Parents rebel against the tyranny of birthday party goody bags … and Hoda and Jenna agree

Pencils. Slime. Kazoos. Bubbles. Generic Slinkies that do not work. Squishies that may turn out to be hairballs inside 48 hours. Tiny automobiles you may ultimately step on later.

Just the thought makes me shudder.

After eight years of being a mother, I’ve determined that there isn’t a such factor as a “good” goody bag. And co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager have my again.

“All it is, is a bag of garbage,” Jenna mentioned. “If we’re honest, we just get home and throw it away. If we want to be buried in garbage in the next 50 years, let’s keep promoting goody bags.”

Hoda mentioned she as soon as “forgot” to make goody bags. She threw her daughter a bowling party and gave each visitor an arcade card as an alternative. And nonetheless, they appeared up at her and requested the place the goody bags have been.


When my kids began attending birthday events for his or her little daycare “friends,” I used to be delighted that they obtained considerate parting items. Melissa & Doug “Water Wow” books and Pirate’s Booty have been standard for the under-3 set.

I raised an eyebrow when the sugar and plastic began rolling in throughout the preschool years. I’d confiscate their M&Ms or Blow Pops (that I’d secretly eat after bedtime) and toss the plastic toys earlier than they even knew they existed.

But then my kids obtained older, and smarter. They began making the connection between birthday events and goody bags. It was not a pleasant “extra” however an all-consuming “necessity.”

They would begin speaking about goody bags earlier than we even arrived at a birthday party, questioning what colour the plastic [fill-in-the-blank] can be and whether or not there can be Ring Pops.

To be fairly trustworthy, I actually can’t blame them. If you go to fifteen birthday events a 12 months and come house with goody bags 15 occasions, of course you will assume that “birthday party = goody bag.”

The downside right here is that my children now keep in mind stuff. This signifies that I can not simply throw away goody bags willy nilly. They wish to preserve these ridiculous trinkets. The plastic is inside the home.

I would not say that I’m an environmentalist or minimalist, however changing into a mom and dwelling in a small metropolis rental with three different people has made me actually take into consideration the quantity of trash our little household of 4 provides to landfills, in addition to the quantity of pointless junk contained inside our condo. More stuff appears to return into our area than goes out.

And the worst half is that I’m contributing to the downside.

I’ve tried many goody bag workarounds. There was a pizza-making party the place the pizza was the parting reward. We made gingerbread homes topped with sweet, which have been taken house.

Goody bag-giving begins to get aggressive in the post-kindergarten part. So, whereas I succumbed to the tyranny of goody bags, I attempted to make them as disposable as doable.

The final party I threw had a canine theme and the goody bag contained:

  • Scooby Snacks (a bag of bone-shaped graham crackers, edible)

  • Scooby-Doo gummies (an excessive amount of sugar, however edible)

  • A pawprint sweet necklace (on-brand however means an excessive amount of sugar, blessedly edible)

  • Dog tattoos (potential rubbish, however with a small carbon footprint)

  • A canine cookie painstakingly handcrafted by my mom (which I’ll defend in any goody bag state of affairs)

All the gadgets went right into a small, reusable bag that I instructed myself can be used once more (however, like a bridesmaid gown, in all probability wasn’t).

I used to be proud of myself for procuring gadgets that have been themed, edible and comparatively inexpensive. (Don’t even get me began on what every goody bag prices.) But one other native mum or dad one-upped me in the finest means doable.

She invited the entire second grade to her daughter’s birthday party and the invitation had a line that made me wish to hug her. It mentioned: “No gifts, please. No goody bags will probably be given.”

Not solely did I not should spend time racing round Target (inevitably at the final minute) to discover a current, however I additionally wouldn’t be bringing ineffective plastic stuff into the home?! And she gave me advance warning so I prepped the children that they’d be coming house empty-handed. Fun truth: The women have been effective.

The no-goody bag mannequin impressed me to vary my methods, so I sought recommendation from one other metropolis mum or dad with extra kids and a smaller area than mine. Tyler Moore is a seventh grade math trainer higher often called @TidyDad on Instagram. He, his spouse and their three daughters live in a railroad condo in Queens, New York.

Moore thinks that goody bags are “a tradition that needs to go away.” Each of his three daughters will get a “treasure” field the place they’ll home any trinkets they wish to acquire. When the field is full, he and his spouse assist the children empty it and select what to place again in.

“It’s fascinating, because typically the items they choose to discard are all the birthday party goody bag items,” he says. “We usually put them in a bag and list them on our Buy Nothing group, where they’ll get grabbed by a preschool teacher or family planning a party, so at least they get passed on instead of going in the landfill.”

KC Davis, creator of “How to Keep House While Drowning,” tells, “I don’t usually do goody bags because I feel like it’s saying to a parent, ‘Here, you throw this away.’”

She tried something different at her young daughters’ joint birthday party this year. One of her daughters is autistic, and to make the party “neurodivergent and sensory pleasant,” she purchased fidget toys in bulk and placed them on the table in a basket, inviting the kids to play with them during the party and take them home if they wished. Instant party favors!

If you want to make traditional goody bags, however, Diana Rene, also known as The Decluttered Mom, says that “consumables” are ideal. In addition to food, she recommends things like art supplies, stick-on earrings or lip balm.

She says, ” query to ask your self when creating goody bags on your baby’s party is, ‘If my child obtained this at a party, would I be aggravated with the gadgets inside?’”

I’m undecided what I’ll do for my children’ subsequent birthday events. Will I proceed to place collectively mostly-consumable goody bags? Will I skip them altogether? Or will I compromise by swapping a goody bag for a $5 reward card to the native ice cream store?

I actually don’t know. I’ll unwrap that downside after I get to it.

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