To really resent doing party bags for my dc's bday parties??

(144 Posts)
justkeeponsmiling Mon 05-Aug-13 09:10:53

It annoys the hell out of me!
This week we are having a bday party for 4yo DS and 8yo DD (bad planning from us a few years back, I know!)
Money is tight and we are already hiring a bouncy castle, feeding the party guests and entertaining them with games, etc. for 2-3 hours. And feeding the parents of the 4yo guests as well, if last year is anything to go by, as they all decided to stay and tuck into the buffet...
I don't mind any of that, but I really resent the custom of then having to present the guests with presents in the form of party bags for even turning up!
Maybe it's because I'm not from this country and I know that in my home country the concept of party bags simply doesn't exist (at least it didn't years ago...maybe that's changed now though?!)
Or maybe I'm just a miserable so and so... hmmm [hmmm]

NaturalBaby Mon 05-Aug-13 09:13:25

Don't do it then. We've been given a small toy and piece of cake instead of party bags which was much easier for the parents.
Are you saying you expected all the parents to leave last year?! I expect all the parents to stay and supervise their children at our parties, and as I've invited them as well (and consider them friends) I provide cake and drinks for them.

CocacolaMum Mon 05-Aug-13 09:14:21

I love a party bag personally but you do know its not a legal requirement?

gordyslovesheep Mon 05-Aug-13 09:17:14

why bother then? Why bother with a party either? I think it's quiet unreasonable to organise something, invite people, decide to do party bags then be all resentful over it

BrokenSunglasses Mon 05-Aug-13 09:17:19

I just see it as part of the cost of hosting a children's birthday party, no different from food, the cake, or entertainment.

They can be done really cheaply, but if you resent it that much, you don't have to do it.

FootOfOurStairs Mon 05-Aug-13 09:17:30

Don't do it! I never have. We've done boxes with party tea leftovers in a box, or a nice fairycake and a balloon. You canput balloons on sticks to make them more special if ypu choose.

ITCouldBeWorse Mon 05-Aug-13 09:19:40

If the budget is tight i suggest picnic box type lunches - much less waste and you don't need to feel obliged to feed parents.

MintyChops Mon 05-Aug-13 09:21:57

What about a piñata?

Growlithe Mon 05-Aug-13 09:23:15

I don't mind them as it gets them all out after two hours. grin

NoComet Mon 05-Aug-13 09:23:49

Honestly the DCs will be happy with cake and a little packet of Haribos and a mini chocolate bar.

Stationary lucky dips also work well for 8y DDs. You can get multipacks of note books and thinks very cheap.

I too think party bags are a daft extra expense, but they do say home time very clearly.

justkeeponsmiling Mon 05-Aug-13 09:24:37

Sorry, this was meant to be lighthearted!

Naturalbaby no I didn't expect the parents to leave last year. I didn't mind them tucking into the buffet either. It was only when some of the dads started asking for cans of lager I began thinking who is this party actually for...!
FootofourstairsI really like that idea! I think I mainly resent spending money I don't have on meaningless plastic tat... Your suggestion sounds nice and practical

Ruprekt Mon 05-Aug-13 09:25:11

Ds would agree with you.

He told me NOT to do partybags as the children should just be grateful to have been invited!

Fine by me. smilesmilesmilesmile

wigglesrock Mon 05-Aug-13 09:27:17

Bubble wands are your friend smile Just hand them out when the kids leave.

NaturalBaby Mon 05-Aug-13 09:31:11

asking for lager... yanbu!

jamdonut Mon 05-Aug-13 09:34:19

Be like me and don't have parties then!

Just have a friend or two around for tea and playing whatever they want.
Much more sensible than entertaining a load of kids that your child may or may not get on with .

And I would hate having a load of parents staying to supervise!! (When did this start to happen? I've never taken my kids to a party where the parents stayed)

Yep,I think I fall into the miserable so-and-so camp! Strangely ,though, my kids have all grown up fine. wink

Caboodle Mon 05-Aug-13 09:39:20

Problem is, whether we like it or not, most children expect them. But - I agree re the plastic tat....I actually do not want lots of that rubbish in my house (we have enough McDs toys already without a plastic snake / mini water gun etc) grin
I put in cake, balloon, box of raisins. Bubbles are a great idea - my DCs love them.
I'd do them - easy way to say GO HOME NOW (so I can sit down drink wine )

Caboodle Mon 05-Aug-13 09:42:51

Just as an aside though - my 2 eldest DCs are sharing a party at a pricey venue where party bags are not included - I'm not sure whether to supply them for this party as I will have spent a fortune already (but party has a clear 'get your shoes on and go home' end).

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Mon 05-Aug-13 09:44:25

Don't do it if you can't do it with love. grin I enjoy doing them....but can understand where you are coming from.

primallass Mon 05-Aug-13 09:47:52

Poundland is your friend. Just get the bags from there and stick in some cake and a box of smarties.

SoupDragon Mon 05-Aug-13 09:49:13

Think of them as now fuck off home bags instead.

