Holiday Party Treat Bags :: Trash or Treasures?

Let’s talk treat bags and party favors…

After the long Christmas break, I pulled all of the kids’ backpacks out of the closet to prepare them for back to school. I wondered why my 1st and 3rd graders’ backpacks felt so bulky. I unzipped them and out poured a mess of candy, notepads, silly putty, a Christmas mug, a puzzle, homemade cookies, etc… all the stuff they had received at their school Christmas parties, 18 DAYS beforehand! Which means they never even looked, touched, or ate any of the goodies they received. After this discovery, I dared to mention it on Facebook, at the risk of sounding like a Scrooge:

“This is an example of why kids don’t need to pass out goodies to their friends on holidays. There. I said it. Kids have too much already these days!”

I had 33 mothers that commented with praise hands, “Amen!, and Preach it girl!” I can bet you those same mothers, giving me a fist bump, sent with their child, 15-25 goodies to hand out to their friends, because that is what we are supposed to do! 

Right here, guilty as charged!

In fact, I’m the one who went to the Big Easy and spent $50 on New Orleans original Roman taffy sticks to bring home for my kids to give to their classroom friends at their holiday party. I wonder how many of the kids actually ate that taffy stick and how many just threw it away, just as I tend to throw away most of the candy, and notepads, holiday pencils and erasers that sit unwanted in a pile for days. Have you ever tried to sharpen one of those holiday pencils? Sharpen, break, sharpen, break … in the trash. The cute little shaped holiday erasers? Erase, smudge, erase harder, smudge more, tears because homework is messed up … in the trash.

I don’t write this to shame the parents that buy these. I AM the parent that buys these! Moreover, I’m the Pinterest mom that has spent way too much time making 80 baggies of “Ghost Poop” or scoured every CVS and store candy aisle looking for JUST 8 MORE packs of Peeps marshmallows in a certain color so that I could complete my dream of thanking their friends for being their “Peeps!” And what about when they come home with 4 backpacks filled with Halloween candy, ON Halloween day! {Cringe} It just all seems so superfluous.

The guilt …

The guilt I feel throwing this stuff away (usually behind my child’s back because that’s what mothers do best!) *As a side note, I have zip locked the trinkets and brought to Goodwill or saved for use at a later date. I have also given to teacher friends to put in their treasure chest and I always offer the candy to any neighborhood kid that walks in my door, ‘Here, want some candy? Great! Now get out.’ Kidding, kidding.* But the STUFF … stuff that so many busy moms took their time, effort and money, to buy, bag and label, when the reality is our kids have enough! Sometimes it feels wasteful. Perhaps holiday parties should just be enjoyed as a special moment to spend with their friends, eating a special snack, playing a classroom game or making a special craft. They all love those special days. Would the kids be fine leaving the classroom at the end of the day, after a fun filled party, empty handed? My bet is yes, they certainly would.

Now Valentine’s Day is coming up…

Back in the day (that was the 80’s for me), I can remember going to the grocery store with my mom and looking at all the choices of valentine cards that were all perforated together in their little package and making that hard decision of what it would be this year! Would it be Snoopy or Star Wars, Wonder Woman or Garfield? Who would I give the one to that said ” You’re so RAD!” There was thought put into each one and the message that I wanted to send to each friend. These days, I take my kids to the Valentine’s aisle, and we pick out a box of 20 count Fun Dip. In return, they receive back more Fun Dip, toys, candy, and Moms’ Pinterest creations, not even noticing what item came from whom. The traditional valentine is lost …

Lastly, party favors…

Party favors are the same as class party treat bags. The effort is certainly appreciated, don’t get me wrong. But why do we feel the need to give every kid a souvenir to take home after we’ve spent tons of money entertaining them for two hours? Most people don’t even have the courtesy to RSVP (RSVP people!), so will all 20 of the kids I invited show up, plus 10 additional siblings (y’all know who you are)? Do I buy 30 party favors “just in case” even though I only heard back from 7 people? Sure, I do! Covering your bases is important! If your kids are like mine, they get in the car after the party and look through their little party favor bags, delighted for the moment, then jump out of the car when we get home, leaving the trinkets dropped on the car floor. Forgotten. Items that time and money were spent on, but just not necessary.

Perhaps one day, there will be a solidarity among parents, that enough is enough. Your presence is your present. Meanwhile, this mother of 4 will keep on, keeping up with the Joneses, as they say!

*Disclaimer: I am not a party pooper. Pinterest is my jive and I have been the creme de la creme of room moms in the past and love a good holiday party!

Betsy Boudreaux
Betsy is a stay at home (but never at home) mom, to her four children, Maggie, Annie, Jack Henry, and Bear. She grew up in Hammond, La., but moved to Lafayette at the age of 18 to attend USL (now ULL!) After graduating with a degree in Interior Design, she married her high school sweetheart, Matt, and they moved to Shreveport, La., when he got accepted into LSU Medical School. During their 10 years in Shreveport, they had four children while Matt completed Medical School, Surgery Residency and a fellowship in Colorectal Surgery. As Matt worked long hours and Betsy was often raising the children by herself, she learned to "expect the unexpected", "go with the flow" and praise the Lord that they were all alive at the end of the day! After their 10 years there, they packed the family up and moved back to Lafayette, where they always knew they wanted to raise their family. They've been back in the area since 2011 and their lives are full of chaos, homework, studying for tests, after school sports, traveling for gymnastics competitions, and children that are growing up way to fast! Betsy spends many hours volunteering at the children's school, serving on the PTO board and driving the Boudreaux Bus! She truly enjoys every minute of it!


  1. I just don’t agree. When my kids come home from school with treats, I put them in the Treat drawer in my kitchen and I usually let them have one a day. Halloween can be a lot and I don’t throw away some of their candy. Once we get past thanksgiving, the leftover candy gets throw away. Party favors my kids treasure. I usually try to put in mine things I know my kids would enjoy. But they certainly don’t leave their Treat bag on the floor of the car. Valentines have yet to come but my daughter helped pick out the Treat to hand out and is excited. And when she gets home with her treats she will be happy as well and they will go in the now empty treat drawer.

    • I know it’s all in fun and the kids really do love it. I’m a crafty mom that has probably just worn herself out from years of sometimes making 80 plus treats! I took my kids to get their valentines yesterday and they are also excited about what they picked out. I appreciate your feedback! I like your system. I wish I had an empty drawer that I could put the stuff in!

  2. I honestly can’t stand the treat bags, my toddler knows there’s a bag of chocolate somewhere and will torment us until it’s been eaten. Why I’m already dealing with this with a 2 year old I’ll never know.

  3. I love this Betsy?. I don’t appreciate extra “stuff” or unnecessary waste. Mostly I cringe knowing most of this stuff ends up in the garbage at some point.

  4. Betsy,
    I don’t know you, but we should meet for coffee (read vodka). I think we may have been separated at birth. Preach on, Sister!

  5. Amen! Kids care WAY more about experiences than the junk. I agree with Alison. It makes me cringe, too, knowing it was made, shipped, bought, handed out, and will just end up in a landfill shortly after. 🙁 Among the junky candy and little toys, my kids’ very favorite Valentine “treat” this year was homemade soup from one of their teachers!


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