Thursday, January 21, 2010

An Open Letter to Moms about Goodie Bags

Dear Moms,

I hate kid parties. But what I really hate is goodie bags. I am sure Lydia and I are going to be polar opposites on this. She's super crafty and creative and wields a mean glue gun. I go into the craft store to buy birthday gifts for other kids. And mine walk through the store like it's DisneyLand. [Editorial comment: I actually hate goodie bags, too. Can I please have some more easily breakable, plastic crap from the dollar store? With extra lead paint, if that's possible? And with many tiny choke-able parts?- Lydia]

Your expectation of a goodie bag is the equivalent of a Gift Card as a birthday present. You're giving me or my kid a gift that requires me to add one more thing to my to-do list. "Hey! Happy Birthday! Here, go run an errand." [Editorial comment: And here we differ because I would take a gift card over a Bratz doll any day of the week. - Lydia]

Don't get me wrong. I can do up a birthday. I made a mean Tank Cake last year for Darth Lefty. We routinely do pool parties because 1) their birthdays are all in the summer, 2) it's easy (Take kids. Add water.) and 3) there is nothing that's going to justify me paying money to have to be at Chuck-E-Cheese. I'd no sooner pay money to go to Riker's Island, and they have better food. Not that I've, you know, been - to - Riker's Island. But after as many Law & Order episodes that I've watched, I'm pretty sure I could navigate my way through there blindfolded. Education, people. These things come in handy.

So it is going to come as no great surprise that, when it comes to birthdays, I completely oppose the goodie bag. For the simple reason that, ummm, you got to go to a party, see your friends, play, have cake, and - these days - the party is at some kids-on-crack indoor trampoline/air filled funhouse/videogame/build-your-own-Ferrari/87-dollars-per-kid Insaneapallooza. They expect a gift after all that?


[Editorial comment: It's also an opportunity for Perfect Mommy to prove how awesome she is by making The Best Goodie Bag Ever. A cute little (100% recycled or organic) bag filled with adorable, artistic, hand-made or over-the-top expensive crap designed to make her look good and set the bar so ridiculously high that no one wants to invite her kid to another party for the next five years. - Lydia]

And, the contents? It's totally different if the kids did some sort of craft at the party, or had a pinata and Party Mom put the candy in bags for the kids. But this is crap from the 14-cent store that makes McDonald's toys seem like Faberge Eggs.

An inventory of the last goodie bag that entered my house:

  • Miniature Disney character playing cards printed on tissue paper
  • Candy that my three year old can't have yet or he will choke and die
  • Bubbles
  • Unsharpened pencils
  • Uninflated, oddly flaccid balloons
  • Erasers that look like food but are not food
  • A yo-yo that broke before I got the plastic packaging off it
  • Temporary tattoos of what I think may be gang symbols
Thank you, Party Mom. I found half the contents of your goody bag scattered all over the back seat of my car and the rest I threw out when my kid wasn't looking. Then I pretended it got lost. But the dog got into the trash and I later had to pull a drool covered eraser shaped like a hamburger out of his jowls. Awesome. I should have burned that damn bag and all its contents. Because like I said - goodie bags are evil and I. Hate. Them.

Here's a poem I have composed about goody bags:

I hate you, goodie bags.
You suck worse menstrual cramps.
The End.

So, please. For my sanity. For the sake of the environment, for the sake of saving a few dollars in a time of recession, don't do it. Don't give out goodie bags. And if any little snots (or worse, their mothers) complain that they are not getting one at your party - tell them, oh so sweetly, to go suck an egg.

And on that note, I'm out.

xo, Kate
[I totally concur. XO from me, too. - Lydia]

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39 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes!! Last year I made cookies for the kids to take as they left - everyone seemed very happy!!

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  2. I have never ever ever done goodie bags, I think they're reprehensable! When I was a kid we didn't get them, because the party is about the BIRTHDAY kid, not the kids at the party. My job as a "Party Mom" is to make sure the kids have fun and help MY kid celebrate their birthday. This whole idea that children shouldn't feel left out is rediculous to me. I take the time to decorate, make a cake, organize games, that alone cost a butload, I'm not giving them crap toys they probably don't even deserve to take home with them too. My 2 cents, this is a sore spot for me.

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  3. You guys are totally speaking my language. I have thrown away more crap while my children are asleep/distracted/in another room- to the point that I have to plan my exit strategy to get the massive pile of plastic crap to the garbage can outside without my children seeing it!

    Bravo, I absolutely love this blog!

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  4. It's ok Melinda - we had a good time Mon at the kids-on-crack indoor trampoline/air filled funhouse!!! :)

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  5. This is such a relief for a mom who's felt pressure that goodie bags were expected - I'm so relieved to hear that they're not only NOT expected but also not appreciated by other moms! My son is going to be 3 in a week and I've been putting off party planning because of the cost and effort that goes into party planning AND the hideous thought of putting together those stupid gift bags that I don't want to do anyway! Now I can finally give myself a break - and permission NOT to do them after all! Yay! I feel liberated! :)

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  6. I despise goodie bags, they are loaded usually with useless crap that my kids insist on keeping for longevity, stowed under their pillow because their "best friend" (of the week) gave it to them. Stop the insanity!