Isoscelesnorks Mon 05-Aug-13 09:49:41

I knew here was a benefit to having a child with ASD. We don't get invited to parties and we certainly don't have them!

SuffolkNWhat Mon 05-Aug-13 09:51:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeCool Mon 05-Aug-13 09:57:29

my 5yo assures me that party bags are absolutely the highlight of her year. Kids LOVE them whatever is in there. They just love them.

But you don't have to do it. And I think YABU to be doing something you RESENT - it's a strong word for a "lighthearted thread". If you resent it, don't do it. Otherwise just consider it another part of your party budget along with hall hire, bouncy castle, food etc. make it work together.

I always like to provide food and drink for the adults - they are giving up there time so their child can come to your child's birthday. They usually have to hang around for a couple of hours and wait. Of course I want to treat these people as guests.

ElsieOops Mon 05-Aug-13 10:04:37

If you didn't grown up here then you won't have had them as a kid. I remember loving finding a few little treats in them - and also enjoyed putting them together for my kids parties. But then I could only ever afford simple tea parties for about 6 children.

soverylucky Mon 05-Aug-13 10:06:27

You don't have to do them. Most parties that my dd's have been to they have got some pick n mix in a cellophane bag with a balloon and a bit of cake.
I personally wouldn't do the sort of party you are planning - food for adults, 40 kids, entertainer etc. Do what you want to do. No-one should expect a party bag and if a kid is upset by lack of party bag after they have been entertained for two hours then their parents need to address this.

bumblebeaver Mon 05-Aug-13 10:11:50

I was impressed when we went to a party recently for a neighbour's DD where we made bead necklaces. Tonnes of beads and bit of thread set out on a blanket. One girl asked for her party bag and was told her necklace was her gift.

I have to admit I'm feeling the pressure though, DS will be 4 soon, and I am planning a really nice party for our friends and his and don't really want to do bags. I may be a wimp but I really don't want all the children asking me for party bags and having to tell them there aren't any - it seems to h. Very annoying.

Tailtwister Mon 05-Aug-13 10:18:15

If you don't want to do party bags then just don't do them! I don't see the problem with giving the children a piece of cake to take away and if you're really fussed a balloon or something.

As for food for would think they are old enough to ensure they eat before they come and I certainly wouldn't be serving (or expecting to be served) alcohol at a child's party either!

CamperWidow Mon 05-Aug-13 10:25:34

My eldest is having a Pirates and Pixies party and we are making wands/hooks/hats/necklaces and those are going in the bags with a piece of cake. No plastic tat and things the kids have made will be more appreciated all round!

TheSecondComing Mon 05-Aug-13 10:33:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bababababoom Mon 05-Aug-13 10:40:26

Don't do it. The kids never play with the stuff inside them, it all gets thrown away, and it's always full of sweets the parents don't want them to eat anyway. Lucky dip is a better idea. Last year we did party bags, but made a little colouring book to go in there - and a piece of cake. That was plenty. And we decorated brown paper lunch bags.

I'd never feed the adults either - parents do stay, but it's a children's party and I've never provided food, or expected it. If they want to pick at the food when the kids have finished, that's fine.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 05-Aug-13 10:52:06

I loved doing the party bags but the venue where DS has had his party the last few years does their own bags and I have missed doing them.

It doesn't have to be tat, i have done bubble wands, inflatable balls, travel games, coloured bubble bath etc. Few sweets, cake and stickers and the children love them.

haggisaggis Mon 05-Aug-13 10:52:26

I don't do party bags as such - just give the kids a wee gift to signify home time - it could be a bracelet or a small toy. I don't put cake in the party bag either - it gets eaten at the party.

TheSecondComing Mon 05-Aug-13 11:35:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 05-Aug-13 11:43:38

At least the balls can be played with and the travel connect 4 etc are great for long car journeys. Party bag tat is those fortune fish, stretchy men etc. Things that dont get played with and just thrown away (although i save them to give away at halloween lol). Id rather spend money on one decent thing that is likely to get played with.

mumnotmachine Mon 05-Aug-13 11:44:56

I used to buy the Lucky Bags instead of doing party bags, they were a pound each and saved sooo much hassle!

thegreylady Mon 05-Aug-13 12:11:49

Go to Home Bargains or Pound Shop and get bubbles,lollipops,bouncy balls or stickers.I used to make napkins into 'Dick Whittington bags' with a balloon a few sweets and some stickers.Fix to a pencil with elastic or thread or a hair bobble for girls-very cheap and cheerful smile

Party bags aren't mandatory!

FreudiansSlipper Mon 05-Aug-13 12:16:23

a friend of mine wrapped up a piece of birthday cake and there was a lucky dip much better idea and cheaper. i shall be doing this next time

Dackyduddles Mon 05-Aug-13 12:23:48

I don't know it matters so long as you aren't sniffy if your child doesn't receive one at a party they attend....

bluefox37 Mon 05-Aug-13 12:27:16

Most kids tend to expect them but I find with the contents that my wee ones have received , end up in the bin or broken after a day or so.A bit of cake and a punch ball balloon seems to go down well.

