I get asked about party packs so often that it is almost funny! So let me toss some ideas out into the blog world… Before I even start, I need to mention a little bias I have in my anti-party pack war, but more on that later.
I know of mothers who don’t have parties for their kids because they are terrified of the post-party party-pack inter-party competition – friendly hello – you don’t have to have party packs!!! I am convinced they were invented by super parents desperate to impress small fry and their parents even more. The rest of us are scrabbling to keep up, let alone maintain.
Diatribe off: Let’s talk about party packs…
You can dish them out at three stages in a party:
- Firstly anytime will do: Trouble with this is that as they get unpacked little Johnnie’s plastic toy just may get muddled with Sally’s and you have mayhem on your hands – and even more mayhem if little Johnnie’s mummy notices this imbalance in the world of getting ahead, this just won’t do!
- Secondly as a mid-party snack: I like this one! Mid-party consumables, kids get to get something, consume their party pack and they are not burdened with stuff to take home.
- Finally, as they are dashing out the door – at the end of the treasure hunt: “Thank You for coming and here you go!” This is my personal favorite – they are off my turf…
Now lets get a bit creative about presentation: It doesn’t have to be yet another plastic packet from the party aisle. Keep in mind kids love tiny things – miniature in fact. All these containers have worked well as party packs for me… envelopes, little tin can, little tiny bag, match box – you can decorate these easily with stickers, even an espresso take away cup. I have used popcorn boxes from the movies before, tiny gift bags, whatever… you name it they can fill it! It helps to have an idea so that you don’t go buying party favors that don’t even fit their container.
This leads to: What on earth to put into the jolly things!
- Really try and stick with the theme it is there to help you. Stickers, notebooks, something crafty, animals. You don’t have to be too inventive, only as inventive as you would like to be.
- Bits of Nonsense: Anything that doesn’t fit into your pinata: streamers, party poppers, glow sticks, paper masks, badges, hair clips.
- Tiny natural treasures: These are my best and kids love them too – also they are practically free. Little acorns, precious stones, tiny pine cones, sea shells and pretty stone beads. I also included old keys they dug out of the garden once, getting rid of junk and terribly happy kids – talk about invincible. Not to mention a sheet of play money to increase the observed value of the presentation.
- Little toys: matchbox cars, finger puppets, whatever.
- Gadgets: magnets, little tools – it is amazing what gems you can find at the hardware store, caribeens, pulleys.
- Stationary and crafty supplies: Finally the king of all party packs. If you can not be relevant head for the stationary aisle – I don’t have to say this again… but as a mother of se7en I can say kids love ALL stationary, nothing is sacred and the more boring and functional it looks the better, some how. Bull clips, paper clips, note books, not to mention post-it-notes, and so on and so on and so on…
All that being said: The reason I absolutely hate party packs is this: I was able to locate and find all these items in the photos, all of them, ALL OF THEM within two seconds of saying: I think I will do a post on party packs – my children did a mad dash and produced the goods with glee.
Keep in mind that my dislike might be because we never have one or two party packs arrive – imagine se7en arriving at one time – imagine what the host must feel packing se7en packs for one family, and no I don’t have to think too hard here. Please don’t ever invite my kids to a party. Imagine se7en times the amount of junk arriving in your home at once.
And that is just lying around the house, what about sweeties that they can’t open with out help while I am driving home, bottles of bubbles that get spilt all over the car, little pieces of party junk that are designed to break and destroy little hearts or worse stuff I just don’t want to have in my house… but is now in the treasure category.
Here is a Home Truth: many times I have given guests a party pack and not my own kids, talk about a double standard… but think about it, every time most families arrive home with one or two annoying party packs we bring home se7en – aaaahhhh!