It’s enough to drive a rockacita crazy.
It seems like every week or so, my munchkin comes home with some random goodie bag from a class birthday party. The contents are usually similar – plastic bag, candy, non-functional eraser shaped as some cartoon character, pencil that breaks anytime you sharpen it, and some random toy that likely will be recalled for lead violations down the road if it doesn’t break first. At other birthday parties, the goodie bags are similar…just bigger. We have gone to many parties where the parents really go all out and provide nice toys, books, or other items too. In the end, it gets kind of overwhelming.
Oh, I’ve fallen into the same trap many times. I’ve tried stuffing goodie bags full of stuff. I’ve tried finding things that were cool or would be used more than once. I even tried giving away gift certificates for ice cream at Baskin Robbins. I learned a few things in the process:
- kids expect goodie bags, but don’t care much about what’s in them
- the “great” goodie bags can cost more than the rest of the party
- give a kid a piece of paper, even if it means they get ice cream, and you get some really interesting looks.
I’ve decided to stop the insanity, at least for me. This year, I told my munchkin we weren’t doing goodie bags for either of her birthday parties. I was waiting for her to protest, but instead we talked about how most of those things end up in the trash and that’s not good for the planet. Some of the goodie bags are great, but we don’t really need what’s in them. We could take the money that would go towards goodie bags and use it for something else. I spared her the no goodie bag version of MLK’s “I Have A Dream” speech that was running through my head.
I had a meeting with my munchkin’s teacher and decided to mention my no goodie bag theme this year. I’m glad I told her up front because it sounds like each time there’s a party, one of the first things the kids start talking about is the goodie bag. She got to have a teaching moment. I got to have mommy anxiety thinking that my kid would suddenly be a social outcast because I was trying to make a point, or maybe I was just being lazy.
About a dozen times before the party, I almost gave in. I have cute bags left over from past parties. I have healthy snacks. I have plenty of new extra books. I have a secret stash of Webkins. I have random objects I want to get out of the house.
In the end, the class party went fine. We had cupcakes outside on a nice, sunny, warm winter day. At the pajama party at our house, the girls were much more involved in dancing, running around, screaming, playing, doing the art project, eating and laughing. I didn’t hear a single comment about goodie bags, or the lack of them.
Oh sure, I’m still shaking my head at the girl who told me that frosting makes her barf – while she was standing over the rest of the cupcakes, with a mouthful of cupcake and frosting. I might not like goodie bags, but I sure as hell rescued those cupcakes.