500internalerror Mon 05-Aug-13 12:29:11

Hand held windmill thingy, with a flump sellotaped to the stick. Cake in the other hand.

WhatWouldGrandmaDo Mon 05-Aug-13 12:30:26

For DS1's 5th birthday last year I made a bunch of fairy cakes. When the kids arrived we sat them at the table with a load of icing and various sprinkles and they all spent 15 minutes decorating one (well several in the end 'can I do one for my sister / brother / mum / hamster' etc!). I stuck those in the party bags with some bubbles etc.

This year I got a set of sticker /activity books from Book People and gave them one of those with some cake and the leftover sweeties from the school 'it's my birthday so I've brought in some haribo' session.

Beastofburden Mon 05-Aug-13 12:31:07

Party escalation is a real pressure on people with low incomes. In your shoes I would be less stressed by party bags than by the bouncy castle/food for adults thing. I really dont know how people are supposed to keep up and afford all that (not getting at you, OP, more sympathising).

I used to give one small present per child, no party bags or other tat. With a slice of cake. but then I never did professional entertainment/ bouncy castles, it was all blind mans bluff and apple bobbing- traditinoal party games, supervised by moi, for around eight kids. When theyw ere older, it was capture the flag with a a party in the local woods.

Beastofburden Mon 05-Aug-13 12:31:46

agree with Gma on decorating fairy cakes, you can do mini pizzas too and then they eat them smile

iseenodust Mon 05-Aug-13 12:34:06

It's the faff not so much the cost (although I am very cheap wink). So The Works is my friend. Last year party bags were not in a bag and consisted of a packet of Haribo and a book (eg buy box of 10 Horrible Histories for £12.99). Year before it was small wooden box sets of dominoes £1.50 and on 3 for 2!

SamGeek Mon 05-Aug-13 12:35:04

I really don't like giving out or receiving junk food as a 'gift', so would never put sweets in a party bag. Bits of plastic rubbish also end up in the bin. In the last few years, I've done alternative 'take home gifts', last year I bought a cheap multi-pack of books from Book People (often £5 - £10 for 15 books or so) and each child got a book to take home. Children's magazines/comics are also a hit.

PeterParkerSays Mon 05-Aug-13 12:36:27

I had DS's party at the weekend. They all got £1 plastic mugs with a few sweets and a power ball in, as I was sick of DS coming home from parties with rubbish that breaks within 10 minutes of getting it in the door. Much easier to hand out at the end as well.

Flatiron Mon 05-Aug-13 12:38:38

I've tended to regard party bags for my DCs Birthdays as a bit of a challenge - make them as varied as poss. for the least amount of money! As for being upset if my children don't receive party bags - they might be, but I'm certainly not! No squashy bits of uneaten cake that go in the fridge till they're inedible, no sub-cracker novelties to clutter the place up even more, and a great opportunity to lecture DC about how not to expect things, the importance of gratitude for what you do have, etc., etc!

CharlotteBronteSaurus Mon 05-Aug-13 12:39:59

i'm happy to do party bags, as the DC really do love them
however, their enthusiasm for them does not appear in any way linked to the contents, so a bit of cake and a packet of sweets is more than enough. it's all about the sweets, really.

Quenelle Mon 05-Aug-13 12:47:25

I stay with my 4yo son but I never eat any of the food, nor do any of the other parents. Sometimes we're offered a cup of tea, sometimes not. And we all help serve the food and clear the tables afterwards.

So far there has always been party bags with a few sweets and a couple of pocket money toys but I don't think there would be any eyebrows raised at just a balloon and a piece of cake.

I appreciate my experience is still limited because DS is only 4 and I can imagine the ante gets upped as the children get older but perhaps the other parents would be grateful and relieved if somebody else was the first to start reversing the trend?

TheDoctrineOfAllan Mon 05-Aug-13 12:55:41

You do not need to provide food or lager for parents!

Iwaswatchingthat Mon 05-Aug-13 13:07:31

I am happy to do party bags.

The kids love them and they don't have to be expensive.

I don't love tat either, but my dds do.

They won't be little forever - I wouldn't stress about it. Just give them some cake and some bubbles.

It means they know it is home time too!

Enjoy your party OP.

SpiceAddict Mon 05-Aug-13 13:18:23

Don't want to sabatage thread but.....please don't put balloons in party bags!

They are incredibly dangerous as children can swallow them when trying to blow them up. Also - small balls, lollipops, boiled sweets, flimsy plastic stuff....

Why do people lose all sense when it comes to party bags? This is stuff that my DS has got when he was still under 5. Even for older kids, many people will have younger siblings around so please think about this.

Cake, some crayons & pack of chocolates like milkyway/stars/buttons - lovely.

LazyMonkeyButler Mon 05-Aug-13 13:39:03

I used to enjoy making the party bags! They are certainly not something you have to do, but I agree that they are useful to signify the end of the party smile.

