No gift bag left behind?

Back when my eldest was a toddler and took no interest in her birthday party beyond the cake, I vowed I would never adopt what I viewed as unsavoury kids’ birthday party practices. Namely:

  1. Outsourcing
  2. Inviting a number of children greater than my child’s age
  3. Gift bags

This past Friday, at our daughter’s seventh birthday celebration, I realized I have broken all of my party promises. We let Avery invite nine friends to a gymnastics bithday party at the Flip Factory and handed out goody bags when it was over. These slips aren’t really a big deal since outsourcing a party is arguably easier than hosting it in-house (the entertainment is taken care of and the mess is minimized). And really, what’s a couple more friends when there’s a huge gym to run around in?

Gymnastics for an hour followed by pizza, cake, presents and gift bags.

Which brings us to gift bags. Even though a parenting trend prediction for 2012 suggested gift bags were on the way out, it’s daunting to defy party tradition and forego the little party thank-yous, especially when six- and seven-year-old girls covet them. So I stocked up on craft graft from Michaels and Jolly Ranchers from Dollarama and put together what I thought was a pretty kick-ass gift bag:

If China didn’t exist, neither would gift bags.

And yet. One little girl left her gift bag behind. Did she deem the contents unworthy? Had she and her parents vowed to eschew the tradition of gross birthday over-consumption by just saying no to the loot bag? Or did she simply forget to take her gift bag home with her?

Gift bag left behind.

I’ll never know the reason the yellow bag stayed at the Flip Factory that evening. But I like to think that, in Grade 1, my daughter’s friend took a look inside and thought, “Do I really need some lame Made-in-China crafts and teeth-rotting candy?” And then left the gift bag behind.

Should gift bags go the way of the dinosaurs or should we embrace them? Thoughts?


8 responses to “No gift bag left behind?

  1. Thank you for FINALLY saying what I’ve been thinking for years!!! I hate gift bags. I hate making them, giving them and hate receiving them. I feel like every time I give a kid a loot bag I should also give the parent and apology note and a shrug of my shoulders. Isn’t the party enough? I’m with you, lets do away with this garbage tradition.

  2. My problem with gift bags are the same as noted above but also that after we spend the time sourcing said items and putting them together in pretty packages, I ALWAYS forget to give them out! Then I have to decide whether to cart them around for days trying to find the kids we missed or just leave them and their parents thinking we cheaped out and didn’t bother! Did you notice the Little Pet Shop animal in with Avery’s present on Friday? That was from a gift bag, forgotten to be distributed at Zoe’s birthday!

    • OMG, I just thought you and Zoe were really generous! LOL! By the way, Avery has already sewed the bear together (no news yet on the garden gnome but I’ll keep you posted!) — great gifts.

  3. Becky Stensland

    Best party gift that we have received was a hula hoop. I thought it was creative and useful! It almost makes you sick buying a bunch of crap that gets thrown away!

  4. Forgoing gift bags would be much more environmentally friendly. How long do the kids play with the items in the bag? Maybe if we’re lucky on and off for a few days? I wonder how much packaging and resources it takes to MAKE these items!! I’m with you, I don’t like them, and would be happy to do away with them. So what age does this happen?

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