14 Jun
Here’s Some Plastic Garbage! Enjoy!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My 7-year-old just came back from a birthday party with a “goody bag.” It’s some plastic toys, a sticker and a gumball for him to choke on. He doesn’t care about that stuff. In fact, I don’t think that any kid likes it.

Please tell me that at some point these goody bags for party guests stop. Is there a way to suggest to the hostesses not to do them?


The Party’s Over

Dear Party’s Over,

Oh, I sympathize. Boy, do I ever sympathize. I hate the goody bag. And not just because I never get one.

But what I hate more than the actual contents of the goody bag is the message that it sends to the children. That if they attend a party to celebrate a friend’s birthday, they deserve a consolation prize to soften the trauma of seeing their friend receive gifts. Why? Why is the goody bag necessary?

I wouldn’t be surprised if the goody bag trains our kids to think they’re entitled to snatch a bridesmaid or a groomsman at their friend’s wedding in a decade or so. After all, their friend got the bride! Or the groom! Or if the friend is really lucky, both!

We must put a stop to this madness now, when we still have the chance.

Unfortunately, once that bag is handed to your kid, it’s too late to say, “Maybe we shouldn’t contribute to the over-consumption of crap in our society” to the parents. But if you know a kid whose birthday is coming up, and you are friendly with the mom, you can broach the subject with her. Like “How’s the party planning going? Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we all agreed to eliminate the goody bag? Pass it on!”

I truly believe that most parents planning a birthday party would welcome skipping the goody bag and the paying for the goody bag steps.

But even if other people are not receptive, you could put your own foot down.

When it’s your son’s birthday, do not give out goody bags. And when someone asks, say “We’re not doing goody bags this year, but I hope that you had fun at the party!” Someone will probably look at you like you have four heads, but remind yourself that multiple heads is a compliment for a mythical creature. (Probably. I’m a Mouthy Housewife, not Athena.)

It may be awkward at first, but you will be a trendsetter in your group. And our landfills will thank you for it.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

19 Responses to “Here’s Some Plastic Garbage! Enjoy!”


Comment by Christen.

I don’t do goody bags, but we do very small parties, with just 4-6 kids and I buy everyone a themed shirt, not necessarily matching. For example, at our Star Wars birthday, we all had a Star Wars shirt, different designs, same theme.


Comment by Muffintopmommy.

You are singing my song, sister! I was just cursing yesterday picking up the remnants of a goody bag off my family room floor. And it’s always the one renegade unwashable crap crayon that littlest finds to color on the wall!! Death to goody bags…fight the power.


Comment by Ado.

Thanks for this suggestion – we can start a mini-revolution to stop over-consumption thru kid’s bday party goody bags! I totally agree w. you about the bags of plastic crap, and about kids getting the message that they should get something in return for celebrating someone’s bday – wtf?! Great post. Thanks


Comment by natecammom.

I took a stand against goody bags at my 8-year-old’s last birthday party. We had the party at Main Event, a local indoor family entertainment place. Instead of goody bags, I paid the 5 bucks and gave all the kids extra money on their video game cards. And you know what, not one of the kids asked where the goody bag was!!! I say “DEATH TO GOODY BAGS!!!!”


Comment by Amelia Sauter.

The only time I got something at a birthday party when I was a kid was when I was the kid with the birthday; OR when I go a prize for kicking ass at musical chairs, which I should put on my resume because I definitely kicked a lot of musical chair ass.

Karin Reply:

I love musical chairs… It just hurts a bit more when you land on the floor these days…


Comment by Devil's Advocate.

Just say you’re going green! Then you’ll be the neighbourhood hero!


Comment by Karin.

I put the art projects we did at the party and left-overs in the kids goodie bags – princess crowns & wands for the dress-up/ballet/magic b-day themed party, sunglasses and a lei for the luau party (that was fun – it was in November!), juice boxes, 3d glasses and popcorn for the movie party, sports bottles and a foam visor that we decorated for the bounce house party, etc


Comment by Fletch.

I only do green goody bags with do-it-yourself compost trays, earth worms included, and fair trade hand-woven Peruvian thumb dolls. You know, things kids really love.

Lib Reply:

I just spit diet Coke on the keyboard!


Comment by Wendi.

I just like to shake each kid’s hand & slip them a fiver while they’re leaving.


Comment by raleigh mom.

I am with the NO GOODY BAG idea! I did them once, and most of the kids walked out without them…. so my kids thought they were in heaven… and I had to pick up shards of cheap plastic and tear stickers off the wall for weeks. As for the consumption, I always put “gifts not necessary” on my invites. My kids have every toy under the sun already. Of course not everyone follows this “rule” but it does cut down on some of the toys-we-don’t-need-or-have-room-for. For each of my son’s 1st birthdays I actually asked everyone to bring a token of the current times for a time capsule. That went over really well and didn’t cause too much waste!


Comment by Bean.

Can we also get rid of the “treasure box” in preschool for kids who stay off red light all week? I’m still swimming in the crap from that year.


Comment by trauma mama.

Let’s include sport snacks in this category!! Can’t kids play a game for an hour without a snack at the end? Whatever happened to cut up oranges??? Jeesh!

Kelly Reply:

Amen to that, trauma mama!

Sha-la-la-la Reply:

Thank you!!!! Providing donuts and mini-soda cans for a post game snack does not “Win Friends & Influence People”.


Comment by Kelly.

Hate ’em! For my 6 year old son’s May birthday, each kid got a bottle of bubbles and one of the balloon decorations. Next, I’m going to try decorated butter cookies that say “Thank You.”


Comment by hokgardner.

I’m all about not doing goody bags. We didn’t do them for my daughter’s last birthday, and several parents thanked me for it.


Comment by A Full Dental Check Up For This Gift Horse, Please | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] the way, want to go in on a gift for the other Mouthy Housewives with me? I’ll email you my bank routing […]

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