I hate goodie bags. What’s a good party favor?

I hate goodie bags.  Our kids come home from parties with little bags of treasures and these items end up smashed into our carpet somewhere, in my car, and all over the house. Candy, small toys, pencils, erasers.  People spend so much money on these bags (think $3 a kid x 15-20 kids!) and these items don’t last long.  Now that I have a baby in the house again I am fearful those little pieces are going to end up in her mouth so I am quick to take the goodie bags away from my kids as soon as they get them.

The purpose of party favors…

I believe in the purpose of goodie bags, thanking party goers for attending and celebrating, but I hate items that we won’t use or worse, the kids lose.  I hate wasting things and a lot of the items we have received over the years have ended up tossed aside – I’ve held on to them for awhile (years generally) and I don’t look at the item and reminisce about the event, I think about how I wish the person didn’t spend all this money on something for me.

When we were planning our wedding, instead of doing a party favor, we did a donation to the Brain Injury Alliance of NJ.  I was married a year after my head injury  so this organization was particularly meaningful to me.  Ever since, I try and brainstorm useful or meaningful favors, rather than a bag of small trinkets and candy.  We did a candy buffet for a Christening once and handed out homemade soaps another time (so party-goers could “wash away their sins”).   Some of the other memorable favors we have received or given have been Christmas ornaments, frames, measuring spoons and cookies/candy.

We prefer to send our guests home with favor, not goodie bags

Since these bags of goodies generally end up all over my house, whenever our kids arrive home from a party, they are allowed to pick one thing out of the bag and I put the rest of the items in my “donate to the dentist” drawer and they generally forget about the rest of the trinkets.   My dislike for goodie bags puts the pressure on whenever we host a party because I don’t want to be sending people home with stuff I wouldn’t find useful. The more parties we throw, the harder it is to brainstorm.


What’s a good favor??

I don’t mind spending around $3-$4 a child if the item will be appreciated and I found some great items this past week at Five Below that I used as party favors. Art supplies are always useful around here, so I went with some Melissa and Doug the Paint with Water,  Puffy Sticker Playsetsand Design Your Own Bracelets.  For my older guests, I got them some Sketchbooks that I paired with colored pencils.  This covered a wide-range of ages for the party we hosted and I didn’t break the bank with finding items that I hoped the children would love.  One of the kids even exclaimed, “we get to leave with a present!”

Our oldest is having a pool party next month to celebrate her sixth birthday and I am planning on giving out these Mini Ice Cream Shooters and Ice Cream Dessert Bowls and Spoons , I’ll end up spending around $2.50 a kid, so maybe $30-$35 in total.  Goodie bags may be a bit less expensive (depending on what I fill them with) but I think these are useful and fit perfectly with her “Come Freeze with us in February” theme.

I’m curious if anyone else distastes goodie bags as much as I do?  Do you still hand out a party favor when you host an event?  What are some unique items you have given or received?  I have another party to plan for March (theme is still to be decided…) so send me your ideas!

Planning a birthday party and have a head injury? Check out my tips for success here.

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