They do at least have the bonus of signalling the end of the party and encouraging your little guests to leave your house!
Here then are some original ideas to save you racking your brains and spending all night on Amazon.
1. One decent gift
There is a current trend away from party bags with several small items towards one larger more useful gift. If you look at the price of party bags plus the extras you’re going to put inside you can probably buy a little gift and just add a ‘Thank you for coming to X’s birthday’ tag (coming soon to the Humble Hostess store!) and a bit of ribbon and give each child a small present to take home.
This could be perhaps socks or gloves to match the theme of your party, this is fairly easy if you have a children’s character as your theme as High Street shops or supermarkets are likely to sell them and parents generally don’t mind an unobtrusive piece of clothing which can always be kept in the car or pre-school bag as a spare!
You might also be able to find small jigsaws or board games which fit your budget.
2. Recycle your party decorations
If you have hosted a party which involved buying more substantial decorations or equipment for example a baking party and you bought 20 mini rolling pins, aprons, chef’s hats or Princess cookie cutters then there’s your party bag gift.
3. Add to the toys they already have
Most children will have a stash of crayons, Play Doh, play food, Lego etc. and no parent will object to a fresh tub of playdough or new colouring pens.
Try Dotty Dough Factory for 3 cute pots gift wrapped
Another addition to the book shelf is usually welcome. Perhaps go for something that ties with your theme or something new or unusual so that the guests aren’t likely to already have it. Maybe a simple child’s cookery book might be welcome along with perhaps a cookie cutter.
5. Activity Kits
Everyone needs a rainy day, long flight or Doctor’s waiting room stash. Sticker books or activity books make great going home gifts. You can also buy or make up your own ‘cookie in a jar’ gift. This is a large jar with all the pre-measured ingredients layered in it and a recipe attached. They can be bought ready done and personalised with ‘Thanks for coming to X’s party’ or you can search online for directions on how to make up the jars, print out the recipe and attach a Thank you label.
Try Zac and Lily ‘Baked with love kit’ in stylish personalised tubs, the pretty bags from Katie Bakes or these great kits with themed cutters from Bake at Home
6. Something that can be used up or left outside
A helium balloon from the party decorations will keep tiny ones amused. A small inflatable is ideal for an animal themed party and (pre-inflation!) fits in party bags easily, it can then be used in the paddling pool or kept in a wendyhouse.
For a summer birthday party you could give a bucket and spade or outdoor play kit e.g plastic digger or a shaped sandcastle toy. These seem to get lost on a pretty frequent basis (or is it just us who constantly leave them at the park sandpit?) so a re-stock and something to entertain them in the garden is a popular idea.
You could stick with the gardening train of thought and, if the children are likely to have gardens, give a plant. This could tie in with your theme, maybe for a pizza making party they could get a tomato plant or seeds, for an afternoon tea party give a strawberry plant and for a dinosaur party they could have a plastic dinosaur who could live in the flower bed and a small fern plant or similar.
If in doubt you could always try try pre-filled bags! Try Little Lu Lubel from £3.75
Any other bright ideas? What’s the best thing your child has received in a party bag? What do you dread them coming home with?