Goody Bag Alternatives: No More Junk, Please!


Photo by AshBayGrammy

Somewhere between the time I was a child and I had a child, goody bags became as de rigueur as cake at children's birthday parties. And what a shame.

Sure, the idea is nice, but these ironically named bags rarely contain anything good at all. Instead, we regularly tote home a bunch of plastic junk that interests my children for about five minutes, then litters my home and makes me crazy for months.

I'd like to see these bags banished all together, but I'm also not really willing to send guests home empty handed and disappointed. Instead, here are a few alternatives to the traditional bag o' junk that I intend to use.


I once attended a party where the mother simply set out a basket of fruit at the end of the party and told each child to choose one piece. There had already been pizza and snacks and cake and ice cream, so what a nice, refreshing gesture it was to take home an orange.

Less is More

I prefer one nicer item that kids may actually keep for awhile (and mom won't be dying to throw out) to a million little things. Dollar stores often have cute stuffed animals that work nicely. And books that go with the party's theme make great parting gifts.

Dual-purposed Decorations

You can get more bang for your buck by having the decorations serve as favors. Send each child home with a Mylar balloon; fill cheap plastic vases with colorful candy as centerpieces; or personalize picture frames to serve as place cards.

Those are just a few ideas, but the possibilities are endless. C'mon moms, let's start thinking outside the bag and put a stop to the glut of junk.

What goody bag alternatives have you seen or used?  

activities, birthday parties, birthdays


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jeann... jeannesager

Instead of buying those plastic gift bags that end up in the landfill, I bought a multi-pack of reusable lunch bags in the party theme (Elmo) and gave them AS the goodie bag.

nonmember avatar april

I HATE GOODIE BAGS! I just did a major spring cleaning of my daughter's bedroom and play room -- I can't believe how much plastic crap was hiding in drawers and closets and baskets. I'm a big fan of the less is more approach -- one nice item in lieu of a bag of crap and candy. Or -- last year as a craft we decorated picture frames, and that was the treat to take home. Down with goodie bags!

catho... catholicmamamia

At the dollar section of Target I picked out a dozen reusable bags. In each bag I put a small container of bubbles and playdough. For under $20 I had a dozen goody bags that both children and moms alike were excited to receive!

nonmember avatar Joyce Gomez

I recenlty used sand buckets with shovels (from the dollar store) as my "goodie bag" and added sidewalk chalk, fruit snacks, and bubbles inside.

nonmember avatar Mary

I love the just-one-favor idea. When our kids were younger we did a puzzle one year, a small photo album the next. Now they just have very small parties at home. Great post -- linked it at

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