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Putting together a birthday party goody bag

birthday party
PHOTOS.COM
BIRTHDAY PARTIES: Gone are the days when you just wrapped a piece of cake in a napkin and sent your little guests on their way.

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When was it that party bags became the de rigueur way to conclude a birthday celebration? I attended a lot of birthday parties in my childhood, but I cannot remember ever receiving a party bag. A piece of birthday cake wrapped in a serviette maybe, or a novelty balloon occasionally, but never a bag full of lollies and treats. And believe me, it's something that I would definitely have remembered. So presumably it was sometime between 1985 (around the time of my last big party as a kid) and 2005 (around the time I had to actively coach my daughter not to ask the hosts where the party bags were) that they became an essential item.


Given that they are a standard now, the challenge is to find a way to create a memorable party bag that the kids will love - without spending a fortune! Here are some tips:

- Spend time. For kids, it really is about the presentation, so spend some time making your party bags look as attractive as possible. Noodle boxes instead of bags, cellophane pouches tied up with a big shiny ribbon, or a fully colour co-ordinated bag are all some options.

- Shop in advance. Supermarkets, discount stores and craft shops all have fantastic bargain deals from time to time, so the earlier you start planning, the easier it can be to find great party-bag fillers at affordable prices.
  
- Shop savvy. While kids may all be used to a regular supply of party bags throughout the year, it's great if you can still surprise them with something unexpected! So head to the local fetes and markets to find something a bit different. 

- Be age-appropriate. You can often end up with a wide range of age groups at a party, so generic one-size-fits-all party bags can be impractical. While there are plenty of party-bag fillers (lollies, balloons and bubble mix, for example) that are appropriate for any age, it's great if you can match one of the items to the age or personality of the recipient. After all, most kids would rather have one "I love that" treat compared to several "yawn - I've seen those before" items!

What do you put in your childs' goody bags? Do you bother?

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