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  7. I have always maintained that you die and if you have been awesome you get to go to Heaven. If you have been a douchebag you get the alternative location = Chuck E Cheese. I knew I was not alone in this belief!

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  8. I hate all that cheap plastic crap that ends up in the landfills & hfcs-filled junk. My friend's mom volunteers for this charity that takes these small plastic toys & "fun-sized" candies. The soldiers give them out to kids overseas, where these little toys are more valued, instead of used up & thrown away: pacificamilitarymoms.com

    We saved up from halloween and holiday parties and donated a large bag. I'm sure there are other similar charities that others can find locally with a search. hth

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  9. You guys are idiots. It's a nice gesture that the kids coming to the party have something, even if it's from the dollar store. Maybe you're mom friends are retarded for putting crap in theirs that may harm kids, but all the ones my child has received have been awesome. So I like goodie bags....my opinion.

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  10. This is so perfect! I love it!

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  11. I must ask if the same applies for weddings? I hate goodie bags at weddings and showers...unless its chocolate don't send me home with crap...and if the dog eats the chocolate I will send he new couple the vet bill as a wedding present.

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  12. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone with hating the goodie bags!!

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  13. How about this: It's your kid's birthday and it's a school day. 1. You're not allowed to bring in baked goods (ie, cupcakes) because you're not a certified nut-free facility. 2. You're not allowed to bring in sweets (ie, Dunkin' Munchkins) because the school is now restricting all foods with sugar as a first-line ingredient (whatever). But you *are* expected to bring in GOODIE BAGS for the classmates, filled with crappola but not candy, the same classmates who are invited to your kid's actual party, where they expect to receive another goodie bag. GAH.

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  14. This kind of waste also happens when the teacher gives my 6 year old son dollar store crap ON A DAILY BASIS for doing God knows what at school. It ALL hits the trash can and I am one of those "GREEN" moms out there... I just can't take it!!! Save your money, grade one teacher, SAVE your precious money....

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  15. I have come to the compromise of sending the invited kids home with the decorations.

    Easy. Cleanup. 'Nuff said.

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  16. I hate goodie bags!!! I have never made them (and I am an Art Teacher and quite crafty), and when my children get home from a Bday party they never make it into the house. Last weekend I got caught in my distaste for goody bags when my 5 year old went to thank "Mom" for inviting him to the party and he turned down the goody bag b/c his mom would just throw it away - oh well, all I could do was smile!

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  17. THANK YOU! I could elaborate, but it would be your first 10-page blog comment, so just thank you.

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  18. Yes, Ayesha, that's the perfect solution. Give them one of the balloons you used to decorate.

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  19. Oh, awesome to the highest degree! If I were at all feeling generous at my children's birthday parties, and not frazzled (at least to some extent), I would make cookies and give them as "goodies." Reading this blog now, however, I am officially never feeling badly again for not giving out goodie bags at my kids' parties! Yay for this blog, and yay for me!

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  20. I Hate the junk. I try to send kids home with something they'd actually use. Last year I sent kids home with balloons form the party, crayola crayons, a couple markers, a sturdy container to hold them in and a coloring book. Total cost to me $2 per kid. Parents thanks for goodie bags they could use "priceless". Thanks for posting--it did make me laugh! I, too, hate the junk. But it does help to transition my child out to the care, so I can tolerate it! Also, I think I have overall been fortunate for goody bags from *most* parents

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  21. I hate them as well. I try to find paper back books on sale ($3) each. I really cringe at more than $3 on a goody bag item. We also have a pinata that the kids get candy. I usually buy the crayons at the back to school sale for 25 cents. But it does add up.

    One thing I do with the other people's plastic crap goody bag items is donate it to the schools wish box. They have some wish box and when the kids earn enough tokens, they can select something. I usually donate a bag of plastic goody bag items and unopened Happy Meal toys each year. My kids must not be all that good because they come home with maybe 5 toys a year from the wish box. So it is a net loss of about 20 plastic toys for me. Yeah! The only time you will applaud your badly behaved children. :)

    I have always said the worst enviromental disaster has been the invention of the dollar store.

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  22. If I ever find out who the mom is that started the whole goodie bag thing, I'm gonna square up and kick her in the taco.

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  23. Well I do make goodie bags and thats exactly what they are, my son is turning nine and I will be giving out age adequate bags, filled with a very nice book marker,goldfish crackers,cookies,and fruit snacks.I know my treat bags will not end up in the garbage and they are healthy snacks that kids actually like.
    If you cant afford to make good bags its best not to make any at all.

