My house is overrun with crap toys. We have several bins of plastic junky stuff that my girls never play with but yet can’t bear to part with. And you know where we get all this crap?
Birthday party “favor” bags.
I put “favor” in quotes because parents who give my kids this crap are doing no one favors. Amiright?
Every single time after every single party, Annie comes happily bouncing over to me with a little plastic bag in her clutches. She waves it gleefully, yelling, “Look what I got!”
And I sigh, preparing myself for the onslaught of crap that Annie will enthusiastically ooooh and ahhhh over. Until it breaks. Or breaks something of mine. Like a window. Or my spirit.
Here are some of the worst offenders:
Makeup. Because it’s so fun to discover at 7:30am that your 5yo has smeared on green eyeshadow, bright pink lipstick, and glittery blush, and declared herself ready for school. I was kind of hoping this wouldn’t happen until she was a tween. But thanks to party favors, we have already had several makeup arguments. Yay!
Gum. I’m okay with some chocolate or sugary candy that I can dole out as bribes later. But gum? For preschoolers? Why not just send them home with Sharpies? Because they can do similar damage to my kid’s body and clothing – and my furniture.
Whistles. Really? REALLY?
Yo-yos. Seemingly harmless. Easy mistake to make. But do you know how frustrating it is for a preschooler to try to use a yo-yo? And you know what yo-yos do? They get tangled up. And guess who has to untangle them over and over? Yo-yos are also dangerous projectiles, as my face can attest to. Just say no to the yo-yo, people.
Bouncy balls. Talk about dangerous projectiles. Kids come home from parties and want to bounce the crap out of those things. Your kid gets his hands on a bouncy ball and it’s like racquetball game suddenly began inside your house. Say goodbye to your windows, picture frames, and lamps! Get ready for a trip to the doctor’s office after your kid’s eye and the bouncy ball get intimately acquainted!
Weapons. Water guns. Slingshots. Bows and arrows. WTF? I sent my kid to a birthday party. I don’t expect her to come home ready for battle.
Typical junky plastic crap. Cheap-o jewelry, silly bands, jump ropes that don’t work. Pinball or maze games that immediately break, leading to tears of frustration. Teeny tiny choking hazard toys. Stupid mini-coloring books with pictures too tiny to color. Anything that makes noise. This should ALL BE BANNED. In the end, it all ends up cluttering my house or sitting in a landfill. Total waste.
Anything alive. I’ve heard of parents giving out goldfish or beta fish as party favors. Thankfully this has not happened to me. If it did, I would march right back to the mom throwing the party, hand her the baggy o’ fish, and tell her we are unfortunately allergic to pets. And starting then we would be officially allergic to her, too.
I know, I know. The junk toys are easy. We’re tired parents and we don’t have the energy to make fancy party favors. I hear ya.
To that I say get thee to Target. The dollar bins often have great stuff. Once for Annie’s birthday I found wildflower seeds, little buckets and shovels, and books about butterflies. Packaged them up and voila – $3 favors that were super cute.
Another time when Annie was younger, I got bubbles, chalk, buckets, and glow sticks from the dollar bins. That was another cute $3 favor.
And if you’re too tired to think of some creative party favor (like I was this year), just give each kid one extra-large lollipop, say “thanks for coming!” and send her on her way (like I did).
I may have given the party attendees a little sugar high, but at least I didn’t add to the never-ending crap collection their parents undoubtably loathe, right?
What are the best and worst party favors your kids have received?