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Best Birthday Party Favors: Less Is More

By Melissa Summers

I have a few allergies. I am allergic to not having the last word and to paying full price for anything. I am also allergic to Polly Pocket’s shoes, or more specifically, tiny pieces of clutter which never seem to have a place. If you open my vacuum bag right now, you’ll find at least 32 tiny shoes I’ve ‘accidentally’ sucked up. Of course, I don’t recommend you open my vacuum bag because you’ll also find an entire cat worth of cat hair.

As I mentioned the other day, all the children at my son’s school were born in March. Not every child of course, but almost half the class has a birthday this month. This means a few things: the summer of 2000 was really fertile in Michigan, many parties, a lot of sugar and lots of tiny little things sent home in goodie bags to be sucked up into my vacuum.

I know that’s not what the birthday boy’s parents had in mind when they plunked down $40 to give everyone something to take home from the party. I wrote about this topic on another site before and want to re-share those ideas and add a few more good ones I’ve come across while browsing.
When creating a take-away from a birthday party let’s all make a point to remember this little motto I made up: “Less Is More And Consumable Is Even Better”.

Consumable = Nothing to find a place for or to be sucked up in my vacuum, except perhaps crumbs.
When talking about this topic before, readers sent in a lot of great ideas I think are worth sharing again.


crayons.jpgColoring Pages, a small box of crayons and a small container of homemade play dough. You can print some nice coloring pages out from here (maybe you’re having a Netherlands themed party. You’re all set!) and find the recipe for scented play dough here. For the crayons, you could make some multicolored crayons or buy some adorable emoji ones here.

bubblecustom.jpgUse foil balloons weighted by a bottle of bubbles for decorations, at the end of the party send each child home with one. My kids always eyed the mylar balloons at the grocery store check out with regret and want because I would never buy them one. Ever. If you’re tricky (and/or married to someone who is tricky) you can even customize your bubbles.

fireengines.jpgI love these Dover Little activity books. I stock up on them  when we’re going on a long car trip or for restaurants. Kids love stickers and these little books come in a lot of themes you can coordinate to your child’s interests. Like dinosaurs, trains, firefighters or dogs.

monsterfingerpuppets.jpgThese finger puppets are  so cute!  I’m thinking if you used them as placemarkers on your birthday table or put them on sticks as a centerpiece, they’d be decorations *and* your take away. It’s one small thing, not several small things so I don’t think this would make my allergy act up.

How about just a cookie? A simple sugar cookie in the shape of the birthday child’s choice. My son loves taking cookies to school as a treat in the shapelephantcookies.jpge of his newly acquired age. We’ll be taking 6’s in the next few weeks which is probably a really bad omen….666….

I made red elephant sugar cookies with the number 4 in yellow icing as favors a couple of years ago. You’re saying, “No, Melissa I can’t make cookies!” I’m saying you can and they’ll look as imperfect as mine and the kids will love them anyway! Here is a great recipe I’ve started using for all my sugar cookies. When it comes to decorating, you’re not going to want to go crazy here. Use royal icing in a pastry bag, a little thicker consistency to outline your cookie and a thinner consistency to fill in the design.

numbercookies.jpgOkay, okay, you don’t want to make cookies. I searched around for affordable decorated sugar cookies and first came across Rolling Pin Production‘s site and then spent a couple of hours browsing. These are beautiful cookies but like I said, I’m allergic to clutter and I also don’t like paying a lot for most anything, especially for a bunch of 5 year olds. But look at these beautiful cookies! A portrait of the birthday kid, these numbers (which look nothing like my amateur version) and all these versions for kids. These are beautiful cookies but most of them are $5-$8 a piece and I love birthdays and all but I’m allergic to paying that much for cookies as well.

cakecookie.jpgVeronica’s treats offers some lovely cookies for around $3. They have a lot of the same types of cookies as Rolling Pin like, numbers, birthday cakes or sports balls. They’re not as intricate as the others but remember, these are for kids who are pretty much happy with a big pile of sugar. I think these are a great option.

Tell me your best party favor ideas. Yes, I know you don’t have to have anything to take home from the party. I just enjoy doing it.


About the Author

Melissa Summers

Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.


Melissa Summers was a regular contributor writing Melissa’s Buzz Off.

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