’ve mostly had close friends and family parties only and I figure it’s enough that we’re feeding everyone (adults included) and don’t bother with a goody bag.

      Our son’s Godmother has three children (5, 3 and 1) and still does family and close friend only parties for her kids. She gives the children an inexpensive (but nice!) book, DVD, kite, etc. instead of goody bags and I love that idea.

      Another favourite of mine was a close friend who put the makings for a simple craft (a foam mask that you decorated yourself (decorations included) that she purchased for $1.50 at Michael’s – Canada’s “Hobby Lobby”) in the goody bag – Jake LOVED coming home and doing the craft the next time we had a rainy day.

      Down with goody bags! :o

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:26 am

    25. Iota says:

      I think it is sad that we are teaching our kids to expect cheap plastic tat and candy.

      If I was in philosophical mode, I would wonder if it is a reflection of the society we live in.

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:34 am

    26. Laura says:

      I am so glad to know that I am not alone. I refuse to give them at my children’s birthday parties (and kids keep coming back) but feel obligated for school functions. I love the spray bottle idea though!I am not the youngest or the oldest of moms (33 next month with a 15, 7 and 1 yr old) and I just don’t get the whole idea. I think even presents have gotten out of hand. I think the birthday parties should just be about celebrating the child’s life and enjoying the company of friends and family. However, my children definitely DO NOT share the sentiment!! Fabulous blog!

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:35 am

    27. Tara says:

      I’m reminded of your “snack rant” this morning. :) I’m with you on both fronts. Who needs more junk? My kids can’t keep their rooms clean as it is!

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:43 am

    28. Iota says:

      By the way, it’s so interesting reading your blog as a Brit. The whole age perspective is so very different. You have a commenter who felt old with her third child at 33, and another jokes about age, having two at 31. If you browsed the British Mummy Bloggers website, you would find the majority of mothers are in their 30s. The vast majority. Those comments just wouldn’t be understood. Quite literally. Readers would struggle to make sense of them.

      A lot of women in Britain wait till they’re 30 to start a family. Some wait till their late 30s. Late 20s would also be usual, but early 20s would be considered very young (we all have huge mortgages, with our house prices, and that plays a big part in the decision, I think).

      I’m not trying to make a point here (I had babies at 32, 36 and 39, for the record). I just think it is interesting how we assume such strong norms from the society we live in. Of course it varies hugely between sections within a society too – lots of women have babies in their teens, after all, but not so many of them blog, I don’t think.

      And I suppose I want to help any of your “feeling old” commenters who might read this to be able to relax a little! Move to Britain, and you’ll be chatting at the preschool door to women in their 40s who envy your youthful energy, but might be secretly wondering why on earth any woman considers herself mature enough to take on the responsibility of a child at the tender age that you did!

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    29. Crotchety Mom says:

      I like goody bags, because it allows me to be the “weird but cool” mom. My kids get flashlights, or book lights, or those screwdriver sets where the pieces all fit inside the handle, or journals with pencils, or a tape measure (either the cloth sewing kind or the metal construction type), or a pair of gardening gloves, or whatever else looks neat in the “Tools and Supply” aisle at the Dollar Tree.

      And for those occasions where the teacher demands we send in stuff for goody bags — there’s always kazoos and whistles (bwah hah hah).

      I despise the current trend of using food as a reward. Read a book a night; get a pizza! Finish your math homework, get a lollipop! Follow the school rules all day :gasp!: and get a piece of gum. Gum! My kid’s school is actually giving away gum! :grumble, mutter, grumble:

      * * *
      Just a point of clarification, it wasn’t the teacher who ordered the goody bags. It’s the parents.

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:50 am

    30. RefreshMom says:

      I’m on both sides of this fence. I think the tradition is dumb. I remember being surprised the first time DS came home from a birthday party with a bag of trinkets. And even more surprised to learn this was the new trend and was taking place of the old “party favor” that I grew up with. Favor. Singular. As in one of the things that is now in multiples in the ‘goody bag.’

      Now for the other side of the fence. I’m guilty of putting together nice bags. Partly because I hate the usual junk and partly because it’s a challenge to me to find things that match the theme (trains, sports, things-that-go, etc), are items I wouldn’t mind if my child brought home, and don’t cost $5 per child. (And that $5 is conservative in some cases, but I think that’s ridiculous.)

