I’m going to make a shock confession, one that will probably get me in trouble. I’ve never understood the point of party bags. I mean seriously, what do they add to the human experience?
No, let me be completely honest. I cannot stand the things. The contents of most party bags is, generally speaking, a danger to the environment not to mention the recipient’s health. Cheap single, use plastic toys and massive quantities of sweets seem to be the order of the day.
Worse still are gendered party bags. You know they kind of thing. Girls get a cheap nail varnish set, a miniature ‘make your own fairy wings’ kit and a pack of Little Mix stickers while boys get a set of plastic nun-chucks, a ‘build your own cardboard sniper rifle’ and sign up papers to join the Royal Navy.
Just to contradict myself, yes, when we have hosted parties (you know, in the days before COVID-19), the kids’ friends very often left with a party bag. Each time we threw a party for our offspring Mrs Adams and I had a discussion about whether we would bother with party bags or not.
There wasn’t complete agreement. I could have been persuaded not to hand them out but each time we concluded we had to. It seems to be the social norm and I think we were a bit concerned that, somewhere in the world, our children would be the subject of a vicious Facebook thread if our kids’ party guests went home without a party bag.
When we have put party bags together, however, we’ve avoided plastic and sweets as much as possible and included arts and crafts items. Each to their own, but following an afternoon of party food and cake, sweets just seem inappropriate.
That said, Helen, our eldest who is 11, has reached an age where it’s no longer expected. It’s a slightly different matter with Izzy as she’s that bit younger (although thanks to COVID-19 we have no idea when we’ll next be able to hold a birthday party for either of our kids)
Getting back to the matter at hand, it’s no secret that I think the world has gone sugar crazy. I worry a great deal that at every step and turn, someone is attempting to give my kids sweets. Be it after a haircut, after paying the bill in a café or when a kid at school has a birthday, a bag of sweets or a lollipop seems to be the order of the day.
I’m afraid party bags have to be one of the biggest offenders here. They often include huge quantities of sweets and it seems a bit wrong to me. If a kid has already eaten party food and got a slice of cake to take home, why give them a party bag rammed full of confectionary?
I recall one occasion when Helen went to a party and returned home with an absolutely ginormous party bag that contained nothing but sweets. That bag must have weighed about half a kilo (no, I’m not exaggerating).
When I saw the thing, I had to bite my lip. The hosts were neighbours and I’d have caused offence if I’d told the parents my true feelings. Nonetheless, the size of that bag was ridiculous.
Ironically, Helen didn’t like the sweets. Realising this obscenely large party bag and its unwanted contents were going to sit around forever, I chucked them in the recycling and I didn’t feel the slightest guilt for doing so.
Regardless of what you put in the bags, they are also a major expense. You’ve only got to include three or four small items and you easily hit £5 a head. That’s not a small cost at all.
Perhaps I’m missing something, but I just don’t understand what party bags add to the occasion? Am I missing something, or do you agree they are pointless? Who knows, maybe the cessation of kids’ parties because of the Coronavirus pandemic will spell the end of party bags. I, for one, wouldn’t be sad to see them consigned to history.
Whatever your thoughts, wherever you stand on this incredibly contentious and controversial issue, please do leave a comment below. I’d love to know where you stand. Who knows, maybe I can be persuaded to love the party bag?