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Goody Bags that are Nicer than the Gift My Kid Gave

We all know that birthday parties have become outrageous and ultra-competitive - that's yesterday's news.  The new frontier is the dreaded goody bag.

The goody bag has always been the bastard of the birthday party.  It's a throw away.  An afterthought.  Because it's the bastard it's always been full of cheap junk or teeth rotting candy.  It's a small token that says, I just paid about twelve to fifteen bucks for your kid to come celebrate my kid's birthday and we appreciate your $12-25 gift so here is your bag of shit.  Thanks for coming and see you next month at your kids' party!


Thanks for coming! Here's your bag of junk!

A few years ago I noticed a slight trend where a couple of the parties my kids went to, there was no goody bag.  My kids were devastated, but all the moms were thrilled.  The few brave souls who ventured into this no-man's land of goody bag-less parties confessed they'd just had enough of spending hundreds of dollars on a party and then another several hundred on shit that would end up in the trash.  I loved this idea.  But, of course, it didn't catch on.  Instead, it appears we've gone the opposite direction.  Last week, I was sent this article.  It seems that the goody bag is a pretty big deal to a lot of parents and the gauntlet has been thrown down as to what constitutes a "good" goody bag.

Nooooo....The goody bag is the bane of my existence.  I can barely get it right as it is and now I'm supposed to do better?  WTF?

When I'm throwing a party for my kids I'm too busy trying to find an affordable and fun venue (we have winter birthdays here so the great outdoors is nixed and the hell I'm going to host a bunch of wilding, frosting-covered grade schoolers in my home nor will I ever go to Chuck E. Cheese - my kids think it's just for other kids' birthdays) or cute plates that fit the random theme we've picked that year (Gomer wants NERF Battle theme this year - yellow plates it is!) that I do not have time, desire or energy to look for the "perfect" goody bag insert(s).  Because of this, my party goers end up with a bag of cheap shit and teeth rotting candy.  Thanks for coming!

I have seen some really cute, relatively affordable ideas for goody bags that I've been dying to try, but so far they haven't fit my theme.  Last year, Gomer was invited to a party at a pottery painting place.  The kids painted a ceramic trivet that we kept and they each got a little paint by number set from the dollar bins at Target.  I thought it was perfect!  I'm trying to convince Adolpha to have a painting party this year so I can do this and look like a semi-over achiever, plus I love to paint my own pottery.  Over the summer, both kids were invited to a birthday party at a petting zoo.  Lunch was served and it was a picnic.  Each kid got his or her own personalized insulated lunch bag (also from Target) with lunch inside.  Loved it!  We still use those bags.

See, OAM?  It doesn't need to be a tennis racket or an American Girl doll.  Your goody bag should not cost what I spent (or more!) on the gift for your child.  That's just weird.  Who does that?!  I know it's hard for the OAMs - and the rest of us really - though, because you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

The mom who said NO to goody bags was called "cheap" behind her back by some of the moms, the mom who gave out a bag of crap was called "unimaginative and boring" and she obviously hates the environment since all that shit will end up in a landfill, the mom who gave out small packages of Legos made me uncomfortable because all I could think at the time was, Crap, Gomer is having a Lego party in two weeks and all I've got are lollipops and gum.  At the last minute I found cute printables online that I thought seemed simple and easy enough.  I worked on for HOURS to make the boys their own laminated Lego luggage tag.  Won't do that again for 21 kids!

You see it's tough being a mom and trying to throw a party for your kid.  I've been asked, "What is reasonable then, Jen?"  I guess I just think back to what made me happy when I was a kid:  celebrating with my friends, having cake and ice cream, opening a few presents and enjoying being the birthday girl.  Kids haven't changed that much and I think they're still fairly easy to please.  They're usually pretty happy if they get a party with a few family and friends and a balloon for everyone when they leave.

This year for my kids' birthdays I'm thinking of doing something even the OA Earth Moms would approve of.  I'm going to have a nature party and every kid who attends gets a tree that I'll buy in his/her name and then the kids will help me plant them in my yard (bring your own shovel).  They can come and visit their "goody tree" anytime they'd like (parental supervision required).

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235 comments:

  1. Back in the 70's my husbands family were not poor, nor were they rich. They were hovering between poor and middle class. The kids were invited to a party from a family that were fairly well off. My MIL was stressing over the gift and finally decided on a little drum. Wouldn't you know it, those same drums were given away as party favors. How embarrassing. One of my kids has a Summer party with water cannons. I bought fairly cheap cannons for all the kids and they took them home as their party favor. I figure, I can spend $5 on a bag of crap or $5 on this water gun. They seemed very happy with the idea. However the next year, I told them all to bring back their water guns to the party and I don't even think I gave out anything but the bags of candy they got from the pinata. Again, happy kids.

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    1. One year I came across these water squirters at the Dollar Store. I bought 25 or so of them, knowing they wouldn't last too terribly long. They were about 2" in diameter and maybe 2ft long. I filled some really big buckets full of water and placed them in the yard so the kids could easily refill them as needed. These kids had such a great time! It was a birthday splash party, everyone was told to wear their suits and bring a towel. We did an ice cream bar where they could make their own sundaes, and I made cupcakes. The kids got to take a squirter home. The party was a huge success and it cost me under $75.

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    2. Thank you for that idea!! My twins have summer birthdays and this year they will be turning 10, so I was trying to figure out what to give out as "party favors" bc, frankly, I don't think kids need to have gifts just to bring gifts ... but this squirt gun idea is PERFECT! Thank you!!

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    3. My kids had the same party. Water "pencils" from the $ store, bucket of water, swimsuits...........they had a blast!! :)

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    4. We've had this party too. I did those splash ball and cheap water guns. The kids loved it and the favors were a hit!

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    5. When my oldest son, a summer baby, turned 10 (he's 22 now), I was a broke, single mom living in a HUD apartment. I decided 10-years-old was a good age to have his first sleepover. He invited 10 kids and six came. Good turn out! I baked the cake myself and decorated it with a Pokemon theme, had a Bag 'O Water Guns from Ocean State Job Lot (kind of like a Big Lots! for Rhode Islanders and surrounding states) and the kids loved it. They pretty much ran their own party. They played outside, got each other wet and that was it. They took the water gun home, and a small baggie with lollipop and a Fun Pad. It was awesome! :) For dinner, I had them make their own French bread pizza. It was the highlight of the evening! They loved making their own pizza! They played video games ad watched movies until about 11 pm when I told them it was "Lights out." It was fun for all of us! Unfortunately, my smaller kids are winter babies, so I have to be creative. ~Renee

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  2. My kids birthdays are both in August and we have a big yard. We grill hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and some of my amazing friends pitch in and bring pasta/potato/regular salad. We rent a bouncy house (we get it for the whole weekend!!) and when the kids friends come over they run wild through the yard and the adults sit around and enjoy some "big girl" beverages. Instead of goodie bags I made extra cupcakes and went to Michaels to get individual cupcake boxes. The kids loved it (MORE cake!!) and the parents were grateful for not receiving another bag of plastic shit. Our parties are low key and fun. The bouncy house is as fancy as we get. It's a great time for the kids and the parents.

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    1. Great idea for the favors! I really hate party favors but I think I could stomach something like that. Maybe...

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    2. Love the cupcake-as-favor idea!

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    3. Do we have the same kids? We do the same exact thing for our kids. Both summer babies...birthday dates are about 3 weeks apart so just do it together in one huge party. Lots of food..lots of cocktails and my neighbor has a moon bounce business so we get the biggest most obnoxious one with a water slide and let the kids have at it while grown ups drink cocktails and chit chat. Water guns have been our go to favor as well. Works well!! :)

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    4. I do the cupcake as a favor on a regular basis. Cheap, easy, but still something. I found the individual white cupcake boxes at Hobby Lobby for about 60 cents a pop. Can't beat that!

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  3. as God is my witness, I completely agree. I hate that I have to make the damn goodie bags..isn't planning a birthday party and paying for the birthday party ENOUGH! No, I have to make 21 little goodie bags. I went as cheap as possible with little bouncey balls and plastic animals, a small package of PlayDoh and it was still expensive. I wish there would be a law passed that goodie bags are over. I don't want to look like an underachieving parent, but haven't we spent enough?

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    1. I completely agree!

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    2. Oh oh, yes, yes, yes! Let's make a Facebook page . . . 'Damn the Goody Bags to Hell!'

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    3. If there ever is a FB page created, count me in... I *hate* these damn goody bags and the pressure they bring! I'm currently stressing over it right now for my twin daughters' birthday coming up in 2 weeks!!!! I'm reading through here actually trying to get ideas!

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  4. In most of my life I am not an overachiever but in the party department I have been known to be that. The Wedding/Birthday as my sister refers to it has become this uncontrolable monster that keeps getting bigger and more expensive. I have given out custom made superhero capes, tutu's, barrets, trophies etc. In my defense I do throw an awesome party where I drive 70 miles and get bbq for the parents, serve southern comfort punch and beer to the parents who come. I do not do this to compete or set the bar high and have gotten some snotty remarks. I don't care if you even buy my kids a present and most of the time the goody bags cost more then that present. In my defense it started out innocent and then I said fuck it, I spent 8 weeks on hospital bedrest to get the litttle ratbastards here and by damn we are going to celebrate in style. So we are on the eve of their 7th Birthday and have yet to take them to Chucke fucking Cheese or a bounce house but I think since they made it this far in life the party isn't going to be as grand. I am over it. So, their triplets it's not such an accomplishment anymore. So I apologize for spending a college tuition each year and this year be happy with your bag 'o shit because that is what I am giving out.

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  5. I say screw the goody bags! I am SOOOO grateful my son is grown and married. Lord, I hated all the blessed birthday parties. Birthdays typically meant, you pick your birthday dinner and then we have cake and ice cream with the fam. No store bought cake, only homemade. And, yes, my son preferred homemade cake!

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  6. I abandoned the goody-bag idea a couple of years ago. Birthday parties are SO much less stressful now. Maybe I'm cheap. Maybe I'm lazy. Maybe I just think that your kid getting to skate for 2 hours for free is goody enough!

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    1. I think I love you. :D

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  7. I am totally a non goody bag mom. I spend a decent amount on my children's party and I totally agree its so hard to find non crap inexpensive stuff.

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  8. Went to a great birthday party at a farm last year where the kids all painted small clay flower pots and then planted a small flower. I still have the flower.