      So, I guess I’m with you–I don’t like it, but I don’t fight it either. (And DS got one of those bug-catching things at a party last month and both boys have had fun with it. We have an abundance of pill-bugs around here.)

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:53 am

    31. Amy says:

      Fabulous! My little girl is about to turn three and I have been dreading the search for goody bag treats. After reading all the comments, I think I’ll just grab a cute book and maybe bubbles and call it a day. We only do cousins at birthdays right now anyway!
      Thanks for the timely and hilarious post. I loved your mental list.

      July 16th, 2009 at 10:59 am

    32. Gwen says:

      I always wanted my hair to do THAT perfect flip. And, oh, those big, fluffy false eyelashes. :)

      July 16th, 2009 at 11:37 am

    33. T with Honey says:

      My family loved what I did for Princess’s last birthday party. For one activity I had them decorate paper bags. That was their “goody bag”. Then we played some games where I gave out prizes like pencils, mini play doh cans, stickers and the kids would put them in their goody bags. On their way out the door I held out a candy dish I had sitting out for the duration of the party and let them each take 1 or 2 items. All the under 18 yo party goers loved their take home stash plus the parents loved the lack of plastic junk.

      July 16th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    34. patois says:

      Never heard of the goody bag phenom in the schools, only done to excess at birthday parties. We’ve ditched them now, but went with the flow for the first few parties each kid did. By 3rd grade, no more goody bags. Not that kids didn’t still ask.

      Should have gone with the pocket knives early on, though, because then I’d have had cheap, cheap parties in the future since no one would let their kid ever return to our party.

      July 16th, 2009 at 11:41 am

    35. Katherine says:

      Not only are they younger – they have more energy.

      Two years ago my pre-school daughter’s b-day party (no presents please) was at a local gym – good fun tumbling and dancing followed by fresh fruit salad and coffees for moms – I gave each of the girls a jump rope and a gymnastics ribbon – I thought I was the bomb – “where’s the cake?”

      Last year we hosted a huge bowling party with the obligatory pizza. I called that my compromise and no bags, no favors and, surprisingly, no complaints.

      July 16th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    36. Carrie says:

      I am amazed by this, too, and by how much is sometimes ‘expected’ to be spent on a child’s birthday party present! Our family doesn’t have a lot of money, so this may be a problem for us in a few years!

      July 16th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    37. Amy says:

      I had my son at 27, and I too despise the goody bag. I have never understood why parents feel the need to hand out a bag of useless plastic junk because someone came to their child’s party, or just because it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day or the end of the school year. It is maddening.

      When I was a child, doing a good job was reward enough.
      Goody bags would have never been passed out at the end of a birthday party. A simple thanks was sufficient.

      Patois comment made me laugh. I too wish I would have gone with the knives early on.

      July 16th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    38. Donna @ Way More Homemade says:

      I went through and helped my daughter (8) clean her room before she left for camp. I threw in the garbage can no less than 10 goody bags that were more or less untouched. Such a waste.

      And to Brigitte, I am appalled that parents would throw away a perfectly good homemade cookie. That just disgusts me. I made cookies for my kids birthdays this year and they went over great.

      And who says capers are an inappropriate goody bag gift? At least it could be made into a good Chicken Picatta or something. And Car air freshener cards… have you SMELLED these kids when they come off the playground? YIKES!

      And…

      I could go on and on about the goody bag issue. My opinions on the subject are certainly no secret. ;)

      * * *
      What I love about you Donna, as I’ve told you in person, is that you have an opinion. I like that.

      And, I know YOUR cookies are good because they are WAY MORE HOME MADE! :-)

      July 16th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    39. tom says:

      I totally agree.

      Your goody bag list was great; I couldn’t help but mentally continue with it: Duct tape, thumb tacks, zip ties, Camel unfiltered 100s, chocolate covered espresso beans, Sen-sen, wooden slingshot… way too much fun.

      * * *
      Love your additions. Clearly you know how to do a goody bag up right. Perhaps a mouse trap or a firecracker too? ~AM

      July 16th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    40. Faerylandmom says:

      I am a member of said generation, and am happily rocking the boat. I don’t even buy special decorations for birthday parties, let alone goodies for everyone else…

      I figure all the “special” in these events comes from the memories made with friends and family, and will last long past that initial 20 minute “toy high.”

