Treat Yourself. Forget the treat bags!

Dear Moms,

For the love of all that is right and good about motherhood, can we please call a truce? I am raising my white flag. Watch as I wave it wildly.

Can we please agree, as a collective group of mothers who love our children but also love our sanity, to abolish the guilt laden obligation to make treat bags?


To put it simply, let’s bag the bags, ladies. Please.

I’m sure Pinterest could tell us their precise origin and give detailed info on when these parting gifts took on a life of their own. I remember my mother handing out eraser heads with funny faces and wiggly arms at my second grade party. Aside from that, I don’t remember treat bags.

Much less the Oscar party worthy swag bags that seem to reign in the elementary school circle these days.

I. Cannot. Keep. Up.

It is challenge enough for me to actually plan a party. It is something else altogether for me to get invitations out to guests. Ok, ok (in the spirit of transparency) to send an e-vite.

Add to this the cake making/buying, decorating of home or renting of venue, etc, etc. It takes a lot to plan a party these days for a six year old who will inevitably forget about it within 48 hours.

Yet I always find myself panicking in the final hours leading up to a party. Did I put the party bags together? Do they have enough in them? Is anything a choking hazard for younger siblings of the guests? How much cheap junk is enough to fill up a paper sack? How much will the other moms hate me for including a super bouncy ball? Oh, forget it, I’m just putting the pre-purchased Christmas gifts for my own children into these sacks so everyone will be happy. Fingers crossed that second grade boys like Judy Moody books and mini My Little Pony figures.

I hadn’t given much thought to these little nightmares in quite a while. This shifted when a friend put out an appeal for unique ideas for her son’s party bags. One friend responded that she should forego the treat bags as the party should be treat enough. She challenged my friend to be a trendsetter and nix the treat bags.


Then my friend said the words that have led to every treat bag purchase since the inception of treat bags.

“Love the idea but feel like EVERY party my boys are invited to has favors.”

Therein lies the rub. Every other party has favors. The chicken or the egg. Which came first? A mom actually interested in doing party favors or the mom who felt like she HAD to do bags because another mom initiated it?

Surely among a gender that now has the right to vote, own property and work outside the home we can choose to STOP THE TREAT BAGS!

If you take great pleasure and satisfaction in making treat bags, please continue. By all means create those little bags to your heart’s desire. My children have been on the receiving end of some really neat bags. I admire these moms who artfully pull off a cool party AND have fun treat bags. In eight years and a combined 20 birthday parties for my children, I think I’ve done it once.


But if you’re like me and the thought of making a favor bag just serves as a layer of angst in an event that should be pretty fun, FORGET THEM! If your mom guilt is still too heavy, make a special donation to your charity of choice in honor of your birthday boy/girl. Surely no other mother could begrudge you for giving $30 to a soup kitchen instead of giving her child $3 worth of plastic junk that will just end up embedded in her foot one night.

I don’t own a white flag. But if you attend an upcoming party in our home, you could very well see a white paper napkin hanging and waving gently from the ceiling. Let it serve as a symbol.

Because I surrender.



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10 thoughts on “Treat Yourself. Forget the treat bags!

  1. I love it!! I don’t like giving treat bags either…the treat bags we receive usually end up being thrown away so I feel it is a waste of money…and too much to think about – I mean, 5 birthday parties a year (sometimes more for family) is enough, right?! 🙂 love your posts!

    • Thank you!! So glad I’m not alone:) If I thought they were REALLY appreciated, I’d be more inclined. But I’m with you…most of it ends up in the trash. Or in the toilet or the back of a closet or wherever else Thad drops it?. Miss seeing you!!!

  2. You busy mothers should be commended for even having annual parties for your kids!! Remember the year your sister’s birthday treat bags had awful Halloween stuff
    inside? That was the same year she had a birthday party in October because I
    never got around to it in June when her actual birthday occurs. At least you have the parties on time.

  3. Amen sister! They’re a waste of time and energy! Since when do we have to give a gift when it’s OUR kid we’re supposed to be celebrating!

  4. I’m so happy to see you are setting a new precedent for children’s parties with no gift bags!! Hopefully, through your humor, you can start a new trend to stop the madness to try and ‘outdo’ each other. I’ve always wondered how children of poorer families must feel knowing their parties could never compare to all of the opulence. Forgive my soap box — I’m old.

    • You’re not old and you’re spot on:). We are fortunate to live in a wonderful community but I often wonder if my kids understand that the majority of the world lives a vastly different existence. If a parent enjoys doing these things, they should go for it! But I think many of us (me!) just feel a sense of obligation since everyone else is doing it!

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