Don’t do me any favors

This is my official public appeal:

Please can we do away with party favors?

This week I cleaned out 4 bags of chips, 5 transferrable tattoos, 2 pencils, 6 brightly colored erasers, 3 small containers of bubbles (none of which really work), and a handful of candies-my-kids-don’t-eat. All relics from this summers’ birthday parties, with the obligatory “party favor” bag hastily pressed into our hands on departure.

20130914-190737.jpg

Somewhere in my closet, among the boxes of things serious, sentimental and seriously sentimental, I also have a box of unused wedding favors from our own wedding. Over the years, whenever my husband and I have debriefed our wedding, we laugh about those favors. They cost extra time, extra money, and a whole lot of extra stress. They were the one thing that we felt our wedding day could have done without, and nothing would have been lost. In fact, ten bucks for any of our guests who can even remember what our wedding favors were. (To my bridesmaids who sat for hours bundling them, you only get gold stars if you can recall. But they are very shiny stars.)

Now wedding favors might serve a few purposes: 1) they might serve to thank people for coming (but we do that verbally, and in any case it is an honor to be invited to a wedding!) 2) in years past, they could give the couples’ new contact information (but these days, aren’t we all about gravatars and facebook anyway?) 3) They might form part of the table decorations (Ok. I’ll grant that’s one way of making things look pretty).

Perhaps a couple might WANT to do wedding favors, (and more power to them to make it the wedding of their dreams), but to those couples who feel they HAVE to do wedding favors, and to those Moms who feel they OUGHT to do party favors for kids, let me say this:

I don’t think we should have party favors, and I’m not just saying this because I am deathly afraid of Pinterest.

We go to parties to celebrate life events with people we love. It is a privilege to attend. Witnessing milestones and being counted as witnesses of babies being born, years well lived or new families started are tremendous honors.

A bag of treats is no substitute for teaching our children to look their guests in the eye and say “thank you for coming to my party”. And those bags of treats may not have been very expensive, but it is still wasteful to waste – even if it was only $25. Twenty five bucks can pay for 500 malnourished kids to be dewormed. It can provide a simple handwashing tap in a village and keep life-threatening diseases at bay.

Our twenty five bucks can do so very much good in the world, all while saving parents from another day’s whining for leftover candy.

So would you do me a favor? Please forgive me if we don’t do party favors. And know I’ll love you just the same (perhaps even more), if you forego them too.

23 thoughts on “Don’t do me any favors

  1. We didn’t have favors at Ava’s first birthday party and I don’t plan to have them at any of the others. πŸ™‚ We have great food and good times and fun conversation and I think that’s plenty for one day. πŸ™‚ I’m with you 100% on this.

  2. Oh, heavens, yes! We get bags full of multiple small pieces of junk at every birthday party, and 4 times a year at school parties, too (donated by well-meaning parents, of course). We end up throwing most of it out. This year at my kids parties, I refused to give out goodie bags – but we still did “party favors” – large kickballs for each of my son’s guests, easy reader books for each of my daughter’s. You know, one larger item THAT THEY WILL ACTUALLY USE. I don’t think the giving of favors is itself the problem, it’s the fact that favors have dissolved into “bags full of random junk.”

  3. Candles! πŸ˜‰
    Party favours are a personal bugbear of mine too! Towards the end of Genevieve’s 1st birthday party a friend’s 4 year old came to me and said “I’m ready for my party pack now”. Um, er, oooo, awkward. Have another cake pop.

  4. I think the best party/wedding favor I have ever received was a bag of wildflower seeds. (However, given that I am notorious for having a black thumb, they are still not in the soil. πŸ™‚ )

  5. This will certainly get lots of people thinking!
    Yes, as far as children’s parties are concerned, the “going home” gifts are totally unnecessary.

    I went to an 80th birthday party a year ago, and really liked the tiny little photograph that was attached to the “Thank you for coming” note. This sort of thing does not get thrown away, but goes into my photo album as a memory.

    However, I must be one of the few people who still makes albums!

  6. What I tend to do is give the party pack when they arrive… to the Mom, and that has some snacks for the kids for at the party. Then I don’t have many snacks out on the table for the kids. And the Mom can ration sugar intake during the party. I guess this will have to change as the kids get older though. Otherwise I agree with you, it doesn’t make much sense.

  7. My problem with party packs is that, in a bid to curb my girls’ sugar intake, I land up eating the sweets πŸ™‚ I’m not totally against party packs but I do think they are sometimes completely overdone. I sometimes get the sense that people think that the more stuff you put in, the better the pack, which has not been true in my experience. My daughters have often been enthralled with a fun pen or a funky balloon and ignored the rest of stuff. What we have done that was fun is hold a treasure hunt during the party, with their treasure being their ‘party pack’. The problem I do have with party packs is that they are expected by the kids these days; my girls get upset when they don’t get one, which saddens me because I desire them to want to be excited simply for having been at the party rather than for what they get out of it. I guess it’s the constant encouragement of our children to value the people themselves rather than what they can get from the people.

  8. I read this out loud to Aletheia and her comment is, “We will have to do a piΓ±ata filled with nothing, so when they hit it nothing falls out!”

  9. Haha! I have to say that I love party favors – when they are well-thought out/pretty/useful. I usually eat my daughter’s candies if she gets any (too young for candies in my opinion). However, I did make a shortbread cookie in the shape of “1” on her first birthday. I baked it with love – does that count as candies? Anyways, Sixtine’s second’s birthday is in about 4 weeks and I will have eco-friendly party favors. No candies. No plastic. πŸ™‚

  10. Pingback: The girl who laughs | bronwyn's corner

Comments are closed.