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  1. #1
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    Sep 2008
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    Birthday Swag Bag for 12-yr-old Girl?

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    Hi, everyone,

    I'm posting this in this forum because there are so many young, and young-at-heart, very cool people here, often with much more experience than I in all sorts of areas.

    I'm planning DD's 12th birthday party (martial arts theme, boys and girls ages 11-12, with younger siblings welcome - they're mostly 8 - 10, 6pm - 9pm, with glow-in-the-dark nunchucks - it's going to be a blast) and I'm wondering what to do about the traditional goodie bag you hand out to guests as they leave. She's turning 12. At what age do kids outgrow the goodie bag? And if it's not yet, I need some suggestions for cheap tchotchke stuff that's cool, not babyish, that the kids will like.

    You know, kids these days...

    I was thinking at $2 gift certificate for iTunes
    Candy, of course

    Any thoughts? We're expecting about 20 kids.

    Oh, and instead of gifts for herself, she's asking her friends to bring donations of dogfood and catfood, towels, and toys, for the local Humane Society. Maybe something animal-related, but not all of the kids invited have pets. Only about half do.

    Thanks, all,

    Roxy

    P.S. She's a cyclist, too, and loves swimming, wants to start tri-training with me when I can start running again, and will be testing for her black belt in October.
    Last edited by channlluv; 03-10-2010 at 09:02 AM.
    Getting in touch with my inner try-athlete.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    2,841
    I've never quite understood the goody bag thing - I guess it wasn't done when I was young, and I don't have kids. But I would think 12 is old enough that you could stop.

    The itunes gift certificates sound cool - maybe a USB stick/thumbdrive... especially online you can get those in like a 1 or 2 gb size fairly cheap and in pretty colors. Little LED keychain flashlights?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    San Diego, CA
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    Oh, I love the USB idea. Yepyepyep, something they all need for school. Great idea.

    Yeah, I don't remember goodie bags from when I was little, either, but it's a tradition here. We haven't been to any older kid birthday parties, though.

    Roxy
    Getting in touch with my inner try-athlete.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    492
    We stopped giving the birthday swag bags to guests after age 10. Being invited to a party with food and entertainment is gift enough!


    Grits

    2010 Trek 5.2 Madone WSD, SI Diva Gel Flow
    2002 Terry Classic, Terry Liberator

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    You might want to give them a choice of ie. LEd keychain (great idea) or something else.

    I just wonder at that age, if kids actually just really appreciate something that's given to them/vs. something that they choose.

    That's it. Better to have fun games, activities and cool stuff to do together instead. They'll remember that the most.

    Presumably you'll hand around a digital camera or daughter has one to take photos of the occasion?
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  6. #6
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    I thought the guests were supposed to bring presents... if they wanted. The party was the fun part. ??? Buy some fun balloons and noise makers.. ???


    ps your daughter sounds really cool!!
    I like Bikes - Mimi
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    3,867
    I'd skip the bags, too. But, if you decided to play games you could give away nominal prizes. To camp it up, you could make the prizes just random things from your house. Spread them around the house ahead of time, so it looks like you just said, uh, "here's your prize" and hand them the new toothbrush you just got from the dentist's office.

    I do like the flashdrive idea, though.

    Karen
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Keep the bags at 12, lose them at 13.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    Well, I do remember goody bags as a kid. We gave them out at our kid's parties, through their Bar Mitzvahs, where we gave candy, which was about the cheapest goody bag that group of kids saw . After that, they didn't have birthday parties. We invited 1-2 good friends and we'd go out to dinner. Then they drove themselves!
    I mean, a lot of adults give gifts to their guests at important parties, so the concept is not foreign to me.
    All of your ideas sound good.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    I love the idea of the iTunes gift cards. My 12 yr old would love that....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Maryland
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    I stopped doing goody bags with my daughter after her 10th birthday, and even that one was less of a goody bag and more just stuff they collected/made during the party (it was a Chinese theme, so they kept the chopsticks they used, the calligraphed name they painted, the chocolate dipped fortune cookies they made, etc.). I think I did that the year before for the "Cars" theme party too (made bumper stickers, painted t-shirts), but I may have had traditional goody bags then as well. I can't remember!

    I've never been a fan of the bags of plastic junk that come home from parties. If you're going to give your guests a favor, make it something they'd really enjoy. The LED keychains, USB drive, and iTunes cards are great for that.

