Party bags and buffets – just say NO

just-say-no to party bags

So we just hosted a 6th birthday party for Zachary and 20 of his school friends. And I refused to do crappy buffet food or plastic party bags. In all honesty I was just fed up. Fed up after 5 years of left over egg sandwhiches and done with scotch eggs and mini rolls. I couldn’t be bothered doing the obligatory ‘healthy bits’. You know the cucumber sticks and baby tomatoes that you always see parents at parties shove on their kids plate in a desperate attempt to look as though their child eats something that’s not yellow. AND if their kids do eat it, they smile smugly and say “oh it’s their favourite”

Yeah… I couldn’t be doing with all that jazz this year. This year I dug my mum boots in a said NO. Instead we did freshly made pizza courtesy of Sainsbury*. And NO I didn’t provide by default** a gluten free, wheat free, lacto free, cheese free, veggie option. I’m a BAD MUM.  Anyhow the kids loved it. Did they care that there wasn’t the option to scoff something else? Some did. Was there a choice on the day. NO. Did they still eat the pizza? Yes. We also served bowls of VANILLA soft scoop ice cream with add your own pound shop sprinkles and sauce. Absolute mess. Again, the kids loved it.

You see I’m all for choice, but I’m also for adults know best. There has to be a balance. If you give children too much choice of course they are going throw a wobbly and be picky. I also know from experience that kids buffets are a thankless task. Not only are they a pain in the arse to prepare, cook, store and serve they also induce blood boiling mummy rage when your perfectly prepped  cheese and pineapple sticks end up on the floor under Freds chair. (sorry Fred but there’s always one)

Pizza and ice-cream worked amazingly well. We were patted on the back by parents and were smug in the knowledge it cost a total of £24 for 20 kids. PARENTING WIN

Which brings me onto the dreaded party bags, which are getting more expensive year on year. I swear by the time they’re 10 years old they will have PARTY SACKS with pandora bracelets, and annual passes to centre parcs in them. Anyhow, they normally cost at least £3 a bag and when you multiply that by 20 kids. Well, you do the math.

It’s not that I don’t like the sentiment of party bags, or appreciate the gift. I just loath the contents of them, and if I do, I’m sure as hell a large majority of other parents do to.  They are up there on my mummy hit list along with happy meal toys. They clog up the toy baskets end up down the back of sofas. Where I swear they breed with other toys and make hybrid plastic monstrosities that sole purpose is to be trodden on as you creep out of the kids rooms at night time. (Sorry for the tangent)

So this year I said NO to party bags. BAD MUM. Don’t care. To help me justify myself, allow me pick apart your average party bag.


  • Sharpeners: For the purpose of this post I have counted the number of sharpeners my child owns. 16. No one needs 16 sharpeners.
  • Bouncy balls: They get bounced, generally hit something they shouldn’t and then get ‘lost’.
  • Pens: Tend to break.
  • Fake gold pirate coins: If they were real I would be a fucking millionaire right now.
  • Haribo: Hyperkid
  • Lollies: Bouncing off the walls kid
  • Bubbles: Ok, I can’t have a go at bubbles. Bubbles rock. (Besides, I generally steal them from my kids and use them on my family photoshoots)
  • Mini note pads: The average 5 year olds handwriting generally fills up one page with one word. An A1 pad would be more suitable.
  • Yo Yo’s: Vintage cool. But seriously ever seen an under 8 actually work one? And swinging it around their heads doesn’t count.
  • Toy cars/Bracelets: Anything under a £1 is inevitably going to break.
  • Cake: There has to be cake, it is a birthday.

No party bags from us. So what they DID get from the party?

Alternative Party ‘Bags’ for kids:

  • FUN AND GAMES during the party
  • FULL UP  tummies from the pizza.
  • The MEMORY of the ice cream decorating madness.
  • CAKE
  • A LOLLY. Simple little red and white striped 2 inch lollies. (With tiny sarcastic tags on them that said ‘KEEP ON BOUNCING’)

So yes, we did ‘gift’ SOMETHING. We  just decided to stop short of spending a small fortune on items that inevitably end up in the bin. We also now have £60 to spend on Zachary for his Birthday.

And, you know what? If I’ve managed to help one other parent feel like they don’t have to keep up with the party bag peacocking or the buffet food displays, then i’ll take that as a PARENTING WIN too.


*we did ask about dietary requirements on the invites though, I’m not that mean.
**thank you Patrick @Sainsbury for preparing, cooking, cutting and boxing our pizza order, and my sister for collecting them mid party.



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