    My son just had his birthday at a nature center with a snake theme, and the craft was making snake sock puppets. That craft was the take home for all of the kids.

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  9. My son will be 2 this May and Im so glad I dont have to deal with this yet. There is only 1-2 kids coming to his party so sorry....no goodie bags. I know moms who did them for their child's 1st birthday and I thought that was a waste of money. Call me a cheap mom...I dont care. I throw one hell of a party but I dont do goodie bags for a 1st (or 2nd) birthday party.

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  10. I'm that mom and I don't care what you think about it. The mom that does NOT do goody bags. I don't understand why anyone does. It's stupid. It's not your birthday - you get no gift. When you're an adult, there are no goody bags. I'm just "keeping it real" for my kids early on. I also refuse to blow the bank and give an elaborate party. We do home parties, complete with a pinata, pin the tail on the donkey, water gun fights, musical chairs and bobbing for apples. You know what? The kids have WAY more fun at our parties than they do at those germ infested bounce house or Chuck E Cheese places. The kids play together, the birthday kiddo is truly the star of the show, and no one goes home with a bag full of lead tainted choking hazards. I'm not a complete hard ass... I usually give them a small token gift - a carnival type lollipop ($1.99/ea at Cracker Barrel) and a festive balloon attached to it ($1 at Dollar Store). You know the kind of lollipop I'm talking about right? They're like 10" long and spiral up the stick in a rainbow of colors. Or the 6" big round ones. The kids love those things, and so does my bank account.

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    1. That sounds like such a cute idea with the lollipop and balloon. Thanks for the idea! Will have to try that one next time around!

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  11. My kids are older now, but I think my best give away that didn't include crap was the Harry Potter party we had at a hands on kids museum. They had an experiment time where they made slime or something and they all had on their Harry Potter glasses and a wand. It was cute and not over the top. And a museum employee helped with the experiment. The only only weird thing about that party was the parent who left his 3 year old daughter there too. I turned around and he was gone. didn't leave a number and so we had to watch her in a public museum. I was certain throughout it that he was never going to return and I had just inherited 2 kids. True story. He did return and invited my kid over a few weeks later, to which I replied he was busy (forever). Seriously, if he would leave his toddler with a total stranger at at public place I didn't trust bringing my kid to his house!

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  12. I'm with you on this one...just say no to the goody bags!

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  13. We adopted our first (and only) child when he was 8 1/2 so we have a lot of catching up to do -- I think he's been to one party with goody bags. Thankfully- because I've never even thought of doing them. Not consciously choosing not to do them, just oblivious to their very existence!

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  14. The goodie bag is the bane of my existance as well!!! It seems to cost more to fill it with random trinkets and candy than necessary. I go to Five Below and spend no more than $5 per kid on craft projects that i wrap with inexpensive gift wrap. I would rather receive a crafty project as a goodie bag than candy and crap that will end up in the trash. Problem solved, wallet spared!

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  15. This year I am putting together I cream kits filled with a cone or two, sprinkles, nouts,, etc... and a .50¢ bowl from the dollar store. Im adding a tag that says add your own ice cream. Not my original idea but hello less than $2 goodie bag! $5 seems high to me!

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  16. I did goody bags, but they were filled with homemade popcorn for the adult family members (we made way too much, and it was a good way to get rid of it), and a small goodie bag filled with a few crayons, a page to color on, a sticker or two and a pinwheel. I maybe spent $10 on all of it.

    I do enjoy pushing myself to see how cute I can make something for the least amount of money... I front as an OAM, but really, I'm a wannabe...

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    1. You "front" as an OAM - That's awesome LOL I have an OAM deep inside of me, but thank goodness I was able to bury her a few years ago. I'm just out of give-a-shit sometimes... (Don't even get me started on X-Mas & putting up that confounded tree!!!! LMAO!!)

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  17. Last year was the first year we had a real birthday party for the kids where they got to invite their friends from school. We always celebrated their birthdays but it was mostly with just family and a few family friends. I bought a bunch of crap at the Dollar Tree for goodie bags. I don't mind goodie bags and no matter how crappy they are, the kids still love getting them! It was a lot of work though, especially when you have 3 birthdays within 4 days!!!!!

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  18. I hate the crap that comes home in goody bags, I try not to be that parent. This year for my son's 6th party, the kids got a big box of colored pencils, and activity coloring book, a colorful mechanical pencil and a stencil. No candy. For my son's 8th birthday I made cd's of the hottest kids music, and they got a very cool light up battery operated star that can work as a nightlight. Both goody bags cost me under 3 dollars a piece to put together.

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  19. I have 4 children and i have never done a goodie bag. Ever. Kids still show up to their parties so it must not be that bad. I dont think the kids remember whats in those bags and im guilty of tossing the crap my kids bring home from other parties.

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  20. Why do we still care what all the other moms think? Motherhood is not High School, the Sequel.

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    1. I like that! My favorite expression has become: Parenting is not a competition! Now I have a new one.

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  21. Hmmmmm Jen has got me thinking now. My Niece's birthday is on Memorial Day. I'm going to throw her a vegetable party. I'm going to have all the 4-5 year olds out there planting and weeding, then they can come back in a few months and have a vegetable picking party LOL Brilliant, I can sit in the shade and drink lemonade while the kids do all my gardening! Now I just have to make sure Veggie Tales are cool..probably not but we are going to bring it back and make it hip and trendy haha

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    1. You know what... some mixed drinks, invite a few other Mom's you like to stay and "help" you supervise the 'garden party' and it sounds PERFECT! If you have older kids... you could have them dig and lay a new patio too. I LOVE IT! Proactive parties! Let's start a trend! LMAO

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  22. I HATE goodie bags. They just cause more problems because my already over-sugared kid comes home from the party with more sugar that they just can't resist eating and a toy that breaks in 10 sec and causes a flood of tears. To me a goodie-bag is a big ____ you to the parents (I just endured 2 hrs of screaming hyper kids - now you get to suffer too).

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  23. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I have bought somewhat imaginative goody bags (books, manicure kits) for my kids at a reasonable price and without much effort. I despise the candy and cheap plastic toys but do not make fun of the Moms that give them out.

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  24. I make the kids do a craft at the party and they take that home instead of the crappy goodie bag. Dual purpose: it shuts them up for a half an hour and I don't have to buy crap.

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  25. I'm not an OAM EXCEPT when it comes to goody bags, because I enjoy it. It's certainly not to get a compliment from the kids or their parents, since no one has especially noticed (at least to my face). I shop all year whenever I see things on sale (watch out when the Target $! bin goes half off!) or at Michael's/Jo Ann Fabrics/dollar store.

    I've given a journal and pretty pencil in a reusable bag (under $2), Uno cards and Silly Putty ($2) and a book and belt making kit ($2 from the sale section at Borders {RIP})

    I'd rather spend a little bit more and give something worth giving, as opposed to flimsy plastic stuff that won't last the car ride home. And no candy, either! They've just had cake, what do they need more sugar for?

    I'm not all theme obsessed, though. My plates and napkins are solid colors from the party store.

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  26. I have an OAM for a cousin(like my sister) and one for a sister in law and they both do the goodie bag thing. What happened to when we were kids just being happy with being invited to a birthday party?! Kids are too freakin spoiled these days. As my niece and nephews get older my sister in law has started to slow down on the goodies but it was a little on the ridiculous side before. My cousin, God bless her, has practically taken out stock in Oriental Trading company. She usually orders 2 or 3 things from them and puts those in the goodie bags. The bags started out as the plastic specialty bags but now they have become lunch bags that the kids can decorate themselves. Then she just throws a couple of toys or pieces of candy in there. I'm not a mom yet but I look forward to being that "cheap" mom that doesn't buy or make goodie bags.

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  27. I HATE goody bags!!! I'm the mom that doesn't give them out! It's all crap and what are we teaching our children???? They are learning that to give something they get something in return. The over the top birthday party doesn't make you a better mother. How many times did you neglect/yell at your child so you could plan THEIR perfect party?

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  28. Lottery tickets.

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    1. This just made my day.

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    2. Thanks. Lottery tickets really are the perfect gift.

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    3. I give lottery tickets to my kids' teachers at Christmas time along with some homemade jam/pumpkin bread or whatever I feel like making. The teachers LOVE it!! Several have won a few bucks and it really makes their day. Not sure how I will feel if one of them hits the jackpot... :)

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  29. I refuse to do goody bags for my kids' parties, but my husband usually sabotages me by going to the party store and buying tons of crap to give out.

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    1. Damn husbands! I bought fruit snack, mini goldfish, and mini granola bars to fill the piñata with for my 3 year olds party a couple of years ago, and he yelled at me n went and bought a ten lb bag of crap candy. Yep meltdown city an hour later after all his cousins crashed from their sugar highs

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  30. meredith in minnesotaMarch 6, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    THis has to fall somewhere at the top of Goody Bag disasters: Giving a 5YO guest deathly allergic to peanuts a goody bag of snickers and peanut m&ms. Nice one. The panic that ensued 60 minutes after the party when I realized my potentially fatal error. Unable to get in touch with the mother had me further convinced it was because she was at the ER with her child on life support. (Turns out they had the child so well trained to never eat anything in a goody bag from these clueless parents.)

    I already told my kids this year we are doing Gift Exchange birthday parties and giving out their choice of 1) Tree Seedlings or 2) $5 Donation to some charity in the guests name. I'm out!

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  31. My boys are 4 and 2 and haven't had a friend party yet...i am dreading it. I am thinking of doing friend party only for big ages like 5 and 10 and 16? but planning parties is NOT fun for me and I really don't want to ever...let alone a flippin' goodie bag. I will NOT do those. They seem to just escalate into a competition with other kids parties and then you find you'll have to out do the party from the year before...ugh.

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    1. I now have 17 and 21 year old boys, but as they grew, we only had "friend" parties at 5 (5 friends for being 5), 8, 10 and 13 and 16 if they wanted one that year. Otherwise it was just close family, like grandparents. The 13 year party consisted of a few close friends at a minor league hockey game or sleepover. Simple ideas such as a professionally decorated bakery type cookie or a king size candy bar were the take home gift. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Our 5 yr old parties were at home. We had an 8 year old party at our local museum which has a planetarium with a laser light show. Movie theatre parties were for age 10. See a new children's matinee flik at the local theatre and each child get's a dollar box of movie candy. Simplistic, relatively easy and for the most part, inexpensive, but fun!