    Sarah

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
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    I never liked the idea of handing out 'goodie' bags to kids leaving a party. Kids receive way too much junk and trinkets nowadays, and it mostly winds up in the landfill. Besides, aren't they going to be eating stuff like pizza, cake and ice cream there?- why take home candy for later consumption as well?

    I think the idea about giving things for the humane society is a wonderful one, and teaches more about the joy of giving than about the joy of getting. What a great example to set!
    Does the humane society have a website with photos of some of the current animals?- if so you could print out some of the pictures, with the animals names on them, so the kids can see 'who' is getting their donated items.
    Take a picture of the group of kids standing holding their donations, and print it out for the kids to take home to show their parents, and give a copy to the humane society when you bring the donations. Also consider bringing a copy to the local newspaper- maybe they will run a little blurb about what the kids did, and it might set off an example that other follow! The birthday girl would be much admired for her inspired idea then.

    Far better than 'goody bags' is to just have some interesting activities for them to enjoy at the party, in my humble opinion. Maybe they could make little catnip mice or pillows, or dog tug toys out of braided fabric (for the animal shelter) at some point during the party, and add them to the animal shelter donation- just one thought.

    Do 'all' 8-12 yr old kids actually have computers, ipods and flashdrives these days? Yikes.
    If there was one kid there who didn't, they might feel bad getting something like a flashdrive or itunes coupon.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Maryland
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    Quote Originally Posted by BleeckerSt_Girl View Post
    Do 'all' 8-12 yr old kids actually have computers, ipods and flashdrives these days? Yikes.
    Age 8 - 10/11, no. Very few actually own an iPod, and normally they're using a family computer (although computer access is pretty much required for school research in 4th and 5th grades around here. You can use the ones at the library, of course, but that involves lots of wait time and limited access.).

    In middle school, however, the electronic devices start popping up everywhere--cell phones, iPods, and laptops are not uncommon starting at age 12. That said, you can use an iTunes card to get a couple of songs without having an iPod. Just listen to the songs on your home computer. And if you ever have access to a computer (library, home, friend's house) then a USB drive will come in handy.

    Sarah

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    There's a lot of cheap non-ipod mp3 players that you can pick up for $20 or so - that do play itunes. I know I gave my niece a barbie mp3 player a few years back that probably cost like $12, and you could buy different clothing packs and accessories to change the clothes on her.

    I loaded it up with her hannah montana and high school musical cds and they made me want to gag.

    however, I was pretty surprised at her 8th (? she's in 2nd grade) birthday party last June - one of the other kids gave her an ipod nano. Or some little square colorful ipod. Most of the kids had cell phones. I know my niece has a cell phone, a netbook, a wii, a digital camera, an ipod now, and an electric scooter.

    She's been on facebook for a year or so and chats with me on instant messenger. She knows how to use my sister's blackberry better than my sister does... and if I watch her texting and calling people on her cell phone, it's just like watching a teenager. But - SHE'S 8.

    Unfortunately, she's the only grandchild, my sister's only kid, and there's multiple aunts and uncles, so we all tend to buy her one nice gift at birthdays or christmas - i can't remember what it all was, but this christmas she ended up with a ridiculous stack of loot (including the electric scooter, 2 zhu zhu pets, a hockey table, a barbie car, a barbie house, a moxie dolll?, a moxie house, and ... ) and sat complaining she hardly got any presents this year. I just get her books for birthday or christmas lately, because it's gotten ridiculous.

    She's a nice kid and the rest of that, but... that is just way too much stuff for an 8 year old.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    It's hard to take a middle road with this stuff. My kids (already in their mid to late 20's) were probably electronically deprived a bit, but very savvy with the computer, despite that. I think it's oK for middle school kids to have phones and access to a computer at home. MP3 players, well, as stated before, there are cheap ones.
    But, I am not sure if 12 year olds (I have many many years experience teaching this age group) would react well to the "giving" idea. Kids this age do like getting involved in community service, but I think you would need to be sure that these girls are "into" this. Otherwise, it might make things difficult for the birthday girl, back at school the next day. Girls this age prey on "differentness" and while it is a not very nice part of middle school, it is something a parent has to be aware of. This comes from a parent who encouraged these things and had one kid who started an environmental club in 5th grade and actually helped the town start a recycling program. But... just a warning about how other kids could perceive these types of activities. It has to come from within and from the home.

 

 

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