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How important are gift bags for kids parties?


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#1 ERipley

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:01 AM

My son is in first year of school, so are most of his friends, so it’s the first proper birthday party I’m throwing.

How expected are gift bags for the guests? Is this just consumerist nonsense or do kids expect to leave parties with their own gifts these days?

This was never a thing when we were little, we got sent home with a slice of cake and that was it!

Thanks for any help! I’m also floundering about what kind of food people provide these days.

Edited by ERipley, 17 July 2019 - 11:02 AM.


#2 seayork2002

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:06 AM

Important no, but DS and I love making them (although I think he may be humouring me)

He is now in Y6 so we won't do it this year anymore probably though

My siblings and I had them growing up at all the parties we went too BUT they are not essential!

#3 mandala

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:07 AM

My kids really look forward to them, and I don't think we've been to a party without them. I even pack a few spare ones in case we end up with siblings arriving and feeling very sad about being left out (or in case I end up with non-RSVPers showing up).

I personally hate the little plastic toys and try to include something 'useful' in them, like fancy erasers or a pencil or something, but I know plenty of parents who prefer the toys to lollies. I figure that instead of serving too much sweet stuff at the party, I just put whatever I would have served into the party bags. A freddo, a mintie, maybe a couple of other things - that's about enough in my opinion.

My experience is that the kids love them, and look forward to the lollies most. But I certainly wouldn't judge parents who choose not to make them... I know I'm torn on the idea, as my kids get enough sugar, enough toys, enough indulgence without them!

#4 rainycat

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:08 AM

I’ve always done lolly bags as the kids love them. Usually a chuppa chup, Freddo frog and a few lollies.
Party food like good old fairy bread, a fruit platter or just watermelon, sausage rolls or party pies are all easy and seem to disappear.
I put names on cups for water so they don’t grab a new one every drink.
Not that healthy but it’s a party!

#5 theboys2

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:11 AM

my sons love getting them and I think its a hand way to get kids to leave a party as well.

Kids sometimes are keen to leave but it seems to lessen the blow if they get a little gift upon leaving.

Last party my DS 5 had a nerf gun party and I found little $4 nerf guns at Kmart and gave one of them to each kid wrapped in Nerf Gun Paper.

winning

#6 Luci

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:14 AM

Gift or lolly bags are not essential but for that age group pretty much standard. I personally make bags containing just lollies, I don’t bother with little nick nacks or trinkets although plenty of people do.

I like clear cellophane bags with a few Natural Confectionary lollies, maybe a lolly pop and a Freddo Frog, tied with a bright ribbon.

#7 born.a.girl

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:21 AM

Pretty much expected.


Unfortunately I decided to avoid the lollies, and spent an eternity looking for useful bits & pieces - erasers etc., then realised my mistake as I saw the kids' faces drop when they opened them.

Realised my second mistake when a Mum came back from her car asking if she could have another two for her younger kids. Oops, given how much they'd cost me I didn't make spares and everyone turned up.


Funny story regarding lolly bags: one kid's Mum had another child with issues that meant no colouring. She'd made up a party bag just for him with just white lollies.  Got mixed up and another kid must have got it.  She said she hoped the parent didn't think she was doing a Sissinghurst with the lolly bags.

#8 Lunafreya

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:21 AM

I see them as good, but when my son goes to parties I ration out the lollies. For his birthday we got them a few lollies, a balloon, a plastic clapping toy and little toy Uni forms which the kids loved and played with more than anything else.

#9 lalalove

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:22 AM

Definitely do a lolly bag! Kids love it and almost expect it. No need to go overboard.
I dislike the plastic toys which seem to be popular now. They end up straight in the bin.
Last party I did a few lollies, a balloon and a novelty pencil with a rubber. Kmart stationery area is good.

Edited by lalalove, 17 July 2019 - 11:23 AM.


