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Party Favor Etiquette- No More Trinkets Please!

by Hilary Basile

Gone are the days when birthday parties were comprised of games and cake. Nowadays, birthday parties are expensive whether you host your child's birthday party at your home or at an off-site location. This leaves many of us wondering if party favor trinkets found in loot bags are a necessary expense in addition to the cost of the food, drinks and entertainment.

Although party favors are not a necessity, many of us feel compelled to provide them to birthday guests as a way to express our gratitude. In reality, party bags are generally filled with cheap choking hazards that kids break upon receiving then forget about within a few minutes.
Following are some alternatives for those looking to break the cycle of offering party bags:
  • Bake cookies and wrap them in colorful cellophane as the party gift.
  • Provide each child with a helium balloon as they leave the party.
  • Have the children create a craft project during the party they can take home such as homemade playdough, painting and planting a flower pot, creating a picture frame, or designing a t-shirt.
  • Have a treasure hunt as part of the birthday activities where children find a small yet useful item to bring home like a flashlight or compass.
  • Burn a CD for each guest with children's party music or songs related to the party theme.
  • Provide one item pertaining to the party theme, such as a ball for a sports theme.
  • Have the birthday child create homemade bookmarks for party guests.
  • Offer a grab bag where the children can select one item at the end of the party such as a ball, bucket of chalk, playdough, book, etc. Collect these items when they are on sale.
  • Recycle trinkets from previous parties attended and hand them out to guests as prizes for party games.
  • One final idea - Ask guests to bring a wrapped book to trade at the end of the party in lieu of a birthday gift. This eliminates a house crammed with birthday gifts and avoids the necessity to write thank you notes. You may receive silent gratitude from parents tired of shopping for endless birthday gifts and contending with the trinkets found in party bags.

Hilary Basile is a writer for at [], you will find valuable tips and resources for handling life's major events. Whether you're planning a wedding, buying your first home, anxiously awaiting the birth of a child, contending with a divorce, searching for a new job, or planning for your retirement, you'll find answers to your questions at

Find birthday party planning tips and resources

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