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    2. Yoi have great ideas! wish we had 1$ candy boxes at the theater...

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  32. Ok...I'm guilty of the crap goody bags! This post makes me feel so much better that I'm done...I just entertained, fed and now that the kids are older, babysat your kids for two hours so they don't need a bag o'crap and I'm sure as hell not paying for a nice gift as a "thanks for letting me watch your kid." ;)

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  33. Jen, your posts are timely! The goody bag is such a double edged sword. I can't stand the bag o' plastic junk either or the fistful of candy. I'd rather they give nothing at all. I think kids expect the goody bag as much as they expect for their to be cake and ice cream. My 4 year old went to a mani/pedi party the other day (I know, I know) where they where served lunch as well. When it was time to go, she rolled up to the b-day girl's grandma and asked, "Um, where's my goody bag?" . Sadly, the floor did not open and swallow me up; truly I raised her better than that. I'm taking the tack, "Hey did you go to the party? Goody for you!" End of story.

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  34. You just convinced me... No goody bags this year! I was contemplating it. I just went to the party store to get the decorations and plates for my 6 year olds birthday party and I was so stumped on what to do for favor bags. We have a large family so there will be about 25 or so kids for this party. 25 goody bags is gonna cost me like $100 if I don't want to give out "crap" in those bags.. Screw it! (Crap that when he gets it at another party - I take and toss as soon as we get home. I don't want that sh*t stuck in the couch cushions ya know)We got a pinata. That candy is their "goody" bag. And we only got a damn pinata cause I caved to the ramblings of an almost 6 year old whom explained that "if it is cold and rainy again for my birthday - we are going to need something fun to do indoors" Okay. Fine. You win. Grr.

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  35. I have two sons, 21 y/o and soon to be 8 y/o. We had the standard parties with my oldest at the "Kiddie Casino (ChuckEChz)and skating and will not go back there. I hate the goodie bags but my kid loves them!!!! He has picked out a Pokemon theme with plates, napkins, and goodie bags that I will put pencils, and a bit of candy in. We will use Kroger for our cupcakes. I will probably buy pizza and serve it as our party time is around dinner. He has chosen to go to an indoor venue that has ziplines, trampolines, and obstacle courses. It is VERY affordable and all I have to do is show up with the snacks. The venue is worked by local college kids who are great with the kids. (This is our 3rd yr in a row, 4th overall party there) This is our last year for the party...we are moving to a friend to spend the night and a restaurant meal/movie night from now on. I gave him the choice to do that this year but he wanted one last party. Even with his first party, we only had family and very close friends to have burgers and cake. I think our theme was frogs and I bought some at the dollar tree and got green plates and napkins. I have always tried to make birthday parties about the kids and let them make the choices about themes (limiting them to what is available at Walmart, Target, or the discount party store)I wish you would punch those that bring other children that the ones invited to the venue parties making the party more expensive...that is my beef!

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  36. Your nature party/planting trees idea sounds rather Tom Sawyer-ish...as in his painting the fence escapade...

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    1. I think that was the point.... (or were you being sarcastic? I hope?)

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    2. How about a "Clean my house" party?

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  37. Had child #3's party last month...she insisted on needing to give out goodie bags. I think they are a waste of money, not to mention the time and energy to put them together. All while hoping you have enough because we all know there are those ppl that don't rsvp and you'd feel like a real jerk if you didn't have enough goodie bags for Jr cause his mom didn't tell you she was bringing him. So, I made her put them all together and they actually only cost me about $1-2 per kid. My plan backfired, I figured #3 would hate having to do all the work and then NOT want goodie bags ever again. NOPE, when she was all done making the flippin bags for her party she then said, "can I make some for my friends at school too?" Grrr.....
    How about the fact that I am feeding your kid pizza or munchies on top of cake/ice cream AND providing babysitting with entertainment so you can enjoy a few hours kid free or at least minus one. THAT is YOUR goodie bag ;-)

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  38. I have to agree that finding the perfect but low cost goody bag item(s) is one of the most stressful parts of planning kids' parties. It must fit the theme AND the budget. Last year for my son's Spiderman themed birthday, I gave out cardboard spiderman masks plus a can of silly string. I'll bet the parents wished that I was too cheap to get anything after cleaning silly string off their curtains at home....

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  39. Shelley in So. ILMarch 6, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I am an OAM in this area. In my defense, when I throw a party for my kids, it is one party for 4 kids. They are quadruplets and we try to have a theme that works for everyone. I figure if I were to throw 4 parties throughout the year, it would add up to a buttload of money anyway. Last year I had kids at my house-can't handle that every year, but this time it worked-and hired a balloon man to twist balloons. I even broke the 'no parties on a school night' rule. It worked because I knew that though we had it at our house, there were plenty of kids that wouldn't be able to make it for a week night party. And as a favor, besides the balloons the twister did for us and his face painting wife painting all the faces, I wrapped Hershey bars with paper and stickers and a thank you note. I thought it was perfect and man I wish we had a summer birthday! In fact, this year I think we may just have the damn party in the summer and do a quiet family dinner for the actual birthday. Is that nuts?

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  40. One year for my daughters 10th birthday, I filled bowels with dollar store crap. Gave the girls plain paper lunch bags to decorate and then they choose crap from each of the bowls. Il talking cheap.....5 headbands for a $1 so I took them apart and presto headband for 5 kids. Lip balm that comes in 3 pack etc. you see where this is going. They loved it!

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  41. I have given up on the party altogether - I have decided that I can go on a fun family trip nearby for the weekend (Great wolf lodge, Sesame place) for the same price as the 2 hour party at some cheesy birthday factory. Since we have friends whose kids have birthdays very close to ours we make it a 2 family weekend at someplace fun. They get their friends and the moms and dads get family time and friend time. I will usually have the "playdate" birthday as well - it goes like this "hey everyone, we will be at the ____ (Park, Beach etc) at 2 on Saturday - we will have cake for Bertha's birthday - please join us if you can" Their besties show up and play at a park for a few hours. DONE and DONE!

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    Replies
    1. I took my 13 and 11 yr olds to Florida universal studios for the w/e With my Hubsters hotel points he gets for frequent travel it was cheaper than 2 parties. This was their party and present all in one.

      Delete
    2. This is a FANTASTIC idea... I have twins, and some of their best friends are also multiples... we can ALL save money with this idea! Good thinking... and thanks... because I'm stealing it!

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  42. HaHa I am one of those OEA moms!! And I love it! I don't spend alot of money on many things and I love learning how to do crafts! My youngest daughter's first bday is coming up (tinkerbell theme) and so far I made home made flower crayons, flower chocolate lollipops, flower molds to go on pretzel sticks and bought craft kids for all the kids to make butterfly magnets, suncatchers and to decorate a flower pot and plant flowers! They are also getting wings, wands for the girls and pirate stuff for the boys! It makes me happy, more so than my child since she has no clue what is going on! lol. My oldest daughter just had a minnie mouse party and I will never get over the expression on her face to see minnie mouse stuff everywhere! I even had a friend dress up as minnie! She wont remember it, but I will. Though I do have to say I find most of the things I buy at the dollar store or on sale, so I don't spend nearly as much as people think I do! So feel free to add a punch for me! :)

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    1. You dont get a punch at all! Some moms need weekend trips away from the kids, spa time, retail therapy etc. More power to them but my point is that you do things for your happiness too and if throwing cute parties is your thing, go for it! When your kids take a look at the pics when they're older, they'll ooh and aah and at the very least know that their mom had a good time with and for them! Your daughter may not remember her minnie mouse party but (if I were in your place) all that would matter would be that moment when her face was all lit up!

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  43. I love how most of the comments are other ways to overachieve. It's a disease! In the 80s, I got my favorite dinner, some cake, and my party guests - i.e. brothers and sister-got to watch. End of story. Thanks, Mom! Loved every birthday!

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  44. I hate goodie bags!! This year my daughter wanted a Princess Party (big surprise) so I went online and located 10 Melissa & Doug Paint your own Princess Wand..Less then $4 each (you can find em cheap if you haggle on ebay)and gave them out to the little girls...about the same amount I would have spent filling the bags!! I made my own tutu bags and put the wand in...voila!!

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  45. One of the most popular party favors I had growing up was a bean-bag frog that my mom made when I was about 5.
    She took a bunch of scrap fabric (don't now what kind- this was about 25 years ago), cut them into shapes that somewhat resembled a frog's body, head, and legs, and used her surger to sew them together.
    Cheap buttons for eyes and rice to stuff them.
    Big hit, but cost her little.
    Though I'm sure they'd get a few snide remarks these days. After all, Susie may be allergic to rice, and Johnny may choke on a button.

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  46. After reading this post and your last one I am clearly an Under Achieving Mom! I don't do goody bags. We got goody bags at a party a couple weeks ago and guess where they went after a couple days...in the trash! Save your money! The last couple years we have kept the birthdays simple. My two oldest have even decided they did not want a party. Instead they choose to go someplace fun and special they rarely get to go to. I would much rather spend my money on something like that than on a bag of plastic crap. When we do have a bday party, we keep it simple. Our girls get to invite their closest friends and we all have a blast.

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  47. Here's a secret for you: most OAMs are deeply insecure about their own ability to parent, and they use the age-old trick of disapproving tsks and eye rolls to try to boost themselves up a rung on the ladder they've imagined ... not to mention calling their "competition" cheap or boring. So you can do one of several things to combat this psychological manipulation - one being to assert yourself OVER them on the ladder and say, "OMG, didn't you know that goodie bags are OUT this year? Poor Julie didn't; her kid's party was so horrible with those over-the-top goodie bags; you should have seen the way the other parents whispered, and she did NOT get invited to chair the Fun & Games committee for his fourth grade class! Rampant consumerism is so 20-aught!"

    Or you can ignore them, but that's far less fun.

    I like your idea of donating to something, especially if it's also a tax deduction (win-win!). I think if OAMs really want to kick butt they should move on over to Pinterest and get an idea for a kiddie craft that they have the guest kids make themselves (or at worst buy out AC Moore's collection of foamies or something prepackaged). Then the kid brings home their own handmade goodie and it's WAY harder for their parent to throw away Brumhilde's precious artwork like they so easily dump your goodie bag.