#10 QuirkyMum

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:24 AM

In my experience, yes, kids expect them. I don't think kids expect to find a toy in there, more the fact that the get a "lolly" bag to eat lollies while driving home.
I make simple bags with 1 freddo, 1 chupachups, several jelly snakes ( and a kinder surprise,for a small party with family/close friends).
On one occasion I also included a balloon and pack of pens. Well, turns out balloons explode in the car and it is dangerous... Also it turns out people don't expect pencils in lolly bags and kids love them and parents with beige interior cars don't like young kids with pens in the car.

Edited by QuirkyMum, 17 July 2019 - 11:28 AM.


#11 seayork2002

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:30 AM

Over the years we have done mainly small stationary items but always a plain freddo frog.

I make enough for the kids invited (we have done some for the whole class if no party, for Easter, and for end of year - it gives something else for parents to complain about :smile:)

#12 trillian42

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:30 AM

Meh, I guess kids do like them but I wish people didn’t put plastic crap in them - often it just breaks and then kids are sadder than if they never got it in the first place

Don’t feel compelled to do them, but if you do, a page of stickers, a few lollies and a chocolate goes down well.

#13 ERipley

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:37 AM

Wow! I had no idea this was so popular. We have only been to one party that had them! Ok, looks like I need another trip to the shops. Thanks for the help!!

Thanks for the good tips too! I was thinking some breads, dips and wraps and pies with just chips and cake. Is that ok?

Do people ever serve alcohol at these parties? It’s a 2pm party.

#14 amdirel

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:38 AM

Yes, do lolly bags!
And IMO stick to lollies/chocolate only.

#15 Mollycoddle

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:40 AM

View Posttheboys2, on 17 July 2019 - 11:11 AM, said:

my sons love getting them and I think its a hand way to get kids to leave a party as well.

Kids sometimes are keen to leave but it seems to lessen the blow if they get a little gift upon leaving.


Lol my DS2 would usually hound me about the party bag from the minute we showed up for a party until the end. Sometimes to the point where his behaviour was intolerable, which on some occasions resulted in us removing ourselves from the party early and bypassing the party bag altogether.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 17 July 2019 - 11:40 AM.


#16 wallofdodo

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:43 AM

My kids did do leaving well, they always cried, or just wouldn't come. So the party bag was a godsend for me.

'If you don't come you don't get the party bag!'

They are much better at leaving now they are older.

#17 Mollycoddle

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:46 AM

View PostERipley, on 17 July 2019 - 11:37 AM, said:


Do people ever serve alcohol at these parties? It’s a 2pm party.

I have been to parties where they have and I really don't like it at a kids birthday party, I prefer to have control over when and where my kids are exposed to alcohol and a kids' party isn't somewhere you would necessarily expect it to be present.

I have also been to one or two where alcohol wasn't being served but some people who were close to the family and 'in the know' had BYO'ed. That was awkward for us daycare/school parents who were attending. More than awkward, rude actually. It would have been more polite for them to have gone without for the length of the party but kicked on after the rest of us had left.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 17 July 2019 - 11:47 AM.


#18 Crooked Frame

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:48 AM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 17 July 2019 - 11:21 AM, said:

Realised my second mistake when a Mum came back from her car asking if she could have another two for her younger kids. Oops, given how much they'd cost me I didn't make spares and everyone turned up.

Who does that??

I haven't done a proper party for my son yet, but I used to help make the party bags for my younger siblings' parties. We usually did a handful of lollies (a lollipop, freddo and a couple jelly snakes) plus one other thing- either a little toy, coloured pencils, balloon etc. I love party bags!

#19 theboys2

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:51 AM

View PostMollycoddle, on 17 July 2019 - 11:46 AM, said:

I have been to parties where they have and I really don't like it at a kids birthday party, I prefer to have control over when and where my kids are exposed to alcohol and a kids' party isn't somewhere you would necessarily expect it to be present.

I have also been to one or two where alcohol wasn't being served but some people who were close to the family and 'in the know' had BYO'ed. That was awkward for us daycare/school parents who were attending. More than awkward, rude actually. It would have been more polite for them to have gone without for the length of the party but kicked on after the rest of us had left.

i dont like it either really. I have no issues with drinking around my kids with friends/ family but i dont see the need at big kids parties.