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  24. I hate dollar store crap like the plague. As a compromise, my kids really get a kick out of making CD compliations for their friends as party favors. And I make sure it is music that their parents will actuall enjoy listening to in the car.

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  25. I came across this article by putting in google "i hate gift bags at kids parties" ahh.... I feel so much better now that I am not alone. : )

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  26. Perfect. Right there with all of you....goodie bags suck~ please stop the madness!... crack bouncy parties are ridiculous, and Chuck E Cheese is evil. Now why didn't all the other Moms get the memo?

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  27. I realize that this is late in the game post -- but let me ask this: Apparently I'm that so called "perfect mom" who actually enjoys making things for my kid's goody bags and giving away useful items like books this year purchased at a $1 a piece through her school's Scholastic book program (donating leftover to the classroom), aluminum water bottles I found inexpensively through Wal-Mart when her birthday was at a jump club means I'm trying to show off? I suppose all the other mommies who followed suit and asked me where I found the water bottles, or how to find bargain books and asked if it was okay if they borrowed my idea were offended then? Now ask me about goody bags filled with junk and I have a completely different opinion. Those are a big ol' no thanks.

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  28. I once went shopping with my former-nanny-boss-now-my-bestie for her daughter's then 10th birthday sleepover party. No lie- she bought each party guest a 10 inch tall bubblegum machine and the gum to go in it. Not only that, she had planned the party to be a craft party, so she got each guest their own T-shirt to decorate. But of COURSE she didn't want that to be the only take home.
    She's much saner now that the kids are in their 20s. and out of the house.
    whew

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  29. I actually started a business for just this reason. It drov eme completely bonkers to have to rid my car, house and pockets of all that crap. Started making custom soaps which are not only useful but disposable AND affordable. Viola! Good-bye goodie bag, stupid wedding/bridal/baby shower favor.

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  30. I'm doing $5.00 gift cards from Five Below and a few pieces of candy for 9 year olds. That's it. AND I am attaching a Thank you note to it. How much do you hate me now?

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  31. I'm thinking of giving each child a fish. Bwahahahaha!

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  32. I feel sorry for the author of this bull crap rant she went on. Take that stick out of your ass and be thankful your kid even gets invited. Your probably one of the most fake and hypocrite mom in the group that comments nicely, goes he and brews in her computer chair to say this load of crap. Admit it you have no creativity of patience for your own child and move on.

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  33. Refreshing that you didn't give in to goodie bags. I never did either. Here is my #1 reason for saying they are stupid: they are usually items which are WASTEFUL and usually non-recyclable useless PLASTIC. Mean to Mother Earth. Why teach young children that $1 store garbage is okay ? It is NOT ok.
    It encourages wasteful consumerism that is not smart.

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  34. Not big on goodie bags. My daughter (born in August) usually got a pool party and my son (January) typically had a piñata so the kids had bags of candy, stickers and erasers.
    They were over the whole party thing by about age 8.

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  35. I also do not like goodie bags. However, I do like giving something fun to each birthday party goer. I think it is great if your birthday kid can get some joy out of giving and can learn that being generous can feel good and be fun even on the most narcissistic day of the year. Our favorite alternative option so far has been a book swap, where each kid is invited to "Please bring a book to the party for a Book Swap!" Collect the books at the beginning and then at the end offer all the books (add in a bunch from your own collection), and the birthday kid gets to go first to pick one.

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  36. The worst is when the party mom gives out the bag-o-cheap-shit with generic thank you note clipped to it. Stay classy!

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  37. I just attended a 7 year old's party where our friend's 6 year old son threw an 'knees-to-the-ground' tantrum at the end because THERE WERE NO GOODIE BAGS!!! Pizza, cake, sack races, music, a new friend he played with for a few hours... it just wasn't 'enough'?! The worst part? His parents didn't correct or diffuse, they were full of concern for his little psyche - and catered to him by promising him a special gift on the way home. SMH.

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  38. You know you can just say no to these things, right? I've left so many parties without the goodie bag and my kid is always too distracted to realize. So like most things you hate, just don't do it yourself and say no to it. I just smile and tell the mom/friend "thank you so much, but we'll pass." Never have they done more than shrug and maybe ask if I'm sure.

    Past that, you can suck your own egg because my goodie bags rock! Nothing choke-able, full of cool shit and nicer treats like organic raisins and only starting at age 4. I also only do them for the classroom party, not the home party, so yeah I put in some awesome unsharpened pencils. These kids use pencils at school and I'm certain a lot of the teachers pay for them out of pocket (preschool especially). I try to make the goodie bags useful that way.

    I completely agree with the trashy, useless plastic toy hate. I don't agree with the circle-jerk idea that once one mom does something a "bar" has been set for the rest of us to follow. So far, I feel completely outside of this mystical mom world you all seem to live in where you compare yourselves to others with every minor detail and then complain when it's not what you want to deal with. It's just a damn goodie bag. You can LITERALLY take it or leave it.

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