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  48. UGH I am so with you. And I don't really even remember getting goody bags when I was little. And I really don't remember sitting down after a party and writing dozens of thank you cards (I am not sure when the excessive card writing trend began either). Last year at my daughter's 6th bday and may we did a small flower pot with seeds kids (it was $1 at target) and called it a day. Easy enough. I HATE spending money on goody bag crap and I would love if my kids didn't get them when they went to parties either. More shit that I have no clue what to do with! Then when I throw it out and my kids catch me, I end up digging it out the the trash while getting berated by a 3 and 6 year old. It's fabulous.

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    Replies
    1. Write thank you notes? Signed by you (the mom) or by your kid? I just TEXT my thank yous and put my kid's name in the end! (ok, with many smiley faces)

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    2. Not sure how writing thank you notes puts you in the OAM category... that's just basic manners... (I do remember writing thank you notes as a kid. It wasn't an option in our house)

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  49. WTH?? Isn't being invited to the party thanks enough? I don't even like getting thank you gifts for being a bridesmaid or attending a baby shower...I can't imagine what's in a bag-o-crap a 6 year old brings home. Reason #854 for why I'm glad I don't have kids.

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  50. I just hosted my daughter's 4th birthday at Michael's Arts & Crafts store. Since it was a robot theme, the kids colored and decorated wooden frames and added robot stickers. Even though each kid would leave with a frame, I still felt had "goodie bag guilt." So I put round and rod pretzels in a bag and called it Robot Fuel/Nuts & Bolts. It was a huge hit and hopefully ended up in their tummies and not the trash like typical good bag stuff.

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  51. When my husband and I had our first kid it was easy enough. But when number 2 game around and we ended up giving her THREE PARTIES for her 2nd birthday (one for friends, one for family and one for church people), we looked at each other with exhaustion in our eyes and said ENOUGH!!!

    We didn't just give up the goody bags, we gave up the party too! I gave birth to my children, it's MY day to celebrate them. They get to pick one or maybe two friends and have them sleepover. On their actual birthday, they get to pick a fun activity and we go do it. The zoo, Dave & Busters, a trip to Chicago overnight, etc... No one complains about not getting a goody bag and I don't complain about all the crap the kids has gotten from disgruntled parents of friends who have to O-M-G buy another stinking birthday gift for a kid their kid never even talks about but got invited because apparently if you invite more than 5 people, you have to invite the whole freaking class because "that's only fair."

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  52. The last big birthday party I had for my daughter was for her 6th birthday. I did it big because she was in kindergarten and I figured one big bday bash with her school buddies wouldn't kill me.
    This year she turned 8 and I told her she could invite 4 friends for a sleepover. We made our own pizza, painted our nails, watched movies and made sundaes. I moved the coffee table and threw all the sleeping bags and pillows on the floor and the girls all camped out in the living room for the night.
    For the goody bag, I went to the dollar store and got cute little tote bags that I filled with nail polish, manicure kits, jump ropes, hair clips, pencils, erasers and bangle bracelets. This cost me all of $20 to make the 4 bags and the girls loved them. You are so right when you say that kids just want to have a party with their friends and family, eat cake, be celebrated as the Queen/King for the day and open presents. Keep it simple, it's not the theme or the price tag that they'll remember, it's the good times they spent with their friends and family.

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  53. I am the worst mom......we dont even do birthday parties. We gather with the family for dinner and cake, at someone's house. Everyone does or brings something to offset the work and cost. They can play with their cousins and see thier friends at school. I believe in preparing kids for adulthood. When is the last time you had 25 friends to your adult birthday party.....OMG....and thank goodness we dont. Can you imagine if every other weekend, you....and your kid had a party to get too. Keep it simple, wasnt simple enough for me :) If you want some quality time with a friend, pick one, make a date, and everybody pays their own way. My kids dont mind, in fact, they prefer it. It leaves us some room to buy them a much more preferred birthday present than what they get after you throw them an over the top, birthday party, that costs too much.

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    Replies
    1. How nice it must be to have family close by. We throw parties for the kids with their friends or their birthday celebrations would be pretty lonely and frankly non-existent. Such is life as a military family though.

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  54. I'm the CHEAP MOM...I was going to have treat bags at my sons last birthday party until he wanted to get stuff that was girly and stuff that was just for boys. I was like HELL NO! I can DEFINITELY see my son being an OAD..LMAO Now, I will say that I have given the hard plastic character drinking cups filled with teeth rotting candy before :) I love using the cups instead of bags because at least it's something that may get used.

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  55. Around here lately, the craze is to give out gift cards to the local fro-yo store. I kind of like that idea. It costs a little more, but is sooooo much easier!!! Unless you are the mom that bought $10 gift cards for everyone. Of course, I didn't mind --- I got free yogurt too!

    But you'll love this --- now, not only do you have to have goody bags at the party, you have to bring them for the class on their birthday. Gone are the days where you madly bake Betty Crocker cupcakes the night before. You can't bring cupcakes, but you can bring bags of crap (with no candy in them) for 30 kids.

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  56. Ha, I usually have a candy and let the kids pick out candy to take home for their goody bags. I am the anti-goody bag mom.

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  57. Ok, I admit it, I am guilty of giving out a bag o crap goodie bags, but man, kids love that stuff! My kids get to pick some piece of crap plastic thing at the dentist or doctor and you would think they won the lottery. They play with it until it breaks or they forget about it, and then it ends up in the trash... Oh well, I guess my expectations are pretty low since it doesn't really bother me when they come home with a bag o crap from another party...

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  58. Yeah no big blowouts for my fam right now, we are too busy trying to pay our bills. But best party item my son came home from a party with was a $5 gift card to chick filet. Seemed kinda weird at first but He was thrilled, he got a magic money card like mama and daddy have, we used it to make a day out of a couple of weeks later ( bc yep even though it's junk food , horrors that she gave that out, he doesn't get to go there that often and getting his magic card ensured a trip there). I do think the mom was crazy for spending $75 on 15 kids but at least it wasn't all sugar and crap that he would shriek he "needed" to eat the whole car ride home from the party.

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  59. I guess I'm an under-achieving mom most days. I don't do goody bags but then my kids don't get big parties every year. We do 1st, 5th and now 10th birthdays for friends. The other ones are just family. I did do tutus for my 5 yr old's last birthday and we did make up and nails which the kids got to take theirs home. BUT, I only invited 6 kids so not so much! I like things simple!

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  60. I totally skipped throwing a party for my son's 10th birthday. The big 1-0... he's still a little upset about it, but people are jerks. They don't RSVP. I invite 25 kids and 5 show up. One year only 1 kid showed up. At any rate, I'm tired of spending boatloads of money to have kids not show. And I did some decent departure goodies, but only a handful of kids would know that. Jerks.

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  61. I'm the cheap mum too :) Best gift we did was collect jars and yogurt pots a few weeks prior to the party and plant with sunflower seeds (depending on the time of year could be anything) and decorated the pots. All the crunchy mums thought it was great, and all the yummy mummies were too caught-up in the supposed "cuteness" of it to realize it cost me practically nothing but time :)

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  62. I share a similar sentiment on wedding reception favors. Do I really need/want a shot glass with your names on it? No. I appreciate it more when a couple takes that money and donates it to a charity. Heck, Hubs and I didn't buy favors for our wedding guests and no one even noticed.

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  63. The whole goody bag thing is out of control. We organized build a bear for my daughter's 7th birthday. I would have thought the fact that you get to take the BEAR home would have been enough but one little girl told me that it wasn't and that I also should have included a goody bag. Not sure we'll be inviting her this year...

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    Replies
    1. Wow. That's when you take the BEAR away and say "Sorry, I didn't want you to have to take this crummy goody home with you."

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  64. There were a whole gaggle of babies born when I had my son (there were 7 babies born within 3 months of eachother) with a few more born at the same time the following year, so from Aug to Nov we are pretty busy with birthday parties. At one of them, where the majority of the guests were 3 and under) we were given pencils, a key chain, and something else a 3 year old would never use. Give us dollar store crap and I can find a use for it but I don't need a soccer ball keychain, neither does my 3 year old

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  65. My son had a party at Dave and Busters. He and his three friends had a blast. They won tons of tickets allowing each one to get something decent from the redemption shop allowing each one of them to have an item to take home. At the end of the day, one of the boys actually asked where his goody bag was. I told him it was the toy in his hand and the $30 I just spent on him at the party. UGH! :-)

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  66. I Just did a party that looked OAM but was simple & cheap... The theme was superheroes. I bought cheap WM standard size pillow cases & cut in half then threaded a ribbon through the "pocket" created by the open edge. I don't sew, so the sides of these "capes" are shedding & messy, but the kids don't care. I bought a package of really cheap cardboard half masks from Oriental Trading and a huge box of crayons. The kids colored their capes & masks and I called it done. This made an activity for the party as well as a take home. Also, an easy idea for the cake that the kids LOVE - decorate your own cupcakes... provide naked home made cupcakes & some icing along with a few containers of different sprinkles. Makes a mess, but it also provides an activity for the party & a cheap but fun cake.

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  67. What goody bags???? I don't ever remember going to a birthday party and getting anything...I was fed, entertained, and given cake/ice cream...I don't think I'll be buying them for my kid's party either...favors are for showers and weddings...

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  68. I refuse to give out goody bags. The joy of going to a party should be going to the party. When the kids ask for them as they leave, I just tell them our family doesn't "do" goody bags. And their Moms can call me cheap if they want. I'm old enough that I'm not about to be peer pressured into something silly.

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  69. Great balls of fucking fire, I am so glad I don't live in your school district and am more than happy with my Olathe zipcode after reading your posts. What the fuck?

    We do simple parties at a nearby nature center and I hand out a goody bag with a sticker-related craft. And the mothers are thankful. Speaking of thankful, I am extremely grateful for my low-key social group. Good grief.

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  70. I also dread the goody bags - cheap crap that I try to throw away without my child noticing. Instead of goody bags, I always try to give away a book. I scan the Scholastic book club flyers monthly and try to find an age-appropriate book that is $1 or $2. This year I actually ordered Peter Pan books from Amazon (my daughter had a Peter Pan party). It was a little more expensive ($4 each, but still about what I would normally spend on the "bag of crap"). Wouldn't you know it, two days before the party my daughter decided we just "had to give away pirate treasure chests" at her party. Bummer. I tried REALLY hard to talk her out of it, but she was determined. I'd like to punch myself in the throat for giving in. Then I looked like an OAM because I gave away the books (what else would I do with 20 copies of Peter Pan) AND the stupid treasure chest boxes filled with cheap crap. PUNCH!