      July 16th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    41. Jean says:

      Amen to your post AM!!! My question is this — if there are so many of us who are against the dang goodie bag, then who is still for it and why does it persist?? It’s right up there with being “booed” (Halloween doorstep goodie bags) and “secret Santa” (same as above at Christmas). Call me old and stuck in the mud (50 w/ 12 yo, 10yo and 8 yo) but I despise the goodie bag, the candy treats in school and all the like. Even the cute little bag from the teacher with the cute little poem that explains each little ditty item in the bag (end of year, start of year, you name it). Blecch!!!

      * * *
      You and I and cranky Edna from Hallmark. We should party. But no goody bags. ~AM

      July 16th, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    42. melissa says:

      i hate the goody bags too. not only do you have to buy a bunch of crap no one wants you have to get it when you go to a party and ultimately throw it away.

      July 16th, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    43. melissa says:

      but hey, a 24 pack of crayons is 20cents right now and i found notebooks for 25 cents. would a 50 cent goody back be tacky? at least it would be useful.

      July 16th, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    44. Cyndi B. says:

      What’s sad about the whole “goody bag” and “snack” movement is it just add more clutter our lives & drains our wallets.

      July 16th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    45. vanessa says:

      You are right I am bitter about gift bags why can’t kids be happy with a game and cupcake?! I think they are and that its just US

      July 16th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    46. Shannon says:

      I am off to buy tons of chocolate covered espresso beans RIGHT NOW! So glad I read all of the comments, there were some fab tips in there. (And hey, the post was great too!)… for some reason this morning I was reminded of your “percentages” post and laughed out loud to myself. What do you think the chance of going to a kid’s birthday party and NOT getting a goody bag would be? .01% ??

      July 16th, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    47. Allison says:

      I know that my children LOVE a goody bag (like you said, for all of 20 minutes!), but I HATE them (yes, I’ll use the H word for this!). What a waste! And what is the message we are sending our children? So for the past couple of years, a few moms and I have hosted a birthday party for several of our kids together, asked for contributions to a worthy cause in lieu of gifts, and haven’t done goody bags! I can only think of one child who even asked where the goody bags were. Best thing I’ve ever done. I’m an AM too and I don’t mind being the ‘older and wiser one’ to show these young whipper snappers a thing or two!

      July 16th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    48. Heather says:

      Having our first birthday party! Can’t believe I have a one year old already.

      I wasn’t sure about a party at all, but then I realized it is really just an excuse to hang out with our friends. Sent out an e-vite, asked for no gifts, but if they felt they HAD to give one than we’d prefer second hand. We are doing no favors, minimal decorating (1 homemade happy birthday sign), regular cook out food, a little cake for baby and just going to have a good time with family and friends.

      I’m hoping that if I start the trend now while our kids are little that it will continue when our kids are big. We don’t need anything for him, he won’t remember it later, and I do not want it to turn into a competition that fuels us moms and has nothing to do with our kiddos.

      Wish me luck!
      Heather

      * * *
      May the force be with you Heather. That first birthday party is so special. I will never forget how adorable Sean was that day, bald headed and just beginning to walk and all the people in the house. Sigh. Take lots and lots of pictures and video.

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    49. ellen says:

      I’ve noticed in my classroom experiences that if one mom would actually speak up about the pointless goody bag/treats/gifts, the rest would all begin to gush about how they felt the same way. Let’s all just say something the next time word goes around about goody bags and put an end to it!

      July 16th, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    50. Sara says:

      I felt pretty lucky with my son’s preschool. They had a strict rule, no goody bags whatsoever. We could not give out candy on Valentine’s, nothing, not even a sticker. They had parties for every holiday and the kids would get a cookie or cupcake as a treat but they definitely did not go overboard.

      July 16th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    51. k&c's mom says:

      As a first grade teacher, may I say this has all become way past ridiculous. I have actually had parents swoop into the cafeteria with balloons, pizza, goodie bags and cake and make lunch period count as the birthday party! I have had parents send plain cakes and a can of icing with a note asking me to ice the cake because they “did not have time” and “could I had out the goodie bags, too”. Stop the insanity! I thought we were at school to learn to read, write and do math, not to distribute small plastic toys that break easily.

