Thursday, October 29, 2009

Party Favor Ideas

I tell you what, we women have really raised the bar on ourselves. Each passing year we expect more and more of ourselves. A backyard birthday party with sack races isn't good enough any more. People literally hire PARTY PLANNERS for children's birthday parties. When I was little, which was longer ago than I'd like to admit, we went to a party at SKATE RANCH or SKATE TOWN or to someone's home. If the party was at someone's home, it might be a BACKWARDS birthday party or we'd play fun games or we'd dress up and put on make up. My mother would sometimes hire a neighborhood teenager to help. I could invite all of my classmates and friends and we had a great time. Friends brought small gifts to honor the birthday boy or girl. We weren't given the equivalent of a $15-25 gift that is today's standard. Mamas made the cake or if they couldn't cook, they might ask a friend or neighbor. There were no party planners. No tents. No rented tablecloths, tables and chairs. And...... drumroll, please..... THERE WERE NO PARTY FAVORS!!!!! That's right. No party favors.

Today we have raised the bar and you just can't have a birthday party without party favors. Oriental Trading is excited because their plastic junk is selling like crazy!! Parents are desperate for a party favor, so they turn to the catalog and buy a slew of cheap, plastic toys that will break tomorrow and then fill small goodie bags with them. "Thank you for coming to my party" is no longer acceptable. We must lavish gifts on our guests. I am one of the guiltiest of all. I admit it. My name is Mama Henley and I give party favors. However, I try to think of something that is useful and won't break before our guests even make it home. I thought I'd share some ideas with you. What do you like to give for party favors?

-CDs recorded with fun children's music. My friend, B, gave me this idea originally and we used to make CDs together after that. The CDs became family favorites of many of our friends. The idea spread and now others like to make them too. When we had K's ice cream party, I bought some fun new ice cream songs from I Tunes. I try to make the music fit the theme of the party and I always put some fun children's praise songs in there too.

-$2 gift certificate to Baskin Robbins. They have great ice cream!

-free ice cream or french fries from McDonald's. They usually sell packs in the winter and I save them for birthday parties or a cute gift to friends at school

-homemade playdough

-a book from the Scholastic book orders. You help your child's class and can get some bargain books. Each month they have one that is just $1

-in lieu of party favors, make a donation to a charity that helps children and give each child a note detailing how a gift was made to help other children in their honor. My friend, MD, gave to Desire Street Ministry after Hurricane Katrina for her daughter's birthday. Each guest brought home a "helping hand" with a note thanking them for coming to the party and letting them know a gift was given to help children in the 9th ward in their honor.

-a little bag of fun pencils, erasers, or pens is always fun. What child doesn't LOVE school supplies?

10 comments:

Imjustagirl said...

Good ideas!! I will have to look for the McDonalds coupons:)

CRICKET said...

For my son's "cars" inspired birthday this year I did a matchbox car, crayons and paper pad. I have leftover goodie bags that I pull out of my purse when we eat out to entertain the kids.

debra said...

I tried to get out of the 'goody bag' @ my daughter's last b-day but she wouldn't have it. She wanted to give her guests goody bags- i don't remember what I did (tried to block it out, I guess!). I love the McDonald's coupon idea. Thanks for the tips! I'm sure I'll need them again next year.

EntertainingMom said...

Ok, I am older than you and I remember party favors! i remember getting these awesome plastic rings and Tinkerbell sparkly perfume! It was the BEST even though the cake was terrible! A food snob at the age of four!!!

We have given away coupons to ice cream stores... $5 gift cards to B&N, Borders and Target...

When the kids were younger I painted names on plastic beach pails... gave hula hoops or jump ropes... books, puzzles, etc that I could pick up for $5 or less at Marhsall's or TJ Maxx... I don't do chachkes... yes Pens and paper are always a huge hit.

I even once gave some wine... to the Moms!!!!

perfectly paisley said...

This post cracks me up! Quite a few women that come into my store quote $20-25 as the new minimum AND they spend anywhere from $10-15 for the favors. Can you believe that?!!?

Travelbug Mom said...

I have a problem of being OVER generous about EVERYTHING - bday parties are not exempt....but I have to tell you that once child number 4 came along, I really learned how to be thrifty...shop end aisle of target for GREAT markdown gifts. Had a WINTER party theme last year and the "goody bag" was the GiNGERBREAD cookie each girl decorated! Or use a craft made at the party, like a picture frame made at the party as the giveaway! Thanks for the post!!

pink green & southern said...

Lately, I have let the craft at the party do double duty as the favor. I like this so much more than giving the children a lot of little piddly plastic do-dads!

Emily said...

Such cute ideas!

The Hutton Family said...

What? You have a blog too (not only a great cookbook that I am loving), and it's really good and imformative. I can't believe this! You need your own show if you don't already have that! We would get cable at our house.

You have a new regular! Thanks! See you on Sunday.

Erin Butson said...

Hi Henley, These are some great ideas! What a beautiful family you have. I love the CD idea for kids. I love to work with people to create commissions... so fun. Let me know if you are interested!