Back in my day — you know, before electricity and Google+ — kids’ birthday parties were much simpler. We just played a little Pin the Tail on the Donkey, stuffed our faces with cake, and then rode our horse-drawn buggies home. End of party. And we LOVED it.
These days, expectations are higher; we must cap off the four-ring birthday circus (three rings aren’t enough) with a goody bag for all the children. And trust me, there’s a lot riding on the goody bag. The success of the party practically hinges on its contents.
But how can you ensure that you send kids home with a party favor that will make everyone happy? By steering clear of these least-liked items:
1. An eardrum-piercing instrument, such as a large whistle that guarantees parents will have to pop aspirin for the next week (or until the offending instrument is “lost”).
2. Something useful, like a toothbrush and floss, unless you want to watch the kids’ smiles turn upside down! Because nothing says “fun” like a reminder of good hygiene.
3. A memory of the party that lasts forever: non-washable markers. Every time the parents see that blue blob stain on their car seats and grumble, the whole family will think of your kid’s party.
4. A parting gift that isn’t a bag filled with junk. You should have seen the look on my daughter’s face when I dared to hand out — GASP! — puzzles instead of goody bags at her brother’s third birthday party. You would have thought I had just announced I was canceling Christmas, Easter and Halloween.
5. Anything with glitter. Might as well include a note to parents that reads, “Yes, I am trying to make your lives miserable.”
On the bright side, parents can stuff the whistle with the floss and glitter to make it STOP ALREADY — which surely will provide them with at least a little satisfaction.