      July 16th, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    52. HarryJacksMom says:

      You may have started a revolution! I just went thru about 7 (X2) sets of birthday and preschool bags – it’s ridiculous! I ended up with 4 piles – trash, food that was still edible, toys to toss into our restaurant bag, and toys/items to give to their school’s prize box….oh, yeah, ours got to pick one prize each week if their behavior was good – grrr. I was so hoping it would get better next year! Let me know where to sign the petition :-)

      July 16th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    53. Steffj89 says:

      hsve to ask…why dont we like the tattoos? i love them compared to the candy and cheap plastic crap…i dont care if the boys wear 30 of them and at least i can throw out the papers etc off them.

      July 17th, 2009 at 1:43 am

    54. Kris says:

      As everyone else, I agree completely. My son just completed Kindergarten (we skipped preschool) so goody bags were a shocker to me. Not so much the bag, but the size of the bag–WOW! I do remember sharing goody cups at birthday parties when I was young, but they were the size of a muffin wrapper, had a few candies and maybe a toy bracelet or something like that. Now it’s like everyone is getting a big gift on everyone’s. birthday. It’s nuts. I decided to be “that mom” for my son’s birthday and not provide goody bags. We did magic tricks, played group games, and did an art project. The kids had a blast, or so they said. I don’t think they missed getting a bag of junk. Many of the parents did however ask for their child’s goody bag. I got some pretty incredulous looks when I said there was none… Hmmm.

      July 17th, 2009 at 1:45 am

    55. Ann G says:

      Goody bags drive me nutty! One time I didn’t participate in the “goody bag” event at a party I hosted for That Kid, and everyone looked at me like I had lost some marbles….It was a tough day for both of us. He was humiliated and it was said that I was being “cheap”. I learned to go along with it for the sake of my kid’s self esteem.
      Who started this trend, anyway???

      July 17th, 2009 at 2:02 am

    56. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      My kids get “friend” BD parties only when I feel like it. And that’s at age 5, and I don’t know when after that. Making it up as I go. And then the one treat I sent home with the friends was a bottle of bubbles. I felt good about that.

      I also made a specific point of telling the moms of the guests that there were to be NO GIFTS at my boy’s party. BRING NO GIFTS. I believe 2 out of the 4 moms actually followed through, and the other 2 couldn’t stand the thought of a kid not getting loaded down with stuff. I told them, ‘hey, the kids get enough stuff from the grandparents, they don’t need any more.’ Plus I never like the part of the party where everyone watches one person open gifts. Call me a fuddy duddy. And also someone whose love language is NOT gifts. :)

      I’ve probably said this before, but two years ago we moved to a lower income, lower expectation kind of ‘hood. It’s nice to be out of suburbia where it seems like “keeping up with the Jones’” is the SOP. I’m not the only one to say this, either–but my city is a very down-to-earth, not-out-to-impress-anyone kind of place. Just my style.

      July 17th, 2009 at 3:36 am

    57. Lezleigh says:

      Goody bags drive me insane. I caved in and did them this last birthday, and you know what–of the 10 kids at the party 6 of them left them! NO MORE! Between the extremity of goody bags being given for EVERYTHING under the sun (and we all agree most is garbage in them) and the waste of it all, this mom is DONE.

      I am active in PTA, and am doing all I can to stop this madness. Heaven forbid our kids go to school to simply LEARN rather than burden the teachers with this garbage? Anything “needing” a goody bag doesn’t need to be dealt with at school, period. I am trying to get the kids in the programs I run to focus outwards on others rather than themselves, and stopping the goody bag craze and showing how that wasted money could be spent on feeding a village for a month (literally) is a much better use of money.

      And don’t get me started on they psychosis of bringing snacks for sports when our kids are in kindergarten (or younger,)never break a sweat when they’re busier picking flowers and playing the dirt than watching for the soccer ball (AND BEING TOLD TO BRING FOR THE SIBLINGS, TOO–WHAT!!???)….ranks right up there with goody bags….sigh…

      July 17th, 2009 at 9:52 am

    58. Nette says:

      Amen, and “ditto” everything you said! When my twins recently explained to their little neighborhood friend that they were declining the invitation to her birthday party because we would be on our family vacation, she offered that she would be saving their goody bags for them.

