As I mentioned in my last post, we go to an awful lot of birthday parties.
A couple of months ago, I noticed that Little E, who is now four and three quarters, would suddenly announce she wanted to go home, no matter how much fun she was having.
It took me a long while to realise why. It was because she had seen the party bags emerging and she knows that when it’s time to go home, she will get her parting gift. My children love party bags! I hope that doesn’t make them sound greedy or materialistic – they’re not – but they get so excited when they see those little plastic bags of joy being handed out. They love the element of surprise. What will it contain? Will they have the same as each other or different? What can they eat in the car on the way home?
Little E is just as excited when it comes to handing out party bags at her own birthday parties, too. In fact, after her last party she told me one of her favourite parts was giving out the party bags to her little friends.
I’ve thought a lot about what to put in party bags over the years. When children have spent the last two hours running round and eating sugary food, the last thing I want is to send them home with a bag filled with just sweets. One or two treats is fine, but I love thinking of alternative gifts too. My children like anything you can blow or make a noise with (sorry to the other parents – I hope it doesn’t give you a headache!). Little E loves hair clips, hair bobbles, plastic necklaces and other such treasures. Little O has chosen plastic dinosaurs and cars for his friends this year. For the younger children, we often buy a big box of bath ducks and give them one each. Those little boxes of mini board books are good to split too. One year, we bought little polystyrene glider dinosaurs and fairies – the parents especially loved those as they reminded them of their own childhoods. I also find little packets of tissues go down well – we have Spider-Man, princesses and Hungry Caterpillar ones for Little O’s birthday party this year. Feedback from previous years is that our young guests love them – everyone needs tissues and having a character on them makes them fun, too. Best of all, our local discount store sells multi-packs of eight packets for 89p!
A word of warning though… there is only so long you can censor your children’s party bags for. When Little E was younger, we would take out some of the more sugary treats without her noticing. That was until one day, she asked for her Haribos from a party she had been to a couple of weeks earlier. She never forgets anything! I went to find them and they were gone. It turned out Daddy had eaten them! She was so upset. I asked her what she thought a suitable punishment would be for Daddy as he had taken them without asking. He got home from work and had to sit on the naughty step for three minutes! I was crying with laughter, but he has definitely learnt his lesson.
Do your little ones like party bags? What do you think makes the best party bag gifts? I’d love to hear your ideas!