Mommy Wars: Treat Bags of Doom

We haven’t done Mommy Wars in a couple of years I think.  Here’s a topic that has me in a snit.

One thing I said I’d never do as a parent was the birthday party treat bag.  As a kid I remember my mom putting on birthday parties where we played pin the tail on the donkey and other childhood party games.  There was always a winner with a little gift.  There were always kids who walked away with only smiles and bellies full of cake and ice cream.  It wasn’t required that every child needed a gift in order to make them all feel special.  It is the birthday girl’s (or boy’s) special day.  Why shouldn’t they feel special on that day?

When my dad first got sick I remember sitting in the hospital and my aunt was telling me about a birthday party she was putting on for her grandson.  She said something about treat bags.  I asked what treat bags were.  She explained the concept and we both agreed it was stupid.  But as she put it, “it’s what you do at birthday parties now.”  Aw hell no.

Somewhere I wrote a list of things I would and would not do as a parent.  Treat bags was on the hell no list.  I can say that treat bags is one thing I’ve managed to avoid in the nearly 5 years of parenting.  I’ve also avoided inviting the entire school class and party games.  What I’ve learned, those things are great, but what kids really want is to get together and play.  Parties at our house involve good food, good cake, good friends and no treat bags.  Kids still go home with smiles on their faces and bellies full of cake and ice cream.

While I’ll always say no to the treat bag I can’t avoid them coming into my house.  In the past 3 weeks Oleg has been to no less than 4 birthday parties.  All of them complete with treat bags.  I was aware that the parties he attended would be having said bags, but all of a sudden we had a glut of small plastic chotchkies in our house.  Every time I came home from work there would be more crap.  Eventually I figured out that the treat bags were coming from school.

Oleg’s teacher makes sure that all the kids with Summer birthdays have the chance to have a birthday at school.  I like the idea since I have a summer birthday, but I thought that just meant bringing individually wrapped rice krispy treats or other equally unhealthy pre-packaged treat (school won’t let us send home made snacks for the class).  Apparently, this now means sending treat bags for the entire class to school.

Where does the insanity end?  The treat bags of doom pushed me over the edge when Oleg pulled one out of his backpack and looked inside and said, “there’s only 2 things in here.”  Aw hell no.  No child of mine will have expectations of gifts.

Weigh in for me.  What do you think about treat bags.  Why do you or don’t you give them out?  What about bags for school?

5 Comment

  1. lauri says: Reply

    I do a simple treat bag as a thank you for coming to Liv’s party. Candy/stickers/tattoos/Tiaras/chapstick

    confession: since Liv’s party is usually a week or two after Halloween…we use her Halloween loot. It is a way to get rid of extra candy

    but I enjoy it…I do

    we have been at parties were there are no treat bags and that is fine.. It’s the parents choice.

  2. I hate treat bags. I hate everything about them. I hate the stupid little toys. I hate people giving my kid even more sugar (the cake and ice cream were enough thank you). I hate that it teaches my child that she can’t celebrate someone else unless there is something in it for her too. I hate that mommies use them as competition. I hate that kids now expect them and give me the hairy eyeball if I invite them to a party and don’t provide them. When did this start? And all moms that I know hate them too but they all keep doing it! I say stop it. Stop it here and stop it now. (Sorry – I might feel a little too strongly about this.)

  3. Lena says: Reply

    I think treat bags from an actual party is fine, a little nice thank you for coming … sending one home for every kid in the class just because you have a summer birthday seems insane.

    I detest the idea that every birthday has to be celebrated with sweets in school.

  4. Joel says: Reply

    I don’t think we’ve done treat bags, if we did I think it was stickers and/or ratios. I personally could care less, because we allow siblings to tag along and that means more bags… Gag.

    Luckily our school doesn’t do/require treat bags. If there is a birthday in school, a mom may have brought in cupcakes or something. But I think long term, I don’t remember and I don’t need therapy if we did or not.

  5. Lee says: Reply

    I totally agree with Michelle. “Nuff said.

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