Sunday 20 January 2008

Party Bags

I am not a fan of children's birthday party bags. My children love them. And striking a balance between these two opposing views is a constant challenge.

I remember being a child and loving party bags; all those sweets, all those pieces of worthless plastic just waiting to untidy my house. My children can hardly wait to leave a party to rip into the party bag. Oh sure, the piece of birthday cake is nice but it really just takes up room in the bag for more useless stuff.

A couple years ago after Sebastian had received his 500th piece of useless crap I vowed to give meaningful party bag contents. Ah, but that wasn't so easy.

The budget kicked in. Let's do the math. 15-25 party bags at £5/bag and you're talking £75-125 which pretty much sucks up half the party budget. And you try doing something meaningful for less than £5/bag!

So the key here is to plan and shop all year long with party bags in mind!

Yesterday, was Abigail's birthday party. Yes, I know her birthday is 24 December but you try getting people to bring their children to a party just before Christmas.

We spent the day picking up the cake and the balloons and putting the party bags together. We took brown paper bags (imported all the way from America), stamped the child's name on each individual one and decorated them with stickers. We put in a book and a cookie cutter (to make the parent's happy) and bubbles and sweets (to make the children happy). We had a near disaster when we realised we had left one child off but we quickly put it together.

The party was great! I hope the children enjoyed themselves. I hope they found joy inside their party bags. I hope their mother's didn't mind the sugar buzz. I know Abigail had a great time which ultimately is all that really matters.


Anonymous said...

I love party bags. I thought the best bit was the cake though. Why a cookie-cutter?

More importantly, do you think it's possible to have party-bags at grown up parties? If so, what should go inside?

Obviously cake. But what else?

Glad the party went well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Claire,
I just read your posting with interest, and agree that it is hard to find party bags, which are not full of plastic, yet are still affordable.

I set up a small business six months ago due to this - please see where you can also find eco-friendly alternatives to most products required for a children's party.

Party bags for under £4 can be cound here

and of course you can put your own party bag together using our sustainable wooden toys, and choosing your budget.

Please don't hestate to contact me if I can ever be of service.

Best wishes, Lucy Brindley

Janell said...

I would love getting a book and a cookie cutter in an IMPORTED bag! You did good!

LaDawn said...

Party bags for grownups are a great idea! At a summer garden party you could put in gardening seeds and gloves. At a new years party you could put in ibuprofen tablets and some hangover teabags.

Cookie cutters because they are fun. children love making and cutting out cookies and it was an original and slightly unexpected gift which is the secret. Surprise them!

Lucy - Thanks for the offer. PS My name is LaDawn. Surname is Clare-Panton. Don't worry. Everyone makes that mistake. Once!

Janell - You've just given me a great idea for when we come to the family reunion! I will surprise you!

Janell said...

Cool! Do we HAVE to wait until July? Can you come tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

As a mother who's son was invited and a daughter who wasn't but gatecrashed, I can confirm that the partybags that you did were fabulous. My son has had great fun reading he puzzle book with his Daddy, is pestering me to make play dough for his cookie cutter and has munched his way through all the cake (with the help of his baby sister). I loved the idea of completely personalised brown eco friendly paper bags. Bring on the next party....I love them as much as the kids do!

LaDawn said...

Thanks Mumma...maybe I could put ole Lucy there out of business....