I have been to one (and it was my younger son and the boy i think was turning 3 or 4) and the relative offered me a cruiser at 1030 in the morning! WTH??

Lol that was weird..

#20 seayork2002

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:51 AM

View PostERipley, on 17 July 2019 - 11:37 AM, said:

Wow! I had no idea this was so popular. We have only been to one party that had them! Ok, looks like I need another trip to the shops. Thanks for the help!!

Thanks for the good tips too! I was thinking some breads, dips and wraps and pies with just chips and cake. Is that ok?

Do people ever serve alcohol at these parties? It’s a 2pm party.

Unless you are serving it to the kids (I am joking!) I have no issues, I can't see many getting drunk at a kids party.

I am not organised enough to think to do that though

#21 MarciaB

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:52 AM

Lolly bag yes.  Don't go overboard, but some good suggestions above.

As for alcohol - personally I wouldn't bother (and I do like to have a few drinks on the weekend!).  But at a kids party in the afternoon - nope.  Most parents will be driving anyway.

Maybe just get some sparkling mineral water with lemon slices if you want to go fancy or offer tea/coffee.  Otherwise I really don't think parents expect to be catered for as such.

#22 Crooked Frame

Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:54 AM

View PostERipley, on 17 July 2019 - 11:37 AM, said:

Do people ever serve alcohol at these parties? It’s a 2pm party.

Last year my DS went to a 3rd birthday party at around 2.30/3pm, and they were serving beer and champagne. This year was the same child's birthday, this time at 10/10.30am, and they were serving alcohol there too. Didn't really bother me except I'm pregnant and the only non-alcoholic drinks they had were the kids' poppers.

#23 Ivy Ivy

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:05 PM

Re what to serve, I've vacillated on this.
At kindy/year 1 stage before I knew better, I used to get up early, buy lots of fresh bread, and make multiple platters of sandwiches - kids s'wiches like cheese, ham, etc, and adult s'wiches like camembert cheese w cranberry sauce and avocado, chicken lettuce and mayo etc.  I also used to cut up big fruit platters and order sushi trays.
Basically all of this would largely be ignored while the kids dived into the chocs, chips, lollies, fairy bread and soft drink and juice.  A few adults would pick at some sushi or a small sandwich quarter.
So I stopped doing it, and now I just put out largely junk for the kids, with some plates of watermelon, and I might order one sushi plate.
But then at around year 3, age 8-9, some kids were going straight from our 10am-12noon party to sport that afternoon, they weren't going home for lunch, and they dived into the too few sausage rolls etc I heated up, and I felt bad as there weren't enough pies/sausage rolls.  So from now I'll heat up more savory stuff for the older kids.  Also hot chips are v popular for younger kids if you're sitting down to lunch.

I find bottled water and juice poppers the easiest way to serve drinks.  I've done the label-your-cup-of-water thing but it's not as user friendly.  I've learnt to buy lots of extra drinks - most kids will have 2 each, and parents often grab a bottle of water, and if it's an active running around gym party lots of extra water is needed.

Re lolly bags - I absolutely love making them as do my kids.  I always make about 10 extra for siblings.  We do make sure all lollies are wrapped ones (i.e. no loose ones which go hard exposed to air) and each bag has maybe 6 things in it, e.g. a milky way, a chuppa chup, a redskin, a caramello koala, other wrapped lollies etc.  I do not do the little toys because cost/landfill/effort to buy/they break, but sometimes my kids get a great little toy.  I sometimes throw in a themed pencil which matches the party.  My kids each go to 10-20 parties a year, and at all but 1 party over the years there has been some sort of party gift, usually a lolly bag, sometimes a giant lolly pop or a necklace or something.

#24 ERipley

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:07 PM

Ok, no alcohol I think. Poppers are a good idea. I wonder if or still serve fizzy drink? I’m a bit worried about those kids who are sugar-free.

#25 laridae

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:08 PM

Yes, do party bags. A few lollies and a sheet of stickers or something will do. It's a good hint that the party is over and it's time to go. Very handy if you have to clean the venue after your party!

No to alcohol. I normally supply a selection of soft drinks though, and tea and coffee.




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