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November 02, 2008

I'm not doing goodie bags

2 There, I've said it. My children are young enough that I still love birthday parties, but I really dislike the party favor bags given away at the party's end. As much as I appreciate the effort and the generosity, my kids don't need another cellophane bag full of crap from Oriental Trading or the dollar store. Sure, my daughter is initially thrilled to get something on her way out, but frankly she doesn't need to be eating candy after downing all that cake and juice and the novelty items lose their novelty by the time we make it home.

As disposable as goodie bag junk is, I'm loathe to throw away the foam visors, unsharpened pencils, cheap sunglasses and battery-less mini flashlights. So they sit, gathering dust atop my refrigerator. A more "together" mom might bundle party favors into zip-top bags and bring them along to restaurant meals, but it's all I can do to remember the diaper bag, my phone and the house keys.

Anyway, my daughter's fourth birthday is rapidly approaching and we're throwing her a party at the local community center. I didn't stress about the guest list, the Costco cake or the invitations, but figuring out what to do about the damn party favors was keeping me up at night! I didn't want go mean mommy and  cheap out completely, but I wanted to do something green. Something that didn't involve buying ugly plastic crap that was made in China (laced with lead?), shipped around the world and would only be played with for moments before becoming more landfill. Had money been no object, I would have purchased a Sigg water bottle for every attendee. But since we've got 20 RSVPs, I would have spent more on the bottles than I did on the room rental!

Finally, a solution came to me: gift certificates. I bought 20 certificates good for a free kid's ice cream cone at my favorite ice cream parlor, the very place that hosted my baby shower exactly four years ago. Each certificate cost $1.85, but I got 1 free for every 9 purchased.

I'm pretty pleased: I managed to find a party favor that's green, affordable and supports a local business. Yes, it's not all that healthy, but what do you want, a coupon good for a bag of carrots?


Original Chicago Moms Blog post. Alma writes about life as the working mother of two at Marketing Mommy.
Flickr photo by woohooitsallyie.


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