Last week, my second daughter turned 4, and let me tell you, this event has been a Long. Time. Coming. As happens with an older sibling and lots of pre-school aged buddies, birthday parties are on the radar BIG TIME.
For me, kids’ birthday parties bring me one, massive dread: party favours! Or, in our house, where piñatas are king (queen): piñata contents.
You see, if my kids return from a lunch with Grandma at McD’s (or similar), the prize/toy/doohickey generally goes directly from our car into the curbside garbage bin. And while I way prefer that no-fuss solution to the build up of clutter in our home, I cringe at the waste of it all! Now, take that concept, multiply it and concentrate it and repackage it once per year at a larger scale: Party Favours be thy name.
I love fun, and I love celebrations, so I actually like the abundance of an exploding piñata, and my daughter loves creating a treat for her friends to take home. My problems are that A) I don’t want to spend an excess of money on a pint-size birthday party, and B) most of what is marketed for this purpose is, in my opinion, well, junk.
My definition of junk would include:
I hear again and again from friends, or read online, that parents loathe party favours, but feel obligated to buy them. I suspect that for many of them, it’s that same tension which I have experienced. You don’t want much expense or hassle, so you buy something that is simply packaged and cheap, but then feel irritated at having spent any money at all on items you don’t like.
I feel you!
Here are 20 ideas to help you fill your party favour bags or piñata with some great value, reasonable quality, well-received contents:
As you can tell, I favour (so to speak) things that come in multiples in a bag or larger package, but aren’t packaged as favours, per se.
Personally, I would avoid bouncy balls & marbles (choking hazards), anything noisy (sorry, slide whistle), or anything that might annoy the parents (like the coloured bubbles I already apologized for sending home last week).
Any more ideas? What are some of the best party treats you have ever sent or received from a party?
The Enneagram is super popular right now as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I am familiar with the Enneagram and while it hasn’t been a particularly impactful tool for me personally, I value the depth of the insight and the common language it provides.
Similarly, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework provides definition and a vernacular to what is already present in ourselves. For me, this one has resounded like a deafening gong in my ears & in my life!
Over the last year or so, I've made a conscious priority to read books written by — or written from the perspective of — people different than me. As a white, rich person (and I have a job, a bachelor's degree, a house, 2 cars, and 3 computers, so that sounds pretty rich to me; maybe not in the 1%, but high enough), I have a pretty limited perspective. Also, our culture is essentially designed for me to thrive, so it's easy to take that all for granted.
Books, both non-fiction and creative stories, have a way of landing you right in the viewpoint of an other, and I am so grateful for that gift; it's one of the best things about reading.
Conversations about money can be awkward, but having uncomfortable talks, at age appropriate times, will set up our children's essential, lifelong skill in handling money well. Allowance is a key tool to teaching these money management skills.
Money, along with politics and religion, is often considered impolite conversation to have outside of yourself & maybe (hopefully?) your spouse. How much do we spend on groceries, gas bill, or date nights? Is this car payment normal? We are often afraid, or at least reluctant, to compare any of these details… R. Paul Stevens said the proverbial fig leaf from the Garden of Eden has moved from our naked bodies to our bank accounts!
Add kids into these conversations, and there is an additional layer of hesitancy: kids can be notorious loud-mouths!