MyDarlingClementine Mon 05-Aug-13 13:47:22

I rememeber LOVING party bags too. You only get one childhood, dc love them, its up to you what you put in them...they do not need much.

twinkletoedelephant Mon 05-Aug-13 14:24:16

You can get a 9 pack of bubbles from the pound shop with the twins party later this year I have been buying a few packs of bubbles and the stick things for balloons they will also get a packet of haribo and some cake kids love party bags

Now dd is older they tend to get a story or puzzle book each

Panzee Mon 05-Aug-13 14:28:40

Party delights sell bags of tat that you drop straight into the party bag, for a quid each. If it's the faff you hate.

Mopswerver Mon 05-Aug-13 14:34:59

I won't do it.
Who really needs more cheap junk in the house?

Just put a piece of cake and a small party-related item in the bag e.g one year we had a puppy themed party and I bought a pack of those miniature plastic dogs and put one each in the bag with the cake. Another yr (magic party) I made & decorated rabbit shaped biscuits and they all went home with one of those.

I think they're quite nice at the right age (about 4 to 7) before and after that one little going home present (bubbles/ lucky dip ?), or a balloon, or a piece of cake will all do perfectly well instead !

wendybird77 Mon 05-Aug-13 16:31:36

I'm also from another country and do not understand the party bag. I'll probably make my kids social pariahs. I also don't understand cake in bags - eat the cake at the party! It gets manky and smashed in bags and I can't bare the thought of wasted cake. I'm now concerned that all the kids are going to hate my kids party this month as I wasn't going to do party bags - I think I'll have to rethink this. Love the idea of comics / colouring books.

WorraLiberty Mon 05-Aug-13 16:36:28

They're a bit of fun and the kids seem to love them

That's all you have to 'understand'.

Obviously you don't have to provide them though.

elk4baby Mon 05-Aug-13 16:37:08

We had an adult's birthday party a couple of months back. As most of our friends have families, there were quite a few children as well. Of course, there were no party bags. But one child was in hysterics (and I do mean a full blown tantrum, crying and screaming and all) because she didn't get a party bag when it was time to go home. Mind you, the parents are a little soft for my liking, as they almost never say 'NO' to their kids. I was forced to look through whatever was left from DCs party from the previous year to find some plastic tat and put it in a bag just so she'd calm down. hmm shock

Why is this tradition for giving useless junk to the guests exists is beyond me. But every year, in addition to planning my DCs birthdays, cooking the food, planning entertainment, I have to buy a load of cheap crap and spend the night before stuffing it all into bags.... And any party that my kids are invited to, produces another one of these 'bags' - filled with crap that ends up being spread around our house like a plague.

Could someone PLEASE explain what is the point of all this?!

elk4baby Mon 05-Aug-13 16:42:12

(I'm really not a mean person, I swear smile)

chillinwithmyyonis Mon 05-Aug-13 16:44:53

SpiceAddict, I don't get the giving of balloons (flat ones) either, especially to preschool children. My dd has been given them at preschool and reception when its someones birthday, it did make me hmm, yeah thanks for the choking hazard!

I do agree wendy and have often gone down the eat the cake at the party if you want it route - but there's always someone who seems to want to take it home with them hmm

I think we do seem to have a very strong tradition here now that they won't go home til they've been given something grin

LynetteScavo Mon 05-Aug-13 17:02:21

SoupDragon Mon 05-Aug-13 09:49:13
*Think of them as now fuck off home bags instead.8


A piece of cake and a helium balloon should do if if you really hate party bags.

I never received party bags at the end of a party as a was a piece of cake to take home, and maybe a lollipop and that was it! [old gimmer]

Growlithe Mon 05-Aug-13 17:26:40

What are you all doing with them that it takes you all night to fill them? confused

jollydiane Mon 05-Aug-13 17:37:18

Just a suggestion, get a piping bag (£6.19 for 50) here, fill with sweets, and secure the top with string or ribbon like this

HaroldLloyd Mon 05-Aug-13 17:58:09

I invited my friend to DS first birthday party and as most of the guests were about one or under mentioned there were going up be no party bags.

Dropped out at last minute and also put ah well at least you won't have see my DC cry when they don't get a party bag!

I was very shocked.

Themobstersknife Mon 05-Aug-13 18:09:10

We gave out fab lollies at the end of DDs party and they went down a treat.

HoikyPoiky Mon 05-Aug-13 18:56:07

I don't get the angst over things like this. If you don't want to do then don't. It's fine smile It really is that simple.

I enjoy doing them and the kids love them smile You certainly don't have to do them if you don't want to, I don't think my kids expect them!

FreakoidOrganisoid Mon 05-Aug-13 19:22:28

I dont like party bags particularly but in the past have done:
Helium balloon
Grow your own sunflower/pumpkin/tomato pot
Milkshake glass
Foam baseball bat& ball

Plus usually some bubbles or a fun size back of buttons

skyeskyeskye Mon 05-Aug-13 19:24:38

They shouldn't be expected, but sadly they are. My friends DD 6yo gets very stroppy if there is no party bag. Recently DD was at a party, they said no party bags. DD asked where hers was when we went home and I just explained that not everybody does them and that she shouldnt expect one.

