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How important are gift bags for kids parties?

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#26 ERipley

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:11 PM

View PostIvy Ivy, on 17 July 2019 - 12:05 PM, said:

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.

Super informative post! You probably just saved me a lot of time and money catering for the adults.

#27 laridae

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:12 PM

View PostERipley, on 17 July 2019 - 12:07 PM, said:

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.

There would be plenty of sugary food at a party though?

I usually buy a couple of packs of juice boxes, a couple of big bottles of water and a selection of fizzy drinks. If parents stay they usually help their kids select the appropriate option.

#28 MrsCee

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:25 PM

We always do party bags with a few individually wrapped lollies and chocolate and try to tie them in with the theme of the party. One year we had a space party and the bags had Moon Rocks in them. I also design stickers for the bags with a thank you from birthday boy to the guest.

We are obviously in the minority and we do always serve alcohol for adults (beer, wine and sparkles) and do cater for adults as well, but our parties are all afternoon ones. And I can tell you, most parents hang around and almost always have a drink.

Our parties are as much a social event for adults as for the kids and it’s a really great way to get to know our kids friends parent’s.

#29 Rainyeyes

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:31 PM

I also stick to wrapped lollies like freddos and chuppa chups. I don't put plastic toys in mine bit do things like pencils with cute erasers and a sticker sheet or mini notepads. In the past for my DD I have found small coin purses marked down at k-mart and then just put a couple of sweets inside

#30 Milly Molly Mandy

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:38 PM

Yes kids expect Lolly bags but they get over it very quickly if there isn’t one. My kids have been to a number of parties without them and I’ve done a couple too. Eg movies and sushi train - there really is no need. DH loves putting them together though.

#31 Mands09

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:40 PM

Hate party bags here. My kid has coeliac disease so can’t eat anything yet im handed bags to take even when I try to politely decline. But I know I’m the outlier there

#32 Pocket...

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:41 PM

I usually make party bags then forget to give them out...
Fortunately my kids now remind me.

#33 TheGreenSheep

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:55 PM

View PostMands09, on 17 July 2019 - 12:40 PM, said:

Hate party bags here. My kid has coeliac disease so can’t eat anything yet im handed bags to take even when I try to politely decline. But I know I’m the outlier there
See if you came to my kids party, Id make sure your child had a strictly coeliac-OK bag, and I would've run it by you, or alternatively asked you to bring them a small few things that I could give them.

View PostPocket..., on 17 July 2019 - 12:41 PM, said:

I usually make party bags then forget to give them out...
Fortunately my kids now remind me.
Yeah I'm a shocker for forgetting to give them out and being left with them.

OP, at that age I would give them a small bag with lollies. As they get older I varied what was in them. We're at the age where they don't really give bags anymore. Phew! And I wouldn't worry about sugary drinks, there's a nightmare of what to include or not include. If parents haven't told you that their children is restricted or allergic or cannot have A,B and/or C, just host and have fun, leave the parenting and restrictions up to the parents.

#34 zeldazonk

Posted 17 July 2019 - 12:59 PM

We have given little gifts instead of party bags before now e.g. fairy wands, puzzles, slap bands. Usually nothing that costs more than a couple of dollars each kid. I also have a few spares for siblings.

We never give out balloons as we are a balloon-free house.

We've also been to parties where the kids were given a little tub of home made play doh or reuseable metal straws, which they loved.

I don't think you have to give out much and you don't have to give lollies or plastic crap. But giving a party bag or a little something has been standard at every one of the parties we have ever been to with the kids.

Edited by zeldazonk, 17 July 2019 - 01:00 PM.

#35 Hands Up

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:09 PM

I do:
Sticker sheet
Freddo Frog
Milky Way mini size
Three small (wrapped) lollies

#36 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:14 PM

I’m ano on the party bags.  You TAKE a gift to the party, you don’t get given one.  It also limits to junk to the party, rather than spacing it out all day.

That said,  DD went to a party where they made their own party bags.  They decorated paper bags then filled them with their choice of lollies, most of which were eaten at the party.  She loved it.

#37 Hands Up

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:19 PM

Yes, on food I always over cater and the adults really don’t eat much.

Now I have three types of chips, fairy bread and a fruit platter. I buy some pastries for the adults. I make sure the cake is big enough the adults get a slice. And yes I buy bottles of water and poppers.

#38 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:28 PM

I say gift bags aren’t important, DH says they are.

I prefer it to be all lollies though, so I don’t have plastic crap around the house. And not too many lollies. If my kids can finish them all on the way home in the car then that’s a win.  But other people fear lollies as the devils food. So you can’t win.

I always offer guests a glass of wine, but I wouldn’t expect anyone to have more than a glass each.

#39 AllyK81

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:30 PM

Kids almost always get a party bag. I hate them. It is such a waste of everything. In the past we have had a piñata and give the kids bags to put in the lollies they collect from the piñata as a party bag or a small toy to take away. I find myself often tossing the majority of what my kids get.

We usually have 'staged' parties. So friends come at 12 and we have the party, family comes at 1:45 and we do the cake. Party is specified to finish at 2 so friends go home and family stay. Sometimes friends and their parents stay. We always serve alcohol. We have a big backyard and a pool and our kids parties in summer have been known to go until 9pm!

Just have jugs of water and names on paper cups. Those poppers are just landfill and full of sugar.

