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“Where’s My Party Bag?”

We’ve all been there. The children have had a lovely time at the party, the cake has been cut up and the hosts are hovering by the door. Wouldn’t it be nice if your children could just say a polite ‘thank you for having me’ as they exit the church hall (as rehearsed in the car on the way), but no. Just within earshot of the hosting mother, your little one pipes up “where’s my party bag?”.

Prizes used to be for winning in games like pass the parcel or pin the tail on the donkey. Why do we go along with this ritual of handing out little bags of plastic tat and sugar laden lollies at the end of the party, just at the point when they are already hyper from Haribos and iced rings? Most of the contents will undoubtedly end up on the car floor on the way home, or, along with the cake crumbs, wedged in the nooks and crannies of the car seat.

But go along with it we all do. We don’t want to be seen as the Scrooge amongst parents. So along with the cost of hiring a venue, booking an entertainer,  buying darling son or daughter a mountain of presents, we then still purchase goody bags for their friends to take home, even though we told ourselves that last year would be the “last time”.

As our children get older, they take a great interest in the contents of the bags, picking out various colours of balloon/rubber/bracelet/collectables for each of their friends so you can’t even get away with sneakily demolishing an old box of Christmas Crackers in search of party bag paraphernalia. It has to be approved by birthday boy/girl first.

Some parents undoubtedly see the whole party affair as an opportunity to prove themselves as some kind of super parent. Bored with watching Peppa Pig and wiping Weetabix off the ceiling, many mums see the children’s birthday party as a project of great excitement; something to get their teeth into, seeking the elixir of the perfect party bag gift. The problem here is that children can then become mere spectators of what is supposed to be their own event.

When does the party bag thing end? When the child is 7, 8, a teenager? Are wedding favours any different? If you are lucky enough to enjoy a night out at a lavish corporate event these days, you can expect to leave with a party bag. Adults too now expect a goody bag at the end of any sort of event/grown up party worth its salt. Rummage under your chair whilst the master of ceremonies welcomes guests, and you’ll discover a host of corporate promo gifts from logo-ed keyrings to mobile phone trinkets, all wrapped together nicely in a branded drawstring bag.

 

We can hardly blame our children’s enthusiasm for party bags, when we too skip home excitedly brandishing our haul of things we never knew we needed!

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