Your child’s party is finally drawing to a close, after months of planning and execution, cake decorating and present purchasing, venue booking and clown finding. The kids are almost done with running around, pinning tails on donkeys, playing musical statues (it’s tough to keep still when you’re say, 5, isn’t it?), although like in the ad, they would probably go on for ever, their batteries never running out, unlike you, whose batteries feel like they need complete re-charging by now. But, despite any protests, the kids are tired, and everyone will sleep well tonight. And next on the agenda is parents arriving to collect them, and an orderly queue forming in front of you, kids looking expectant. Ok, so the bit about the queue being orderly is a bit optimistic, let’s call it a mob of kids instead, shall we? What are they after? Party bags of course! And these days they are one of the minefields of party politics/ alongside who to invite, and other tricky issues.
On the whole, party bags are pretty ‘de rigeur’ today, although there’s lots of healthy debate on the subject amongst mums about the need for them. If you do decide to do them, and most people do, they don’t have to be outrageously expensive, or time consuming to put together. Here are some simple hints and tips to help keeps things simple, fair, and on budget.
· Who do you give bags to? It’s good practice to prepare a bag for each child who attends the party, but also polite to prepare one for a child who couldn’t attend but still gives your child a gift. Maybe have a couple of spares, or simpler/smaller bags to give out to siblings who may pop along at the end and stay and play for a bit. Saves that argument for the parent on the way home, encouraging a tired child to share the contents of their bag with an expectant sibling who’s caught sight of the yummy looking birthday cake.
· Do you prepare one for your own child? This is entirely up to you. Some parents might think their own child will be receiving plenty of gifts that day anyway, and one small party bag will be lost amongst the many gifts and cards, but it may be more inclusive to prepare one for them too. If you have kept the costs down, one extra bag may not cost much more in the scale of things. And that way everyone will be happy!
· What should I include in party bags? This can be the tricky one. Some bags contain one larger gift, some lots of little items such as stretchy men, some are chock full of sweets. Really, the decision is yours. And there is so much to choose from in terms of small toys, gifts and fillers to add to your bags. At Party Supplies 4 You we have a fabulous selection for you to choose from – http://www.partysupplies4you.co.uk. But don’t be tempted to go too overboard! Not least from the point of view of your budget, but also most of us have been in the position occasionally where the party bag gift is more impressive than the one you gave. And that’s just embarrassing all round. We need to think of what the purpose of giving a party, or loot bag. It’s a token – a way of saying ‘thank you for coming to my party and for celebrating my birthday with me’.
· Do I tailor the bags to an individual child, or make them generic? From a time point of view (and there’s always plenty to do when planning a party, after all!) choosing generic fillers for your bags is the simplest option. If you have both boys and girls attending the party maybe have boy’s bags and girl’s bags ready to hand out. You could add names if you wish, not least, it helps you keep track of them as you hand them out. It can be a bit of a melee at the end of a party…..
· If your party has a theme it’s a nice idea to follow through with the party bags. Disney Princesses, or Pirates, say. There are a wide selection of themed party bags to choose from to keep things on track budget-wise, and simple for you! http://www.partysupplies4you.co.uk/
· Your bags can be boxes, or they can be plain. A fun (and calm….) activity to give the children as they arrive at your party, and before the main festivities begin, is to give them a plain bag, some pens or crayons and ask them to decorate their own bag to be collected (magically filled with goodies) at the end.
And, once the party bags have been handed out, the balloons distributed and the final tired children collected, it’s time for you to relax, put your feet up, knowing that’s it, for this year, at least.
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