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  71. Jen, then you can get the kids to come over for community-service playdates to water the trees! You don't even have to have those kids in the house again!

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  72. You know what I hate? The new trend of goody bag for school cupcakes. Anyone else seeing this? Kids now not only bring cupcakes to school for their birthday but also goody bags! I want to throttle those moms! Also goody bags for Valentine's Day rather than a crappy tiny card. Really OAM's?! Hate it. I'm trying to work the Amanda Soule "we don't buy crap" vibe with my kids because really- I'm not playing the goody bag game.

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    Replies
    1. We have a mom (of 5, no less) at our school who insists on being the hero for every f'ing class holiday party...she provides a fully decked out goody bag full of CRAP for every event. It drives me to drink.

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  73. I don't own stock in Oriental Trading Co., so I don't do goody bags. 2 years ago my daughter wanted a "puppy" themed party...OK? I bought dog bowls in the $1 section at Target and used a pretty marker to write the kids' names on the bowl. I made brownies on a cookie sheet and used a dog bone cookie cutter...a scoop of ice cream w/ a brownie dog bone - easy, cheap and the kids loved it. The dog bowls were the take home - along w/ a couple of easy (cheap) crafts from the party. Bag-o-beads in the shape of dogs = necklaces and bracelets as well as wooden dog houses w/ mini stuffed dog (Thank you Michael's 40% off coupon). The kids were able to paint or color their dog house to their delight. No candy, no goody bag, just fun crafts and inexpensive as hell...because I'm cheap and proud.

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  74. This past year we started a new tradition in our family: Birthday Activities instead of a party. We have 3 daughters ages 9,7, and 6. Each of them got to invite two friends and choose a special activity. For one we went to a bouncy-toy place and let the kids jump all their energy out, then stopped at the duck pond and fed the ducks, then went to a park and ate cupcakes and since the friends had brought presents we opened them there. It was pretty laid back, but it had the benefit of involving the sisters too (they're close enough in age to feel left out) and since it was billed as a "Family" birthday activity it means Daddy was also there so it wasn't me versus 20 screaming kids. In fact, Hubs is the one who organized the first party! We didn't even make invitations, just called and invited. The other one we did was going to a theater we love (with cheap concessions) and saw a movie complete with popcorn, soda AND candy of choice for everyone, then went to an ice cream shop afterwards for ice cream. It was way cheaper than large group parties, much more fun for everyone, and they got to spend real time with their friends.

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  75. A goody bag hater and non-giver...best giveaway I ever had was handing out all the hockey jerseys at my youngest's skating party...we'd collected almost 2 dozen from two boys playing and the party goers loved wearing them while skating and couldn't believe it when I told them they were taking them home!

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  76. I've determined that all of you moms are so much better than me. I did goody bags one year for my daughter's 7th birthday and haven't done them since. My son has NEVER had goody bags for his friends at his birthday parties and my girl hasn't since then.

    I kind of feel like I'm paying for the food, drinks, cake, ice cream, and basic entertainment - why do I have to give YOUR kid presents too?

    Pass...but you guys carry on!

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    Replies
    1. I forgot the best goodie bag/party favor party experience ever. Once I went to a party and it was a 'no gifts party' but they asked that you bring a stuffed animal for an exchange game. The mom clearly didn't think this through and had all these 4 yr olds put the stuffed animals in a row then said, "Go pick one." Screaming and crying and tantrums ensued and lasted for approximately 15 minutes b/c someone got to Elmo first etc. Then the mom had the brilliant idea of suggesting trades. Which worked for approximately 30 seconds until the kid holding Elmo didn't want to trade for the Dumbo and the scream and wailing and gnashing of teeth began again with renewed vigor. At that point my son clutching his stuffed animal with wide eyes filled with fear went running for the car. Party over!

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  77. Does anyone else remember birthday parties at McDonalds where your favor was your Happy Meal and you spent 45 minutes watching the birthday kid open his/her presents? I never felt jipped when I went home.
    Birthdays are out of control! Spend 30 minutes at www.birthdaypartyideas.com and get a taste of the crazy. When are we allowed to just be "good enough"?

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  78. My name is Kathy and I refuse to give out goody bags. There, I've said it. As someone else has already mentioned, the attendee's gift is to be able to go to the party and enjoy sweets and whatever activity they are participating in because of the birthday child. It's NOT your birthday, why should you get a gift?
    To me, the goody bag is the same as everyone getting a trophy for participating and not recognizing your good players/students for fear of hurting someone's feelings. When does it end? You don't get a gift for everything you do in life.
    I remember going to birthday parties growing up and I cannot remember once receiving a goody bag. How in the world did I survive and still have such a great time I can remember most of them to this day?

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  79. At this point, I'd be happy if my kids just got goody bags at actual birthday parties that they attend! Here is a list of other places from which my kids have brought home goodie bags:

    1. From school because it was someone's birthday in the class
    2. From a game because it was someone's birthday on their team
    3. From dance class because it was someone's birthday
    4. From religious class because it was someone's birthday
    5. From classroom holiday parties from the homeroom mom
    6. From classroom holiday parties from EVERY kid in the class

    How many flippin' times do these kids need their birthdays celebrated? Back in the old days, mom baked a cake, grandma, grandpop & aunt sally came over and you sang happy freakin' birthday, done! Your birthday wasn't a week long festival. Talk about setting your kids up for disappointment in the future... because as we all know, once you have kids nobody gives a crap about your birthday!

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  80. After reading this blog post and most of the comments after, I am slashing the guest list of the bday party I am currently planning in half!

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  81. When I’m planning my children’s birthday parties, goody bags are the last thing on my mind. I figure that a $10 - $15 gift is a fair trade for simply being invited to a birthday party and being fed and entertained. As adults, we don’t expect to receive a goody bag when we attend an adult party. On the contrary, when we attend adult parties it’s polite to bring a gift to the host. I usually send guests home with a homemade sweet.

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  82. As you can tell by my user name, I'm very involved with Goodie Bags! Our company was started because we were sick and tired of junky goodie bags filled with toys that NO ONE cared to play with!
    Our mission is to give moms a resource to build their own goodie bags selecting from about 100 carefully chosen toys....all kid approved! So, if you are in the camp of still providing goodie bags as a thank you, check out gogogoodie.com

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  83. I just went to a party where the mom gave each kid a $5 gift card to Barnes & Noble instead of a goody bag. I thought it was a great idea.

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    1. Haha! I did the same thing for my son's party at the local fun center (climbing wall, high ropes, giant slides, arcade....). I thought a book store gift card was my stroke of genius, but most of the kids looked at me like I'd just run over their dog!

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  84. I didn't do a goody bag last year...I had a candy buffet and they filled up chinese takeout boxes to take home. I will say it wasn't ALL candy- there were fruit snacks and rice krispie treats too :O I will try really hard not to do that one again! Kids really don't need all that sugar!

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  85. Jen - totally agree that 'the Goody Bag' has got out of hand...why do we even have them? Still you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. We try for homemade wherever possible - lollipops, cupcakes etc or check out our recent post for ideas http://www.thecommunalpantry.com/81/post/2012/01/the-party-bag-original-and-unique.html#comments. PS I recently had my son's 6th birthday at home - with bubbles for the kids and alcoholic bubbles for the moms...it was the best party yet and the last mom left 5 hours later! xx

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  86. For my 1 yr olds December party bag's A Christmas themed book from $ store for each child, a foam stocking from $ Pack of 5, Stickers for stocking from $ store (only needed 2 packs) reindeer food (oats and glitter) All held in a gallon ziploc baggie with snowman print $ another store purchase only needed 1 box. So about $1.30 for each party bag I refuse to give out rubbish i will always source a book.

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  87. I remember birthday parties at Burger King as a kid and you got to keep the crown to take home.
    I do like to hoard the goodie bags from parties and take them on trips (if they are not torn open before you get in the car). That way there is fun new stuff to play with for short periods of time (especially in the car) and you don't care if any of it gets left behind.

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  88. I just went to a party this past weekend for a 5 yr old. The kids ripped into their goodie bags and there were whistles that sounded like nails on a chalkboard and blow up mallets that they immediately started beating each other with. In unison all the moms started bitching about the bags and how its all going in the trash. I had been talking to another mom about how I'm refusing to do goodie bags (I have 2 march bdays). Its expensive and bunch of annoying shit that you step on and throw out. She agreed and said the moms will all be happy and the kids will have fun at the party and leave...you know how its suppsed to be. I'm holding firm. No goodie bags. If I didn't make epic 3D cakes I'd make a cake pop or a cookie to fit the theme for them to take home but I do so I won't. done. I have no remorse. They will thank me later.

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  89. You want to look great? One year for my son's party I bought pencil boxes at target when they went to clearance for like $.25 each, then filled it with school supplies. Once he picked his theme I put cars stickers all over the box. Done. Awesome.cheap. And not full of crap! Lots of compliments, he has an october birthday so it was a great time for it and I must confess I love school supplies, especially if I can get a box of crayons for $.35. This year for Christmas (because everyone in prescool makes goodie bags for Christmas too!) I again bought boxes of crayons for my 4year olds class and markers for the 2nd graders class. Cheap.easy.fun!

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  90. Every time I ever do a goodie bag, I spend a ton of time coordinating the contents and making it just right with personalized stickers and such. Then NO ONE ever takes them. I am chasing them down as they leave. "You forgot your goodie bag!" I am always left with a ton and then have no idea what to do with it all. It will just sit on my counter until I get sick of looking at it and then throw it all away.

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  91. I like your idea. Maybe I can have a garden party for my daughter and let the kids plant begonias in my beds. And, while I'm guilty of it, too, wouldn't it be nice not to have some candy that my kids will probably never eat and some plastic jacks that I can't throw away, because, if I do, even if there is only one jack and half of the ball left, they will know. The guilt of having something nice for the kids to bring home is really something. I did finagle making some flower hair clips for my daughter's Rapunzel party last year. They were a hit, plus it was something the girls' could keep and use...I even see them popping up in pictures and at school from time to time. Not so much with the clip-in colored hair braids, which are still lingering in my house, despite my best efforts to sneak the now ratty things out.

