Goodie Bags Are Annoying. One Mom Says We Should Stop Doing Them

Kid birthday party goodie bags gotta go

By Kara Murphy | Macaroni KID June 3, 2024

It's time for some real talk about kid birthday parties, specifically those annoying goodie bags you're sending home with my kids. You're already shelling out big bucks to entertain my kid for a few hours—why do you feel the need to send them home with a bag of junk too?

I know how much time you spent planning and prepping, and how much money you've paid for this party. They’re not cheap. You’ve bought a cake and pizza, booked a venue at a price that could double as a small car payment, and organized games and entertainment for the afternoon.

The last thing on your list? Filling the goodie bags. It's the last thing I want you to do. In fact, skip it. 

I don't need those tiny plastic toys to clutter up my home or cheap candy to get my kid bouncing off the furniture at my house. They already did that at your party. (Unless you’re sending my kid home with candy out of pure spite because you had to endure the chaos of entertaining a bunch of sugar-fueled children for two hours. If so? Mad respect for the passive-aggressiveness.😂)

Let’s be real: Most of these goodie bag items end up as landfill fodder—sooner rather than later at my house. Do we really need to add to the mountain of environmental waste with plastic trinkets and non-recyclable packaging?

 Anna Midianaia | Canva

OK, I'll get off my high environmental horse and put my practical mom hat back on: These toys end up all over my car, lying around my house, trapped in the couch cushions, and inevitably on the floor where I will step on them. Eventually they all meet the same fate: Tossed out when the kids aren’t looking.

3 ideas for gift bag alternatives:

👋🏽 Nothing. 
Really. It's fine to send them home with a wave goodbye and their warm memories.

🎈 A balloon. 
Did you buy balloons for your party? Let each kid take one home at the end of the day, and send one home for each of their siblings too.

📖 A gently-used book. 
If your bookshelves are like mine, they constantly overfloweth. Have your child pick out the ones that can go, and let your guests choose one to take home on their way out the door.

Let's band together and make a pact. No more goodie bags. I already appreciate you entertaining my kid for the afternoon, and I bought your kid a nice gift to show it. You did me a favor, I gave you a present. Let's call it even. No need for extra junk.