When I had a party a couple of years ago, I explained to guests that I would rather pay the money towards a bouncy castle for them all to have fun on, than to waste money on rubbish in party bags. Most parents were OK about it.

raisah Mon 05-Aug-13 19:32:53

I love doing party bags & the yellow moon company is my friend as they also raise funds for charities. I usually put bubbles, crayons, mini note books, erasers & sweets. The book company does sets of books quite cheaply so it's easy to keep costs down.

I serve birthday cake during the party as pudding but put a cupcake in the party bag as it's a bit more robust.

Rufus43 Mon 05-Aug-13 19:39:00

I did party bags when the children were little. Whole load of tat which always goes down well but the best ones were when I got a load of age relevant books and handed them out.

Now I do a mix of cheapy sweets and lollies together with the cake or a large (cheap) bags of sweets which you can get if there is an offer on

I explained to my daughter that if she only had 2 or 3 friends to her party tha they could all go to Claire's and buy a little something,

I remember having what turned out to be the last party for my then 12 year olds and the boys asking me where their party bags were!!! They go a bag of sweets and this followed a day out, McDonald's, and a video with unlimited sweets and popcorn!!!

Rufus43 Mon 05-Aug-13 19:40:03

God keep forgetting this YANBU!!!! Ditch the bags!!!!!

Cheeseatmidnight Mon 05-Aug-13 19:43:58

I did food boxes and put a little toy in each one ... Something really small. We got a party bag at the weekend and it had loads in and dd played with it for 5 minutes. Total waste

girliefriend Mon 05-Aug-13 19:46:34

YABU I really don't understand why people get stressed about them, kids love them and they can be done really cheaply (look at party bag stuff on Amazon) a few sweets and a bit of cake and done!!

Personally i really enjoy putting them together.

SquidgyMummy Mon 05-Aug-13 19:48:06

Meandering slightly but as Carole Middleton made her fortune with party bags, i had a nose at her site and was quite impressed by the gift cups quite reasonable 79p each, use again and fill with sweets

(no i don't work for her!!)

jackandjilly Mon 05-Aug-13 19:54:41

I love a good party bag, gives the message loud and clear, party is overgringrin

MrsH1979 Mon 05-Aug-13 20:05:37

I'm not a big fan of party bags. I've gone for a 10 pack of Julia Donaldson books (x2) for DD's 3rd party from Book People - works out £1 each. Personally I'd prefer a book / sticker book than a bag of chocolate / sweets / plastic tat. But it's personal taste. I'm sure as a child I"d have loved either!

HahaHarrie Mon 05-Aug-13 20:09:12

Don't do them if you don't want to. It's more important to host a fun party.

And if you are going to bags filled with lots of cheap plastic tat, definitely don't do one. Waste of money and it's just land fill.

Things we've done or received that have been great are:
playmobil figures (£2 each, but purchased on a 3 for 2 offer)
helium balloons
made at the party and taken home craft (eg bead bracelets, medieval princess hats, fairy wings) and cooking, including a recipe and cookie cutter that were used at the party.
books (the Book People are great)
photos from a photo booth (Aunty with a digital camera, printer and props)
a chidlren's magazine
matchbox car

znaika Mon 05-Aug-13 20:15:49

Well I'm foreign and didn't have them as a kid- but I love them!!! You all sound so thoughtful that there is a small something for the kids to say thanks for getting dressed up and coming and playing games to celebrate with me. Who cares if it's just some sweets- this is SO kind-my DD loves all this stuff. And books? wow!! having said that, a piece of cake in a little napkin is very cute isn't it? and enough, surely? DD saves it and opens it up all dramtically waiting for gasps and oohs and aahs- what a cool childhood tradition.

Ahh, you're so sweet and appreciative znaikasmile

raisah Mon 05-Aug-13 21:43:04

Squidgymummy the yellow moon company do multipacks of gift cups far more cheaply than party pieces. I always order from them & their service has always been good.

Wafflenose Mon 05-Aug-13 22:18:43

I'm not keen on them, but have done them once or twice. When the DCs were tiny, I tended to give their friends a balloon and a piece of cake, and maybe a cheap book (bought in a multipack or pound shop) too.

When DD1 was about 4, she had quite a small party, and I bought a load of white T shirts for a couple of quid each, and tied dyed and decorated them with sequins. The DC loved them! It took quite a while, but it's my hobby and enjoyed doing it. Some of the parents thanked me for giving those out, instead of the usual foam glider and plastic tat. I'm thinking of doing the same again this year.

whois Mon 05-Aug-13 22:21:32

Ah you're being grumpy Op.

Party bags are ace.

Cake, pack of mini-haribo or smarties or something, balloon, bubbles. Some.

Or cake and a book.

Or just cake.

whois Mon 05-Aug-13 22:21:52

That should be DONE not SOME.