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  92. My son (12) recently went to the most over the top party I have seen. 15 kids: laser tag (including video game tokens), followed by dinner at a Japanese steakhouse (the kind with the grill thing in the middle of the table--$25-35 per plate at a place reserved for date night WITHOUT THE KIDS in our family). The goodie bags included candy and a $15 gift card to Best Buy. Awesome, but at 12? Really!?! I can't even imagine what 13 or 16 will bring for this kid!

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  93. I do like that the goody bags are a nice, subtle signal that it's time for everybody to leave. Like this year we had a party at a place with a time limit, so I just started handing out the bags as a way of indicating that people had to go. Also back in the days when the party guests were young enough to throw tantrums when they had to leave, the goody bag went a long way toward taking the sting off of leaving.

    However, I hate all the stupid plastic crap as much as the next person. This year I insisted that everything in the goody bags be consumable: stickers, candy, bubbles, tattoos. Also I ordered $5 DQ gift cards for each kid, because the long-awaited seasonal opening of the DQ was two weeks after my son's birthday party. I probably spent more per bag than I would have if I just put plastic toys in there, but at least I knew it would be appreciated.

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  94. I am one of the moms who disparately tried to get everyone on the bandwagon of no gift bags. I hate the crappy candy and junk toys too. I did however make mini scrapbooks for all of the kids after a trip to the zoo as part of the thank you.
    It is the Birthday child's day not the guests. They should be happy that they were invited.

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  95. I have one child. I over achieved in his early years and then learned sanity. He chooses 1-4 friends and an activity I will pay for them to do. I make the cake and there are no goodie bags. And LO! and BEHOLD! my kid still has friends.

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  96. I have 2 kids, I was a OAM for the 1st bday for kid #1, and that was the turning point. From that party on...I have scaled back. A couple years I even convinced the kids that the money could be spent on a family vacation. I was an early adopter of the no goody bag, it's crap and expensive. One friend gave out large candy bars...my kids were thrilled with that!

    Kids are now almost 13 and 9. Darling daughter is turning 13 soon..I feel myself slipping into OAM and I need to stay strong.

    Thanks for the support...for mom's that just want cake and ice cream!

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  97. I'm a no-goodie bag person. My 3 kids hate that. Oh well. I hate spending money on anything, but especially plastic crap that will get thrown away. I hate candy. This year we had a swim party with water guns. I let the guests keep the guns. I'm sure someone was offended either b/c I'm cheap or because they were GUNS. Oh well.

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  98. My 10 year old went to one of her best's friends parties in December. The mom took my daughter along with 10 other 10 years olds to the spa for manis/pedis and facials. They then went out to dinner and afterwards went back to the Ritz Carlton to spend the evening. The next morning when I picked my daughter up, she had a new bag filled with gifts including a $200 Nikon digital camera...all we gave the kid was a 20 dollar bill!

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    Replies
    1. HOLY CRAP!!! WTH?!?! My daughter asked for pedi's with her friends...then she gave me the list of friends and I was like...um...no not at $30 a pop. I did a mani/pedi party for her and her friends at home with just dance wii game, dollar store/hob lob decor and dollar store mini "goody buckets" with a dollar store loofa, a mani/pedi set and some temporary tattoos that they got to use during their manis/pedis. Food consisted of sub, chips, cupcakes and a candy display. It was a huge hit and cost me less than half of the amount the pedi's alone would have cost me.

      Delete
  99. I planned my first kids party last summer. It was supposed to be at a park that had a castle-like play structure. We rented the pavilion, and decided we would spend some of the time decorating crowns with markers and stickers. I thought they'd spend most of the two hours playing in the park. Unfortunately the temperature and humidity made the castle play impossible and we moved the party to our house. The crowns were still a great activity and they got to bring them home. I added a ring pop to go with the royalty theme and that was the extent of their goody bag. I have no idea what parents thought, but the kids had fun making their crowns and my 6 year old was happy.

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  100. Heck, the new trend in our neck of the woods, my daughter's kindergarten class seems to be to not even have a party! I think there has been only one bday party amongst the girls this year.

    I know a couple families that just did family parties or went out of town for a special weekend. And here my bday party obsessed 5 yr old has been planning her july bday since her LAST bday.

    Reading all this makes me realize I really don't want to do a big party at all. Maybe her two or three closest friends(right now it's at two) and do something super fun with them. No goody bags this year. She had a really big party for all the girls at her preschool and while they all had a blast and loved it, it was just too darned much. Not this year. I hate to burst her planning bubble, but something simple needs to be done.

    And yeah goody bags really bite. My kid loves them, but I hate the junk.

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  101. How about a PITT for the people who get all psycho competitive with the gifts they buy for the birthday boy or girl. When I was a kid, I remember gifts from party guests were things like a barbie and maybe a coloring book. I thought I hit the jackpot receiving things like that. The last few parties we went to, folks gave things like a doll with every accessory and matching outfit for the birthday kid and books and candy. WTH? And that was just from one person. For our kiddo's first birthday we asked for no gifts (your presence is present enough). At his second birthday we didn't open gifts in front of everyone. At that age, it is just a recipe for a melt down from either the birthday kid or a young guest who wants presents from him/herself too. I think most people appreciated the fact that we skipped that part. The only ones who threw a stink were the ones to like to "show off" what they gave the birthday kid. I should add however, that we practice the lost etiquette practice of hand written thank you notes (I write them as my child is still too young) for the gifts. As a bonus the parties are a ton of good old fashion (read: inexpensive) fun for the adults and kids.

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  102. Another thing that gets my goat is class parties......something sweet, something salty, something healthy, drinks, games, crafts, candy and then goody bags full of useless crap........that's another thing that drives me crazy!!!! What happened to cupcakes and maybe a quick game?? Your thirsty......drink out of the water fountain. Waste of money, energy and time!!! Am I the only mom that thinks class parties are way over the top???

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    Replies
    1. OMGosh no! They are ridiculously OVER THE TOP! I can't believe the spread at some of my kids' class parties. WTH? Why did I even pack a lunch? The latest and greatest..Valentine's day: http://mommyontheedgeof.blogspot.com/2012/02/valentines-daywhy-not-blog-about-it.html
      I don't understand why the kids need this Thanksgiving-sized spread of food for ANY holiday. The stuff they bring home from the Christmas parties has me finding JUNK for days afterward. WHY?! No I totally agree w/ ya on that one.

      Delete
  103. I always take a picture of all the kids together and then send a copy in their hand written (can be scribbles) thank you card. No goodie bags, just a $.19 photo of them with all their friends!!!!

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  104. For my oldest daughter's 2nd birthday we did a Crayon/Colors theme. For the goody bags I just filled a brown lunch bag with a pack of crayons and small doodling pad from the dollar store. The main fun activity was I spread out those GIANT coloring pages (also found at the dollar store) all over the kitchen floor and let them color to their heart's content. Plates and balloons in several different colors rounded out the decorations. I had planned to have an adult game where they were to write down as many songs as they could that featured a color in the name (Purple Rain, Paint It Black, Lady in Red, etc) and the person with the most won a prize. Unfortunately we never got around to that but that was the height of my creativeness.

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  105. I did a Christmas party for the kids one year, because we hadn't been able to do a birthday part over the summer. I went to the dollar store and bought cheap holiday suncatchers and foot long pencils. They made the suncatchers into ornaments for a gift for parents and got the pencil. Hello 1.50 per kid! Plus the other parents got a kid free night for holiday shopping! It was a huge success.

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  106. I am not an OAM, by no means, and this past birthday party proved that. My 10 yr old is a HUGE Cake Boss fan. She has met Buddy, and watches every show. She has a disability and decorating cakes is her new therapy, so I had the bright idea for a Cake Boss party..

    . I could punch MYSELF in the throat!!!


    They each decorated their own cake, my mother made personalized aprons.... It was WORK! They had a blast, but I realized at that moment.... I am NOT cut out for that over-achieving bullshit!!

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  107. I always do a pinata filled with candy and cheap crap. Kids love pinatas.

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  108. Okay, so best two goodies I gave out, totally worth sharing! My daughters birthday is always the week of Thanksgiving and she declared she wanted a "Christmas" birthday for her 5th. Decorated my house a week early, made a truck load of sugar cookies and I let them decorate them and each take home a plate of the cookies along with the "reindeer food" (oats and glitter in a baggie with a printed out poem). Super easy and cheap!

    We did a beauty party at a beauty college, $6/girl to get their hair and nails done. Walked to pizza place two doors down and while we waited for pizza I had them glue sequins on wooden IKEA frames that were 3/1.99 that I painted purple. I told them that they had to keep their frame for a special surprise and then in their thank you note I included a picture I had taken of each girl with my daughter all dolled up! They loved it and you can't beat the price!

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  109. We luck out. I suck at planning so we end up doing the September kid's party in October... I do the little pumpkins, black marker and glo stick for trick or treating.

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  110. Ummm...I didn't know you are supposed to do goody bags. I think I'll continue to pretend I don't know.

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  111. I'm 23. I NEVER got goody bags at my friends' parties and I'm pretty sure my parents didn't give any out. I wasn't even aware this was something that was supposed to be done. I was just happy to go to the party and have my friends over. Now I'm wondering what I should do for my 1 yr old son when he gets old enough to have friends...

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  112. My daughters favorite birthday was renting the skate shack at the local community shelter and doing skating. We served hot chocolate and cake and made bookmarks in the shape of ice skates as take home gifts. I think it cost about $45, and everyone had a blast!

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  113. Why are so many people against birthday parties? Do you think your parents hated them as much when it was your birthday? Wouldn't you have felt bad if you knew your parents hated throwing you a birthday party? I think it's so sad for your kids. We do the same thing every year for our kids regardless of the month. Friends/cousins come over, they play outside for an hour, they come in, we eat, we have cake, they open presents and the guest are gone. 2 hours tops. My kids look forward to it every year. I like doing it for them. And we always have goody bags. Past goody bags have included little nerf guns (huge hit), bracelets, pin wheels, notebooks and pencils and I always put m&ms in them.

