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Party Favor Ideas that are Not Junk

Party favor ideas for goody bags

Parents, we are insane. I was at a birthday party recently, talking to a close friend, and we realized that us parents keep torturing each other. I am guilty. You are probably guilty. Your cousin Linda is guilty, too. We have all done it, and it needs to stop. Goodie bags filled with crap. Granted, it’s crap our kids love for five minutes. It’s still crap. Party favors and party bags are awesome, and I love a good party favor idea just as much as the next mom. But can we talk about some party favor alternatives for a minute? Some of you call them “loot bags”. Let’s save our party guests, rid our homes of cheap toys, and rock your child’s next birthday party.

Let’s talk about what really happens when we buy all that junk to fill goody bags, and what really happens we receive that bag full of junk party favours. And then, let’s talk about some party favor alternatives.

The perfect party favors for kids birthday parties planning saga

Before we get into alternatives, let’s just be real about this party favor situation. As the mom-host of the children’s birthday party, I realize I need to make goody bags to give away at the end of the party. It’s a great way to thank your guests, and makes way for tons of fun ideas. However, my mind goes to two places instantly: Target dollar bins and the Dollar Store.

I purchase cute gift bags that cost about $25 each, and proceed to find every little piece of crap I can find. Stamps? Sure. Half an ounce of bubbles for a dollar? Of course. World’s smallest plastic slinky that breaks the first time someone touches it? Need those. Small rubber choking-hazards disguised as bouncy balls? Throw those in. You get the picture. You’ve been that mom, right? Kids of all ages, rejoice, moms hit the Dollar Store thinking she has a great idea.

I then proceed to force my kids into an assembly line of filling bags with all the junk I spent too much money on because I still think this is a good idea, while they whine about how they wish there was extra for them. Ya know, because an entire birthday party and 50 presents from friends and family isn’t going to be enough, they need a tiny plastic frog that jumps when you press down on it, too.

Finally, birthday party time. After about half of the guests leave I realize I’ve forgotten to give party favor bags to them. Lucky second half of party-goers, they get extra plastic junk to throw away from the floor of their car a week later. (Last year we actually skipped all this nonsense, thanks to quarantine.)

Never in all of my junk-filled goody-bag giving days did it dawn on me what we actually do when we are on the receiving end, until recently.

What really happens to those goody bags from kids’ birthday parties

This is what really happens, in my house at least, to all of the treasures from those goody bags when we receive them. Some of it makes it out of the car alive, a good portion falls into the car floor abyss, never to be seen again until I get frustrated that no one can find their shoes and finally decide to clean out the car. At that point, it goes into the garbage. My kids had about 5 minutes of so much fun with what was in the bags, and it’s over. Trash.

The portion of the party favors that actually make it inside the house are then spread all over. Then, after several days of picking up the same junk over and over from random places, I wait until the kids aren’t looking and bam, garbage. They’ve never once said, “Where’s my broken slinky from that paper bag?”

Yep, you read that right. All roads lead to the garbage.

So what I am telling you, my parental friends, is that we are all wasting a crap-load of money on a crap-load of crap that we are all throwing away the second our kids aren’t looking.

Why do we do this to each other over and over? We are smart. Completely exhausted, yes, but smart. We buy special cutters to turn our kids’ sandwiches into penguins and dinosaurs (we do this, right? not just me). We can certainly be more creative with our party favor ideas. I mean, we have Pinterest.

Party Favor Alternatives

Originally, I was only going to write this blog to tell all parents, myself included, that the madness must stop and end it there. However, about half way through I realized that if I am going to point out the problem I better offer up some solutions. So, you are very welcome for the following list of party favor ideas that are great alternatives to your normal party favor. Parents unite: may our goody bags no longer suck.

Party Favor Ideas 

The overall idea is to think useful, practical, fun for more than 5 minutes, experiences, activities for awesome party favors for your child’s birthday party. Think one big item rather than lots of little junky items. Get creative, it’s fun to think of alternatives that fit your theme, and the parents who attend your parties will surely thank you for not sending them home with a bag of junk!

What are your ideas for creative party favor alternatives? Leave them in the comments, I would love to hear them!

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