Tips for filling a birthday party goodie bag

I love birthday parties as much as the next person.  As a mother of three, I attend a lot of them.

I also throw quite a few of my own celebratory bashes.

In the midst of party planning, aren’t the goodie bags one of the worst wastes of time, money, and energy?

Here’s the dilemma:  kids now expect them, and most people head to the nearest store to get plastic toys and candy to fill them.  What else is a busy parent to do?  And then, those things end up getting thrown on the kitchen table.  Eventually, they go in the trash.

No, you don’t have to give a goodie bag to your kids’ friends.  But, honestly, most people do.  It’s also a way of thanking guests for stopping by.

So, here are some of my tips for helping you put together a goodie bag that won’t break the bank, yet create a reminder of a special and hopefully enjoyable day.

1.  Get a creative container. Yes, the Dollar Store or something similar is a great resource here.  Think of Halloween candy containers, shower caddies, terracotta pots (yes, I have used this a couple of times–and we filled it with packets of seeds), Christmas stockings, Easter baskets.  These are things people might be able to use after the party is over.  You know when your child’s birthday falls, as well as the holidays that surround them.  If you can get them off season, for example, hitting the stores for the after-holiday sales, you can get some great deals on the perfect container.

2.  Once you have the container, you can fill the goody bag with things that can actually be used in the child’s life.  Certain states hold sales tax holidays.  That’s right.  No sales tax on school supplies for a weekend.  In Virginia and North Carolina, it takes place in the summer.  It usually happens when stores are marking down back-to-school supplies anyway.  On this particular weekend, you can really save big.  Take advantage of these occasions.  Buy crayons for a quarter, buy composition notebooks for $.50.  How about watercolors for $.75?  Stock up and give.  Those kids’ parents will be grateful.  Think of the days after holidays as a time to stock up specifically for giveaways for a goodie bag.  Big markdowns take place the days after Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Halloween and of course, Christmas.  Put on your shopping list holiday pencils, stickers, or pads of paper.

3.  How about gift certificates? Wendy’s and McDonald’s sometimes have coupon booklets for sale.  For a $5 booklet, you can get 5 free Frostees or burgers or whatever (free for the recipient).  Thats a great gift.  Helps mom and dad out when they take the children out for a meal.

It’s not always easy to come up with great goodie bag ideas, but honestly, the best gifts are the ones that you would use yourself.  Hey, if the kids don’t appreciate that bottle of hand sanitizer, then at least you know their parents would.  If you don’t get the kids’ approval, at least you’ll get it from the people who are driving the car home.

Tips for filling the goodie bag

Goodie Bag Tips