Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Grown out of party bags? Not just yet, thank you….

Have you ever felt, like me, that towards the end of the party, once the games are played, crisps and cakes have been hoovered up, that the assembled crowd of kids are becoming increasingly focussed on the box in the corner that their x-ray eyes have determined is chock full of party bags? And that there’s one in there with their name on it, or so they hope!

It can’t be just me who has felt the embarrassment (on more than one occasion…) when my child asks the organiser (generally mum of one of their BFFs and a good friend of mine too) precisely when they will be receiving their party bag, and, if it’s not too much trouble, could they be advised of what it contains, just to check that it’s precisely to their taste? Tact and diplomacy are still words that need adding to our family vocabulary. I’m adding the ‘if it’s not too much trouble’ of course, my kids are generally much more direct than that! Polite, hopefully, most of the time, but direct!

Party bags probably seem de rigeur these days, but they don’t need to be a hassle. Parties aren’t the simple affairs of days gone by, a few games in the back garden, pass the parcel wrapped in grubby newspaper and the kids sent home with a balloon and a piece of Victoria Sponge. Unfortunately the current trend for ‘retro’ hasn’t extended as far as kids parties. And party bags are part of that Try to see them as a reward for your guests attending your child’s party (there’s enough pressure on children’s time these days after all), a thank you for coming, and for their gift. They’re a nice gesture, and tie up the end of a party well. As chief organiser you know that when the party bags have been dished it out its time for the kids to go home!

The desire for a party bag can start from any age of three upwards, and will definitely have kicked in by the time kids start school and the ‘whole class’ invite has kicked in. Enthusiasm for party bags won’t then wane for a few years. Long past the age when the term ‘playdate’ has become a taboo phrase. But party bags change. There are no hard and fast rules about party bags, and that’s quite right, they are an optional but nice party of the whole party experience, but do you still give them at say, 11? 15? 18?

My son and his friends, all hitting 11 this year, definitely still love the idea of a party bag, still delve for the piece of somewhat squashed cake, and the gift. Although the gifts have changed, over the years. The trend for a few small gifts inside a bag seems to have faded by the time they reach their pre-teens, and one ‘larger’ gift seems to be the done thing. To date this year he has received books, a small science kit, and a disposable camera – very useful for his forthcoming school trip. His birthday is looming and he and I are thinking of gifts now. Something useful. Maybe a novelty torch or a keyring (he and his friends are beginning to get their own house keys). And that’s a nice thing too, he enjoys helping me choose the gifts these days, it’s nice to have him involved. And so does my soon to be 8 year old daughter. In fact, it could be said she likes to be too involved at times ;-).

And party bags don’t fade away as we move into adulthood, in fact they are increasingly popular, not just at birthday parties, but they are integral, often rude and funny, part of a hen do, make a lovely addition to a baby shower, or just an appreciative ‘thank you’ to friends and family who have made the effort to travel to a reunion or a big ‘)’ birthday party.

So, if you’re stuck for ideas, would like to save yourself time and money and are looking for inspiration, have a theme you would like to link to, please take a look at our great range of party bags, themed party bags and filled party bags at Our site is chock full of fillers, loot bags, everything you need to satisfy the kids lining up in front of you at the end of the party!

This is a guest post

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