The Goody Bag Dilemma

The bird houses they built because the goody Bag
The bird houses they built became the Goody Bag

Goody Bag is defined as small bag containing candy, little toys, and other prizes, handed out as a thank you gift to guests at a children’s party. I would like to add this to the definition: A major source of stress and annoyance for parents and children when preparing for said party.

What should you put in the goody bag? How much should you spend? Will it be remembered, used, adored, or just eaten or thrown away? You could lose sleep over these questions!

Love it or hate it, it’s a party tradition. Traditions like blowing out candles, singing Happy Birthday, and eating cake are signature elements of a birthday party and so is the birthday party goody bag. I’m Sorry. It cannot be ignored, but it can be managed. It can be managed by making sure it fits your style, interests, beliefs, and values, just like the party itself.

If you don’t like the cheap plastic toys that break even before they get home, don’t buy them. If you care about the dental health of children, don’t include gummy candy. If play dough has plagued your home in the past, don’t send it home to others. My favorite goody bag components not only match the host family in style, but also fit the party itself.

My feeling is, if you can’t fight the goody bag tradition, you can make it part of the party – the things the children make, do, or find during the party that you are already planning. Consider giving a book at a birthday that features a story teller.  Use the craft from the party as the goody bag. How about making an apron, cooking tools and recipes from a cooking party the gift to go home? How about sending home the decorated pillow cases the children made at the slumber party – add a sleeping mask and a flashlight if you want to make the bag more substantial? Or keep it simple.

Keeping the goody bag as part of the party is the best way to keep it under control. With this approach, the expense is often part of the cost of the party, and the contents already fit the child’s interests, and the values of the family. Don’t worry about size or extravagance, amount of stuff, or the bag itself, just make it fit the party.