MrsTedMosby Mon 05-Aug-13 22:27:51

DS went to a party recently and they didn't get a party bag at the end. I was delighted not to have some plastic tat to throw in the bin. He was happy with the slice of cake he got, and didn't notice the lack of bag.

So don't do them if you don't want. I was surprised but not disappointed, and I don't think any of the kids noticed.

MadeOfStarDust Mon 05-Aug-13 22:34:49

cake , bag, balloon tied through handle - get them out, people go home......

but really - not compulsory..

Thewhingingdefective Mon 05-Aug-13 22:51:50

Honestly, don't stress about it. No need to make party bags a big issue. Most kids just like a little memento to take home from the party - a balloon and a bit of cake will do, but an extra little something like some sweets, stickers, temporary tats etc make their day.

Or do something like an activity where they make something to take home - make a badge or party hat, or decorate a big cookie or something. Then stick in a paper bag with name on and tie with a bit of parcel ribbon.

My kids love party bags and they are only ever filled with a few sweets, slice of cake and 2-3 cheap little toys, nothing amazing or high quality.

chocoluvva Mon 05-Aug-13 23:09:38

Sorry - I've only skimmed through - but a suggestion:

Give them all a named empty bag into which they will put sweets that they find during a sweetie treasure-hunt and/or that they managed to throw into a plastic bowl. Do tell them that the sweets they win/find are to go into the party bag for going home with them.

My DC loved these games. It did used to need a bit of diplomatic/sneaky sharing sometimes if there were slower DCS who didn't manage to find/get very many.

chocoluvva Mon 05-Aug-13 23:10:30

Cupcake with their name iced on it? Time-taking though.

idiot55 Mon 05-Aug-13 23:46:02

Book people book packs and split.

Cake , balloon. Job done

Arsescratcher Tue 06-Aug-13 00:46:52

I hate the crap that usually comes back in them - a whistle that your want to stamp on after 10mins of them being home, or the bubbles that make or a slippy floor (I sound like a miserable sod I know)

The last few parties I did I -

One year went to pound land and bought the children each a story book. There were some beautifully illustrated fairy tales and we just wrapped them up and did a box so they helped themselves on way out.

Last year we had a garden fairy party so I got some mini bottle of fairy dust and we put them in organza bags, worked out less than 99p per child.

I've just stocked up at dotcom gift shop for the next party as their stuff was as little as 10p an item!

Arsescratcher Tue 06-Aug-13 00:48:09

Oh I've also done face painting at a party, watched some YouTube clips and they got to get a face painting and slice of cake at home time!

differentnameforthis Tue 06-Aug-13 02:06:07

1] Don't do them
2] cancel the bouncy castle..seriously, poncy & 'trying to hard' ciome to mind when people arrange stuff like that, daft too on a tight budget!
3] don't feed the parents (I just did a 4yr old birthday, and didn't lay on food for the parents, the party isn't for them)

JenaiMorris Tue 06-Aug-13 06:59:51

I loved doing party bags <wistful>

Don't cancel the bouncy castle ! I think they're fun and make for a good party atmosphere if you're having a party at home in the garden. smile

Kytti Tue 06-Aug-13 09:06:41

I hate party bags. I have grudgingly conformed... but I only put a balloon, a couple of wrapped sweets and a piece of cake in! Like the others say, gets everyone out the door well!

chocoluvva Tue 06-Aug-13 09:27:28

YANBU though OP.I wonder how they started -perhaps for the slices of cake? Then some bright spark with too much time on their hands and money kind person put some balloons in to the bags too,then someone else put in cake,balloons and those awful whistles, then..........!

Tesco has sricker books on 3 for £5 (sticker price 4/5.99 each so a good deal) we got these and a tube of smarties each as the smartie four pack was £1 on offer.

They had lots of different books to choose from generic animals transport etc through to barbie moshi monsters etc.

I quite like making party bags up though and have themed them to the party but they do work out expensive abd time consuming.

I wouldn't be offended if someone didn't give a party bag though.

shockers Tue 06-Aug-13 10:22:44

One year we had 2 craft tables, one with cheap white t-shirts from the supermarket and fabric crayons, so they could design their own t-shirt to take home (the t-shirts were £1 each!), the other table had 'crowns' that I'd cut out of coloured card for the children to decorate with sequins, feathers and pom poms.

They got to take home the creations that had kept them occupied at the party, with a piece of cake.

I was rather pleased with that idea!

littlesos Tue 06-Aug-13 10:32:57

I've never done party bags, I hate them. What I do is give every child a book, a mini bag of haribo and a piece of birthday cake. I get the books from the book people in packs of 10 or 15, so they usually cost around £1 each, wrap them up and there you go.

Jome Tue 06-Aug-13 11:08:22

Sometimes, it can be daunting to invite child's friends and their carers to a party since the cost is such an issue but my children don't insist on birthday parties and I have organised them in the past to actually meet other parents!

I don't stay if the party is held at a soft play area but if at child's home then I ask the host if they need any help. To save money, my children had parties at home and I organised treasure hunts (yes, round the house and in small garden), musical cushions (not enough chairs!), colour in their own masks, pass the parcel, etc.