      Now, if “Mr. Truth” had been eavesdropping, I’m wondering if it may not have gone something like this, “We cannot come to your party, but could we still have a goody bag?”.

      I did ask for clarification, but they stand by the story that she’s the one who offered. It must be a big deal in their minds. Honestly, outside of a tootsie roll and a piece of Bazooka gum, it’s all bound for the trash can.

      I’m also not a big fan of “treats” after every little gathering.

      July 17th, 2009 at 10:14 am

    59. Jenni D. says:

      A-to-the-MEN, AM!

      July 17th, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    60. Sir Nottaguy-Imadad says:

      You and I are polar opposites. I had my first grandchild at 37. The key with the goody bags is to stash them all away in a secret location. Then when you need to come up with goody bag stuff, you simply “regift” it.

      I loved your list of inappropriate gifts.

      July 17th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    61. abby goerig says:

      I am not a fan of the goodie bag either. I have actually adopted your idea about getting rid of the mcdonald’s toys to charity. But if your going to have to participate, my favorite addition is crayons and a notebook. Right now at walmart that would cost you 45c. 30cents for crayons (only crayola…the others are not good and 15 c for a notebook. Store them until the end of school and they will be a huge hit!!

      July 17th, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    62. judy says:

      I am a grandmother but are we not teaching the younger generation that you always “get” something no matter what?

      Can we teach them there are times you GIVE without getting!
      Isn’t that a valid point?

      * * *
      Yes, ma’am, you make a valid point. I agree with you. It’s hard work to teach children to give without getting and it’s a hard lesson for little ones to embrace. But it will be even harder to learn that lesson as an adult because the world just doesn’t hand out goodies for no reason.

      July 18th, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    63. Thea says:

      I love presents, but they should have meaning, and I love personalized goodie-bags, but not the cheap kind, filled with commercial crap-ola. The original idea should be, a ‘Thank you for coming to my party’, that way kids don’t have to write thank-you notes. But so many people do not take the time to put creativity in it. Why not suggest a new tradition, like pulling names out of a hat and buying a book for another kid, and then circling all the books around during the last class, for each kid to write their name in? That’s a better end-of-the-year keepsake.

      July 19th, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    64. Jill says:

      Oh, those &^$##@ goody bags. I used to be (affectionately) known as The Bag Lady at my son’s preschool because I got stuck once doing the goody bags for some holiday and everyone thought they were so great, they begged me to sign up for the goody bags for all subsequent events. Last St. Patty’s day snuck up on me. It was on a Tuesday and I thought it was on a Friday. So I spent 2 hours on a rainy, dark, cold Monday night hunting goody bag stuff. And they were cute in all their green and polka dotted goodness. And when I came to get my 3yo at the end of the St Patty’s Day, there all 25 good bags still sat in the basket. No one bothered to hand them out. And I was not a happy mama. So I took them all home with me. Needless to say, I am no longer The Bag Lady. I sign up to bring the napkins.

      July 20th, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    65. Mrs Lemon says:

      I’m young (29) and I’m not only anti-goody bag, but I’m anti-birthday party. With my stepdaughter who was spoiled beyond reason before her dad and I married, we decided to start doing a half birthday party for her so she could have friends over in the summer instead of missing it for bad weather. She thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was inexpensive. But for our son, we just took a small birthday cake to mcdonald’s with just the four of us, and it was still just as special. We decided that our joint children will have 4, 8, 12, and 16 year birthday parties. The rest of the birthdays will be spent with family, the way they came into this world :)

      July 23rd, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    66. Mrs Lemon says:

      (ps – that half birthday party means we had her birthday party in June instead of on her birthday in December)

      July 23rd, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    67. Sunshine says:

      I’m a 43 year old Mom and my son just started kindergarten. Call me a spoiler, but I was thrilled to do the goody bags for his birthday. (His school does not allow sugary treats.) Luckily I work near Toy Town so I get wholesale prices–super super cheap. Instead of plastic junk, I did jump ropes and nubby bounding balls, inside small “gender appropriate” canvas bags. cost $1.50 each! The best part–My son is learning that it is better to give than receive. No one knows his birthday is this Friday, and therefore he will not receive gifts, yet he is really thrilled about sharing!

      September 1st, 2009 at 6:26 pm

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