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  114. Shoot! My daughter just turned 11 and her goody bag came from michaels! We went over to the bridal section, got the, as I call them, "bracelet bags" (sheer small bags with pull ribbon) got a 24 pack of black and white suckers that had "thank you" stickers that I put on each sucker, mints that said "thank you" on them and a silver thank you charm that we tied to each bag on the pull ribbon. Everyone loved them and it wasn't too expensive sense it was all on clearance! I'll post a pic for you, but it was maybe 15/20 bucks to make way more than enough bags!
    When did the goody bag even become such a "must have" at parties anyway?! Most of us growing up didn't do all that, we just had fun playing and celebrating! My daughter didn't even want goodie bags this year, but I figured she'd be the only one not giving them. One of her friends moms made sleeping bags for each of their American girl dolls, mini American girl dolls and clothes for the big dolls... I don't have that kind of disposable cash lying around, sorry!

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  115. I work at a private school and some classroom birthday celebrations are more like a child's party with cake, ice cream, and balloons. This year one family had a box of ready-made goody bags shipped to the school!! WTF!

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  116. My son's 5th bday party...he wanted cheese, crackers, carrots, and juice. Hell yeah! Ask and you shall receive. We had just that and it was him, my mom, and me. I bought Spiderman plates at Dollar General, and we ate pre-made cheesecake. I never have to worry about living up to the standard of the previous year's party, and he loved every minute of it!

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  117. 21 kids at a Birthday Party? Talk about OAM.... I neither want that many lil bastards around, nor could I afford to if I wanted to host a freaggin "convention"

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  118. OK, I'm sorry but I'm just stuck on the last paragraph. Your going to have a bunch of kids come over to you house and landscape it for you, and they will do all of this for free because it is a 'nature party'. Talk about using the green movement to you advantage. It's genius.

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  119. My kids are young but all my goody bags have been the same type for all 3 of their b-days. I go online find color sheets to match their party theme, print them out, shrink them to abt a 3x5. Print out a color pic matching their party theme and staple it together into a flip booklet. Then toss in a couple of crayons and a snack bag or goldfish, pretzels & a lollipop. I put it all in a brown lunch sack and seal it w/a paper note that the kids write saying thank you for coming to my party. Done. Simple. Inexpensive and everyone thinks it's great. Plus all the thank you notes are taken care of when they walk out the door.

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  120. Just had the party for my 6 year old son. The goody bags had notepads, pencils and a bottle of bubbles all from the dollar store. No food or sugar since I just fed them crappy pizza from the bowling alley/arcade place we had the party and they all got a cupcake with about 5 inches of frosting on top. The birthday party venue gave us arcade tokens for each of the kids so they got to add to their bags buying silly bands or whatever crap they wanted with the tickets they won in the arcade.
    I tried no goody bags one year and several kids told my son his party was lame because they didn't get a goody bag. WTF?!?!?!?!

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  121. I usually try to give a "goody" that doubles as an activity while the little darlings are at the party. One year we had a hula hoop contest and everyone took their hula hoop home. Another year we made a ball pit out of beach balls and everyone took a beach ball home. One year we had bubbles and those giant bubble wands -- everyone got a bottle of bubbles and their wand to take home. ALl of these were less than $3 a kid.

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  122. I was that Mom that never gave out goodie bags and just did take home crafts....I could have cared less (until my daughter started pre-school)...then I got sucked in when a 24pk of crayola crayons were a quarter during back to school time...next thing I know I have 120 packs of crayons! I started to couple that with the 2/$1 Family Dollar Fun Pads for my $.75 goto goodie bag.

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  123. My kids have always gotten a choice... Do u want me to spend $250-$300 on a bday party with friends That lasts 1.5 hours or do u want to pick an awesome present that will cost that much?? Thankfully they have always been selfish enough to pick the present making my life easier and goody bag planning free! We do have family parties for each with all the cousins etc. I'm not totally heartless.

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  124. Hate hate hate goodie bags, and don't do them. I agree, full of useless shit that the parents throw away at the first opportunity. Not doing it. You might as well hand each kid a few buck and tell them to go throw it in the trash, cause that's what's going to happen. Both of my little kids (who still want parties) have October birthdays 2 days apart. We try to split them up IF we even do parties(they don't get big "friend" parties every year) we try to split them up between two weekends. Blessedly their birthdays always fall during the free movie promotions at the local theater. You can take all the kids under 12 you want, and they are free, adults are $3.50. So we usually do that, buy the kids each their own kid's pack popcorn and pop, and that's their goody. Come back home, hang out for about an hour, cake and ice cream and then get the heck out.

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  125. 21 kids? Who in their right mind would let their kids invite that many friends over for a birthday party? The most i ever let my kids invite were 4 kids for a total of 5 including them. I would lose my mind if I had to plan a party for 21 kids. No wonder you are all spending a fortune, plus the venues are like 9.99 to 12.99 per person for mini golf or bowling... wow.

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  126. I used to live in Kansas. Not making my bed makes me itch. Most of your posts about things "OAM's" do actually inspire me. Grass seed is now on my shopping list. Ha. And, I $%*@$%# hate goodie bags.

    In real life, you and I would have a love hate relationship.
    I digress.

    I refuse to spend my money on plastic shit I throw away from other peoples parties. I came up with an idea last year that I happen to think is brilliant.

    You might just love me for this:
    I bought a wooden treasure chest from Joannes (I think it was like $30) and made a sign that says, "We treasure our friends- thank you for celebrating with us!" (It's gender neutral (I use it for all three of our kids) and in small print it reads "please have each child choose one item!" Throughout the year I find great deals on stuff to put in the box. Nothing costs over a dollar. I put the box outside of the front door so people trip on it as they leave our party. (No more forgetting to pass out the ridiculous theme appropriate goodie I stressed about).

    Kids pick something.
    Then they leave.
    Think dentist goodie box.
    It's like crack for kids.

    So there- kids love it, it's EASY, it's cheap, you don't have to pre-count how many you need, you can be generous and let siblings take one too. Moms don't hate you for a bag of crap. Goodie bag problem solved.

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  127. My daughters are having a joint bday party in a few weeks and I am not doing goody bags at all.

    Oh and its at Chuck E cheese lololololol

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  128. I don't get this whole "goody bag" thing to begin with. I'm 40 and growing up as a child I *never* received a "goody bag" at birthday parties, nor did my mom prepare them when we hosted a party either (always at home).

    Once, I received a small wrapped present at a party apparently just for attending (I was pleasantly shocked and wholly surprised).

    I grew up thinking that birthday parties were for cake, watching the birthday person opening presents and playing with them together afterwards, and maybe a round of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or a pinata (if we were REALLY lucky).

    I didn't see a goody bag until I attended a birthday party to which my kids were invited. I was all "what the heck is this?" and then it began to dawn on me (after a couple more parties) that this was apparently a common practice... Isn't providing cake & ice cream and a few decorations good enough any more?

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  129. My kids are older and I've run the gauntlet, from OAM making koolaid purses for 20+ kids to cheap plastic junk to forgetting all about them. I never heard anything negative about any party we threw or the goodies handed out (positive on the purses). Do you think they were talking about me behind my back? Too bad, do what's good for you and yours!

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  130. Oh man! I was so convinced that I would never make it onto your list of punches...but I guess you should add me, because I've got serious issues with birthday party goody bags. If it doesn't seem "good enough" for me, I go bigger and better. Hahaha.

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  131. How about not having a birthday party for your child EVERY SINGLE YEAR? Then when you do have one, you can whoop it up and make it great. My sweetie turned 6 this year. No party. But we had a "birthday weekend" for her. One day she spent with Dad, one day with the Grandparents, one day with Mom and she got some special gifts and 7 balloons (w/ one huge mylar) all to herself. She didn't seem disappointed at all!

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  132. I am NOT looking forward to this goody bag nonsense one bit!! I grew up in the UK and went to hundreds of birthday parties as a kid. They were all the same: We played games, we ate sandwiches, Jell-o and ice-cream and.. wait for it ...we took a piece of Birthday Cake home with us - THAT was the favour! No goody bags, no crappy toys from Oriental Trading. Just a piece of cake so the sugar fuelled mayhem could continue at home for a little while before we all collapsed for an early night in bed! :)

    My son is about to turn 4 and we are having a birthday lunch on his b'day. Grandparents, Mummy & Daddy - that is the extent of the guest list. No goody bags needed. All he wants is a cake. Done. Heck, I might even blow up a couple of balloons (crazy!). Are we failing him? I don't think so...but I dread when he starts school...

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  133. Our DD's B-Day party is this weekend. I will give out goody bags full of mostly candy, but I convinced my DD that instead of gifts(which she got a ton of at Christmas)we should ask for donations for the local animal shelter where we recently adopted our kitten. She was all for it! Less stuff we don't need and a lesson on how to help the community.

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  134. I have lucked out in finding websites that have great deals on goodie bags but here is my gripe...In the past there are not exactly the same things in each goodie bag. Are the kids okay with this?? NO!! So once they get their goody bags they go through and go "But I want the yellow glasses! Why didn't I get the blue ring" Oh sure, they can trade but does everyone end up happy?? NO!! I don't even remember getting goody bags at parties as a kid.

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  135. Quite frankly, I don't care if I'm an underachiever. I don't care if I get called cheap. I'm not bitter, I just don't care. I've done parties in the past that might qualify as over-achieverish, but it was because I felt like it. Some years I give goody bags, some years I don't. Some years my kids have parties, some years we just have a family party. In the grand scheme of life, will it really matter if I did any of this? probably not. My grandma told me that each of her kids only got 1 birthday party growing up (she had 6 kids, so I can see why). They all turned out to be well-adjusted adults (except maybe 1) so I figure mine probably will too, and if they don't it's probably from some other area that I screwed them up, not their lack of a killer party each year :)

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  136. TWO WORDS: Oriental Trading

    On the web, they even have it easy to search the stuff on sale, clearance, and the stuff that people complained about being less than perfect. I use it for birthday parties and school parties. I tend to do bubbles, lollies, stickers, and then the coolest crap I can find at 50% or more off (like inflatables, footballs, etc.). My favorite so far are the pink valentine day fortune cookies.

    I generally provide the world's greatest goodie bags for 40 bucks or less, IF I'm smart enough to order it before I have to pay out the assets for faster shipping.

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  137. I think mine is worthy of a double punch, one from you and the other from my hubs.