Party bags: sweeties, bubble tubs, colouring pens, notepad and ballon on a stick have been very popular.

Mumzy Tue 06-Aug-13 18:07:04

My party bags contents are: balloon, glowstick, paper aeroplane or colour in doll,1 freddos chocolate, lollipop

ANother vote for Book People packs, split up.
Add a piece of cake
If you really feel it's necessary, add a balloon/ small bubbles or a mini bar of chocolate (I don't bother tbh)

Oblomov Tue 06-Aug-13 18:23:41

Love prepping party bags. Keep my eyes open for treats, in the month leading up to party.
Love doing it.

MadeOfStarDust Tue 06-Aug-13 18:44:31

I don't like the book people thing .... how does anyone know what level any kid is reading at, or the books they like, or if they have them... most here end up in the charity shop bag...

it always seems pretentious - giving something the parents will like , not for the kids... who would most likely love a simple lollipop.

SoupDragon Tue 06-Aug-13 18:46:21

How do you know which children like lollipops?

MadeOfStarDust Tue 06-Aug-13 18:53:42

Soup... I don't, but someone in the family will usually eat it...

whereas they don't really want 3 copies of "Horrible Histories.." or "Rainbow Magic <child's name> " people always think that is so clever - yes we already got one ourselves, and one from Grandma and one from her best friend....

Bakingtins Tue 06-Aug-13 19:05:08

I hate my DS bringing home plastic crap and more sweets, on top of all the rubbish he'll have eaten at the party, but he loves party bags. I have appreciated the books much more but not sure he's that thrilled. At his last knights/ princesses party each child had a named empty party bag (yellow moon) and we did some crafts at the party that they then got to take home, plus 'treasure' (chocolate money) from the piñata and a piece of cake. Seemed to go down ok. Shrinkles worked particularly well as a craft/ gift, but we also did scratch art dragons and decorated crowns. I actually enjoyed doing stuff that fitted in with the party theme rather than completely random tat.
I agree with the posters that said if you are going to resent spending money and time on them then don't do them.

Bakingtins Tue 06-Aug-13 19:06:56

madeof if you have the book already surely it goes into the birthday box to regift? Better that the tat going into the bin.

Parmarella Tue 06-Aug-13 19:09:49

I don't do them.

I don't do cake wrapped into a napkin either.

Both concepts are incomprehensible to me, a small part where I have not conformed to British habits.

I did for a bit as I felt pressured into them. But now I just don't.

AaDB Tue 06-Aug-13 19:15:37

I have done them but won't anymore. I've put in a glow stick, boxes of Smarties, Haribo, etc. I buy an extra value birthday cake and cut that up. I like that they mark the end of the party.

If my ds cried or made a fuss if he didn't get a party bag if be shock angry and take him straight home to explain his rudeness.

Adults asking for food and BOOZE shock

izzydazzling Tue 06-Aug-13 19:21:39

Be brave and just don't do them. They are (usually) full of plastic crap and chewy sweets anyway.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 06-Aug-13 21:16:43

Definitely stuff 'em.

I buy books from the Book People ,wrap them up and stick a cone of sweets on the side.

JenaiMorris Tue 06-Aug-13 21:29:47

It doesn't matter what's in them (and in my mind a book is as much a party favour as a bag of plastic nonsense and a flump) - they are Good Things.

I can't imagine finding them tiresome. How mean spirited!

roslet Tue 06-Aug-13 21:47:53

I genuinely like the plastic crap, it is fun! My children love receiving party bags. The toys that they've played with most enthusiastically have been parachute men, sticky crawl down window figures, bouncy balls, telescopes, paper fans. But they love a party bag pretty much whatever is in it. The last party they went to, their bag contained a packet of crisps, a lolly, a tiny notebook and a single Fireman Sam lenticular sticker (cut from a sheet of about ten). Must have cost under a pound but they were so chuffed to have a little something to take home. We've been to a few parties where they haven't given them though and nobody minded. If you don't like doing them, letting each child pick a couple of sweets on the way out might encourage them to go at the right time. Many children only ever see a sweet at parties and so they are more prized than they were in the 70s and 80s I reckon. smile

Retropear Tue 06-Aug-13 21:57:52

Used to love doing them.sad

Katiepoes Tue 06-Aug-13 22:08:43

At least you only have to do them if you have a party. we are expected to bring 'treats' for all the kids in a class/nursery group. At nursery we can't bring cakes or sweets. We now have an almost weekly trail of tiny sticker books/bubbles/pencils coming in - and this will only get worse.

Some Mums - and yes it is always Mums - arrive with NAMED treats. Handmade and hand packed. Bastards. I just about manage to order a sack of junk online in time to be handed out. My daughter is three. I will be a gibbering wreck by the time we make it to the bowling & pizza days.

Nacster Tue 06-Aug-13 22:14:25

I like doing something crafty that they can take home instead of plastic tat.

Then they take home their creation + cake.

