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Good-for-Nothing Bags

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Listen up, ladies: it's time to band together. Remember, together we can change the world -- or at least the annoying and unnecessary tradition of dolling out goody bags at birthday parties.

woman holding goody bag

Yvette Manessis Corporon: It all started innocently enough. This weekend was my son's 6th birthday, so I went ahead and invited his entire kindergarten class and a few assorted friends to the shindig. Mind you, this was not an over-the-top extravaganza -- I've never been a fan of those. Instead I opted for a pizza-fueled sports party at our local church gym. Simple and stress-free; or so I thought ... but that was before the dreaded goody bags ruined everything, including my bank account and mood.

Don't get it? You do the math. Twenty-seven kids equals twenty-seven goody bags -- which equals an hour at the damn party store staring at bags of cheap plastic crap, and me wondering what the heck I'm going to stuff the stupid bags with. Several packages of whistles, tattoos, cheap plastic medals, and assorted candies later, I had the makings of a modest loot bag. Now I say modest because as we all know, our kids sometimes come home with loot bags loaded with toys, games, and candy that you and I both know probably cost the parents a pretty penny. Did I mention that most of this ridiculous paraphernalia comes in packs of 12, so I had to buy 3 packs of everything just to make enough for all the invited kids, not to mention the assorted siblings that always show up and make doe eyes at the parents dolling out the parting gifts. Ka-ching, ka-ching ... it all quickly adds up.

It took me another hour sitting on the floor, stuffing the stupid bags while cursing the person who ever had the bright idea to give kids parting gifts just for showing up at a party, getting sugared up, and singing "Happy Birthday." That's one hour of my life I'll never get back -- an hour I could have spent exercising, organizing my closet, or just staring into the mirror and contemplating my quickly graying hair.

Here's the thing: if the goody bags really made a difference in our kids' lives, I wouldn't be so livid. But we all know the bitter truth -- our kids take the loot bags, rip them open, look inside, and are amused by the contents for about a hot minute. By the time you make it home, your kids have forgotten all about the stuff some parent wasted precious time and money on while your house then becomes littered with assorted whistles, rubber balls, and stickers your kids will never even play with.

So let's solve this problem once and for all. Please, let's make a pact to end this ridiculous and wasteful practice. Forget loot or goody bags -- let's call these bags what they really are: ludicrous good-for-nothing bags.



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26 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris December 21, 2009, 11:10 AM

I hate goodies bags too. Nothing but useless junk usually inside of them. Who really needs another pencil or whistle or rubber ball. My kids are older now, 9 & 14 and my 14 yr old doesn’t have parties anymore but for my 9 yr old, I take a picture of her with each of her guest (now limited to 6) and put in frames that I have bought before party and give to each girl to take home. Easy.

Nina R December 21, 2009, 11:25 AM

I recently had a huge argument with my 7 year old about goody bags. I didn’t want to do them but she insisted that “all the other kids give them out at their parties.” There has to be a better way. I agree that the small, individual gifts like a ball for a sports party are a great idea but the silly bags must go! Also, GPC you had an issue with this mom inviting her child’s entire class, would you rather leave a child out just so you can give the others a parting gift? That does not make any sense to me. The joy of childhood is shared parties like a classmate’s birthday, not a cheap little gift the parents feel obligated to give each child. I say enjoy the parties and lose the loot bags!

Momof2 December 21, 2009, 12:06 PM

Couldn’t find anything better to complain about huh? Whiney story; probably spent a good hour of your time on it I bet!

GPC December 21, 2009, 2:35 PM

Nina, I believe that real friends should be invited to parties, not just random individuals. Why would I make my kid hang out with someone they wouldn’t normally hang out with or just plain dislike? I don’t invite people I don’t really know or don’t like to my get togethers. Why should I make my kids act like they want someone to be there when in reality they don’t care either way?

Anonymous December 21, 2009, 6:28 PM

Hate the goody bags and refuse to give them. When we get them I toss before the kids see (or soon after). I did get a great idea from a friend. I do give one gift in a simple paper bag (make my own labels or order from tiny prints). Last year I bought 20 Disney beach towels on sale for $5 (down from $19), good quality and the parents loved them. I loved them because they were good quality gifts instead of a bunch of cheap crap made in China (hey, maybe the towels were made in China but at least they were/are purposeful)….parents out there, and author, try that next time….one good quality gift

Elizabeth March 16, 2010, 12:38 PM

Since I didn’t ever have fun parties with friends, balloons, or candy, I am thrilled when hubbie and I can do this for our kids. We combine birthdays (two weeks apart) into one deal. We ask the children who their friends are and invite those children, plus a few of our friends’ kids. Venue at the park provides free intertainment and limited site cost. The goody bags are passed out before the hitting of the pinatas. They may have a few choice items in the bag, the rest is filled by the candy from the pinatas.


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