We do fruit, cheese/antipasti platters, baby quiche and then often some mini hot dogs and sliders. We might have 1 bowl of chips. We have started doing fairy bread because the kids beg for it. We get that it is a party so some non every day food is warranted but some parties we go to are just junk food free for alls. We don't eat that sort of food really at all but every family is different.

We do go large on the cake!

#40 mayahlb

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:30 PM

Yep pretty much expected.

What we do is brown paper bags that the kids draw picture so on for their friends and then we just do lollies. I usually buy a big pkt of fruit chews or Chuppa chuppas. If something like a bit pkt of stickers catches my eyes I’ll add them to the bags.

Party wise, well we do hugs of iced water and juice.

I’ll admit we go the very relaxed party wise. It’s basically just a bbq this year. We are just do a sausage sizzle, hamburger buns, bowls of chips, fruit platter (mostly watermelon), and then the cake.

#41 Lady Sybil Vimes

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:32 PM

People don’t do many parties at DS’s school but they do party bags for the class and they can be very elaborate. DS has had fancy pencil cases, stationary sets, toys as well as the usual lollies.

One one hand it saves me the trouble of organising a party and the kids are very excited and appreciative but it is a bit weird to be shopping for presents to give to other people for my child’s birthday.

#42 gatheringpieces

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:41 PM

No lolly bags and no alcohol at my kid's parties... And I haven't had anyone heart broken either.

#43 hills mum bec

Posted 17 July 2019 - 01:46 PM

All the parties my kids have been to have had party bags, not necessarily lolly bags.  I tend to fill ours up with small stationery items and for the girls hair accessories are good too.  It was my DD's birthday last week with a Lego theme, in the party bags there was a Disney Lego minifig, a pen, an eraser, a little notepad and a large chocolate lollipop ($1 ea from Kmart).

#44 countrychic29

Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:04 PM

Yes Lollybags are given at virtually every party my DD's have been to but i am not a fan of them.

They eat enough junk (my kids anyway ) at the party they don't need more lollies to take home - when we occasionally have 2/3 parties a weekend it is a insane amount of junk food.
I also detest a plastic filled party bag.
I have seen some lollybags where the parents would have easily spent $15-$20 as well, on crayons, colouring books, ferrero rochers! etc etc

Im 'that' mother - past years we still give our presents to guests but it has been flower seedlings, raspberry canes,  a single sweet biscuit saying thank you and then this year my DD wanted a high tea so i brought pink cushions from kmart for the kids to sit on ($6) and then they got sent home with a cushion each.
What else was i going to do with 12 matching cushions! ;)

#45 Drat

Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:14 PM

I'm doing small party bags for 1-3 year olds. Minimal lollies, but thinking about a bubble wand or something similar. Last year I did little tubs of playdoh.

#46 Grrrumbles

Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:24 PM

A few tips - I try to use paper bags now, rather than themed plastic ones and I buy neutral colours so I can reuse leftovers for the next party. I often put in tiny teddies or similar and then a lollipop or Freddo.

You can print out a colouring page or word search themed to the party and roll it up.

When I have had a whole class party in the younger years - once only per child!!! I have had 2 boxes at the front door. One with a range of small toys and one with wrapped food treats, Oreos, shapes etc. Each child chooses one from each box - no wastage, caters for boys and girls easily, no wrapping and the unused food goes back in the pantry.

I do label the cups with names for reusing - I put a marker pen next to the water jugs. I don’t serve soft drink or lollies but don’t really do much healthy food either. Pop corn, twisties, cheezels, cookies, fairy bread are the mainstays for us but cocktail sausages, mini dim sims and mini spring rolls are also popular for the winter party at least. Jelly cups are popular too.

My daughter went to a party where lovely homemade soup was served, the preschoolers were not amused.

#47 Fizgig

Posted 17 July 2019 - 02:44 PM

At that age my kids party bags were a bag of tiny teddies, a party blower and either a mini tub of playdoh (I think I got a pack of 15 for $10) or a mini tube of bubbles($2 shop). One of my friends has done the $1 bubblewand from KMart with a few lollies in a cellophane bag. Last year I sourced some reusable cups and used those instead of bags and the kids got a Freddo, a chuppa chup, a pencil and a temporary tattoo.

Party food wise I do a dip platter aimed at the parents but available for kids too, fairy bread, fruit platter, cheezels, sausage rolls, mini quiches, sandwiches and sometimes fruit kebabs with a marshmallow on the end. I provide one fruit juice popper per child and then there is water to drink. Softies and wine available for parents.

#48 eponee

Posted 17 July 2019 - 05:19 PM

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

Pretty much expected.

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.
Oh hell no!!!!   That's very ballsy

#49 born.a.girl

Posted 17 July 2019 - 06:03 PM

View Posteponee, on 17 July 2019 - 05:19 PM, said:

Oh hell no!!!!   That's very ballsy

I think it's pretty standard that younger siblings are allowed for.  Firstly I just didn't know, and secondly I'd actually made up decent quality ones with age appropriate stuff without including crap, and that wasn't cheap for the number involved.  They probably weren't even appropriate for a two year old.

She was actually a lovely woman, so no problem from me with her asking, given it was obviously known by others.

When you have one, you don't know this stuff!

#50 gracie1978

Posted 17 July 2019 - 06:06 PM

I asked my 4yo fir you
Apparently everyone will be sad if there aren't lolly bags

Personally I think the parents should get then, we do all the work to get them to the party with a moderately appropriate present.

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