But generally, I love doing kids parties <total weirdo emoticon>

DS1's party last weekend had something like 30 kids at it, at my house. Plus loads of adults who all know us well enough to bring their own booze. I did a small table of snacks for grownups, and timed it so it wasn't a "meal," kids had a few sandwiches/ buns each.

It was gas craic, I love summer birthdays. grin

Do, or do not. But just do what you feel comfy with, why bother doing stuff just for the sake of it?

Katiepoes Tue 06-Aug-13 22:15:14

Nacster can I hire you?

mumofoneandonebakingnicely Tue 06-Aug-13 22:24:09

I couldn't throw a birthday party without one. For our sons birthday we did age appropriate birthday boxes:

Soft Giraffe
Bubble Bath
Sensory toy


Flash Cards
Soft Giraffe
Stacking Cups
Soft sweets

Under 5's

Mini Note book
Mini Jigsaws

The Toddlers and Under fives all got hot food boxes Chicken Nuggets, Fish Fingers, Wedges and Chips and tomato Ketchup(all home made) there was also:
Coronation Chicken Sandwiches
Ham Sandwiches
Cheese Sandwiches
Cold Meat Platter
Various breads
Olive Oil
Mini Calzones
Pomodori Secchi Fritti
Greek plata
Tapas - Meat balls, Risotto
Rice Salad
Pasta Salad
Chinese snacks
Indian Snacks
Sausage Rolls
Pork Pies
Chocolate brownies
Chocolate Éclairs
Fairy Cakes
Ice cream

Sicilian Lemonade
Ginger Beer
Elderflower fizz
Morello Cherryade

Everything was homemade.

Monkeyandanimal Wed 07-Aug-13 08:23:38

Ha Ha, love the 'now fuck off home' bags soupdragon!

JenaiMorris Wed 07-Aug-13 08:28:19

Now Fuck Off Home™ bags would be fabulous for all manner of hosting situations. Dinner parties, drop ins, work meetings... grin

philden Wed 07-Aug-13 08:34:41

My kids grown up but I never did "regular" party bags we gave money to charity and the charity supplied a badge for each child - along with this I would write a note for parents with suggestion they could do the same, but none ever did. I have no regrets

AngelsWithSilverWings Wed 07-Aug-13 08:36:33

I'm with you on party bags but mainly because they are always full of plastic rubbish that gets thrown on the floor of my car while the kids desperately try and get to the sweets on the way home from the party.

I made my own sweet cones this year and it was so much cheaper than party bags. 40 cones cost me about £20 to make.

Coconutty Wed 07-Aug-13 08:42:13

If you don't want to do it, don't do it. Your choice.

Catsize Wed 07-Aug-13 08:49:26

mumofone, I really hope that was a joke!

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 07-Aug-13 08:51:13

Although probably done with the best intentions, the splitting up of Book People sets is generally a waste of time because the children already have all these books. And because they have become so ubiquitous you can't regift them as everyone has them already.

exoticfruits Wed 07-Aug-13 08:53:33

I don't see the problem- just don't do them.

buggyRunner Wed 07-Aug-13 09:47:03

I didn't do them but did a lucky dip with toys from the £1 store the kids loved it!

melrose Wed 07-Aug-13 09:53:25

I have always just done a single item and a couple of sweets always around £1 each. Have done:
- books, various (split book people sets, totally disagree with poster above, have done elmer and themed party around it, and can't believe everyone already has them all!)
- frisbees
- water pistols (reduced in muli sets in tesco)
- cups
- drinks bottles
- baseball caps (England flag, football party!)

All far more useful then plastic cramp and well received

doublemuvver Wed 07-Aug-13 10:00:53

At my kids' parties I've put a note on the invite stating there will be no party bags and I will give a donation to the local hospital's neo natal ward instead. Kids do get a bit of cake though so don't leave empty handed!

Oblomov Wed 07-Aug-13 16:59:22

shock at MumOfOne !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

mumofoneandonebakingnicely Thu 08-Aug-13 14:58:00

I know I panicked Oblomov. I wanted to make sure there was enough food. I've been to people's homes & needed to make something when we arrived home.


BeCool Thu 08-Aug-13 15:02:51

that's some panic mumofone grin

mumofoneandonebakingnicely Thu 08-Aug-13 17:26:15

No joke Catsize smile. It was a serious panic to say the least BeCool. Needles to say there was loads of food left over. xxx

NaturalBaby Thu 08-Aug-13 23:23:34

mumofone how the heck did you home make all of that?? You could set up a business preparing all of that for other people.

Caboodle Thu 08-Aug-13 23:45:55

Er....can we come to one of your parties mumofone? grin

mumofoneandonebakingnicely Fri 09-Aug-13 11:27:52

naturalBaby it was a lot of work to say the least but where possible I pre made things in advance, things like the indian snacks were frozen and just defrosted the night before.

Sure thing Caboodle

I will have to do it all over again in April for our sons 2nd birthday and then in the November for our Daughters first birthday. I still have my DP birthday to cater in October (six weeks before our daughter is due). xx

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