    DD 1st birthaday was garden theme and my "goody bags" were clear bug catcher boxes full of live ladybugs......the kicker is that when you buy the ladybugs you put them in the fridge so they become dormant and easier to put in the boxes. That's great and all but we put the "sleeping" ladies in the boxes and then realized ALOT of them didn't wake up!!! So hubs got the pleasureable job of fishing out all the dead ones without letting the others crawl out :) Super cheap($1.50 each) but what a nightmare!So here goes:
    Hi, my name is the ladybug killer and I'm an OAM!

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  138. I hate goody bags! I throw it all in the trash unless it's something useful like chalk or candy i can steal. I made chocolate covered oreo pops to give out at our last party, which sounds very OAM but i know the other moms were thrilled not to get a bag o crap. And i say that if you pay for a party, you don't have to give out anything.

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  139. We Kind of lucked out on the birthday thing. My daughter is a leap year baby. We only go big every 4 years... Bonus for us. I'm not a huge fan of goody bags either. I believe kids need to realize not everything is about them. My daughter just turned 4 (1)this year and we had a Princess Party at home & yes i did goody bags. I sent out invites and told her 5 little friends to wear their princess dresses. I headed to the local dollar store and bought each kid a wand, a princess puzzle, and a princess lock box with fake jewelry. I Also found all plates and decorations there with a fun pin the crown game all for $37.00. I spent $25.00 on a princess cake. ( hubby wasn't too happy with this but i bought locally and i didn't have time to bake one) We played Games and beat a Pinata. My daughter is no angel but i had a hard time not noticing that all the girls were all about them and what they got and what they want, it was so frustrating. I also believe that when the parents are present it's much harder cause the kids don't act the same. Also, i had a hard time not noticing that the goody bags just made for a fight and the concentration was not on my daughter and her day. It was all on who didn't get the purple wand and some one else wanted the Tinker bell night light, and she's wearing my crown. I think that from now on my daughter can choose one friend and we go to the water park or something like that instead of the little girl parties. It just makes for more spoiled brats.

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  140. For my sons 5th birthday in April he's having a Lego Star Wars theme. Now my hubby is graphic designer and went all out for the fancy invitations, and I love to prepare themed food, so we're having "wookie cookies" and "ewok food" (trail mix) etc. Dead easy, just fun names. But for the dreaded goody bag I was worried about all the expensive plastic crap. So we've gone another route. $1 pool noodles, cut in half and wrapped at the end with some Duck tape and voila... we have "light sabres" to take home. Cheap, easy and hopefully WOW.

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  141. Never underestimate the power of a goody bag to create goodwill. Kate Middleton's mom discovered she had a talent for it, built a party goods empire around it, parlayed that success into enough dough to send her kids to the best schools the UK had to offer, and look where Kate is now ;)

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  142. my daughter wants a bday party - we dont do bday parties as i think they are silly reasons for kids to just get more stuff. she had one party when she turned 6 and i told the parents no gifts, instead they could bring food for the food bank, and the parents thought it was a good idea. the kids dressed up, had snacks, did a craft and that was it. the kids took home the craft and a cute lollipop shaped like a butterfly and they were thrilled. this year she wants a bday party and i said we would do a picnic at a horse farm we volunteer at that has a playground with tables.i will have to remember the lunch bag idea as we were going to have a picnic, what a great idea! again the craft will be the goody they take home. it is funny to me how the kids don't care what they take home as long as it is something, seems more like the parents who get bent out of shape.

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  143. I think it is crazy that people don't do parties for their children! They don't need to have gifts, but, why not celebrate with their friends.
    I am one of those Mom's that does do a nice goody bag, but, it is certainly not to upstage a gift. usually, it is related to the party and compliments it. One year I made all the girls princess outfits, and they then all had a princess tea. That was their take away. This year, we gave the four girls matching PJ's for a sleepover party. Really nice give away and practical. I detest dollar store crap just to give a goody bag. Every year we make a CD with the kids favorite music on it. I really do not think that I do this to upstage any present, I could really care less what other kids give my children. I do it because we want to celebrate, and it makes it extra fun.

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  144. For my younger sons's 7th birthday I got the huge ass Hershey Bars & made new wrappers for them in the party theme (Pokemon). The kids LOVED getting huge ass candy bars & the moms were happy to not get more dollar store crap. I ended up helping 2 other moms make their own wrappers.

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  145. The best party we ever threw was for our 9-year-old son at our local AA minor league baseball team's stadium. Cheap seats for five friends at $6 apiece, kid's meals for $5, and the team was giving away backpacks that day. Add in a $1 baseball and a sharpie, and they hung over the railings getting autographs after the game. Oh yeah, it was fireworks night, too. Right about $100 spent, no one asked for a goody bag, and those kids still talk about how much fun they had.

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  146. I have either a birthday adventure and take my son on an overnight vacation or have offered them the cash instead of a party. Have not had a party since they were 4 and5 years old!

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  147. I will proudly admit that when it comes to some things I AM the OAM. I live for it. Why? because my mom was working 3 jobs when I was a kid and my dad was not. I had good parties but I never asked for too much b/c we couldn't afford it. I loved my birthdays. I planned on having parties JUST LIKE THAT when I was a mom..But then I had DD and 2 things happened- 1- I m arried a man with 4 million family members. and they ALL had to come to each and every party and 2. I got cancer and had a hysterectomy so no more babies would be coming. I am very crafty and arty so I had all these cool ideas and with just the one DD I knew I had to squeeze as many of my ideas into her parties as possible!! As for the goody bags- DD has a bday at the end of November so I gather sale stuff all year, cheap boxes of crayons at school suplly time, clearance Halloween goddies and the like- I never spend more that $2 a bag (and that is HIGH for me) and I usually have bags worth about $10..and NO candy. I don't like to put crap so I do stuff like a 24 count box of crayola crayons(.20 in August @ Walmart, stencils (usually 10 in a pack for $1 @ Dollar tree), pencils, pencil toppers, stickers, and a Krazy Straw I get on clearance. I get lucky b/c of my job I sometimes have access to promo items like big coupons or freebie coupons for pizza or movies and I throw those in. I also try to do cloth or reusable bags(like lunch sacks. I know- You hate me for the OA aspect of all this but at least I am happy to do it. I do it for me, tho, and not for other moms. And FYI- When DD realized how awesome her parties were and started using them as a club (she would tell ppl that if they did stuff she didn't like that they couldn't come to her party)so I took them away. There was NO 6th bday at our house. She got dinner with the fam and that was it. She learned that lesson quick!!

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    1. I am the mom that said no to goody bags and to the snotty little shit who comes up to me and asks, "where is my goofy bag". I whisper, "there ARE no goody bags" and then I smile and pat their head, in case their parent is watching.

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  148. I went one step further from giving up goody bags and gave up the kid parties. When they were around 5 or 6 we started taking them to dinner at the restaurant of their choice, movie of their choice and then Toys R Us to pick out whatever gift they wanted. They never complained about not having a party and I got to avoid the whole headache. Now they are teenagers so the dinner and movie is usually with their friends instead of as a family and we just give them cash. I've never understood why birthdays were supposed to be such a big freaking deal anyway.

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  149. At our house "big" birthday parties will only happen in preschool, and maybe again at 13 and 16.
    I've given up on the goody bags, too. The last few parties I've thrown for my kiddos I've hired a local baker (who works out of her house) to make really cool cookies that match the theme. She packages them in cellophane and puts a ribbon in it. $2.50 each. I put a mailing label on the back that says something like "Thanks for coming to my party!" The cookies are always a hit, the other moms are glad not to have more crap to throw away, and I'm happy to have spent a fairly small amount per kid and have very little work to do on it.

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  150. Having winter babies, unfortunately, doesn't really allow for a party outside so it's off to find a venue. This year I did my twins' party at our local bowling alley, with a Scooby-Doo theme. I made and printed my own invitations on postcard paper. I only had to pay for the one game they played & the hot dogs from the snack bar. They gave us the use of the party room so all the kids were contained for cake & presents. I made my own goody bags by printing a picture of Scooby I found online and, using Paint, added "Thank you!" to the picture & pasted them on a brown paper lunch bag that cost less than $1 for a package. I found four nice pictures that were Scooby-related & printed all four on one page to create a coloring page. Bought bulk crayon packages (four in a box), mini PlayDoh, retro star-shaped toy sunglasses, cheap retro-themed finger skateboards & a sheet of Scooby-Doo stickers. I put a bag of Scooby-Doo fruit snacks in each bag. I bought two orange & two bright green $3 t-shirts, printed the whole gang in the Mystery Machine on transfer paper, then ironed them on the t-shirts. The twins each wore one & the kids with the highest & lowest scores received the other two as a prize. In all, I think I spent less than $100 for everything. The kids had a good time and the Mom's loved the idea. ~Renee

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  151. I was one of those who braved the gossip and refused to give goody bags. I say "was" because my kids are now older and they can buy their own bag of crap with their own money. Anyway, I was not the first mom to put a stop to this madness. At first I thought "how dare she" and then I realized it was genius and I joined in. How liberating! My kids asked me about the lack of goody bags and I told them they had a party and everyone had fun.

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  152. My daughter is having her 9th birthday this weekend. She's having a "Spa Party" at Sweet & Sassy. For our goody bags, I found a cute little pail at target for $1... green inside and outside is pink/white gingham. Putting in a shower pouf on the bottom,pumice stone with brush attached, a nail file, shower gel and "I Love Cake" antibacterial from Bath & Body Works. Keeping with the spa theme! The party is for 8 girls including my daughter and the goody bags were super cheap... got trial sizes of the lotions and sparkly nail polish for $1.89! No yucky candy and useless toys... spa-themed items that the tween girls will just LOVE! :o)

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  153. I have randomly picked one of your OAM posts to let you know that I immediately thought of you upon realizing that my 3 year old's soccer team mom is an OAM! The kids picked the team name at their first practice. The second practice her kids were wearing special made shirts with the team name and the kid's name on the back. Ok, cute. Then the first game she handed out snacks in individual bags with printed soccer stickers on them. Then at the next practice she brought a sign she had made that matched the team name shirts her kids wear. That is when I knew for sure I was in the presence of an OAM and your blog popped into my head. I'm a little intimidated because my snack day isn't going to compare but I love all the touches she is putting into this soccer season!

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  154. A child's birthday party can be whatever YOU decide. Stop comparing to other families; they are entitled to make their own choice as well. There is a difference between enjoying the extra things you do and feeling obligated to do them. Act like an adult, not a child.

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    1. best response of them all

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