Saturday, October 4, 2008

Party Season

K has been back at school for a couple of months now and childrens party season is in full swing! She has two parties today, her own next weekend, and another two the weekend after. Phew!

I really struggle with the whole gift thing at their parties for my girls. Another child in K's class who is having a party has requested "no gifts", (well her parents did anyway), which I think is a great idea, and now I wish I had done the same for K.

I am however still being really careful to stick to my compacting pledge of buying locally made, or local store sold gifts. It isn't too hard because we have a lovely independently owned toy store just down the street and our Farmers Market has lovely hand made gifts as well.

I am having a MAJOR goody bag dilemma for K's party. Every year I feel the same way, resenting buying all those wasteful, plastic trinkets that get thrown away in landfills soon after. Bah humbug! This year I really want to do something different that is not as wasteful, and which goes along with my efforts to be greener.

I loved Midlife Midwife's party favor idea of each child getting to pull a real, homegrown carrot at her son's birthday recently! I also adore the party favors Leaner did for her daughters "tea" birthday party. Each child got to take home a unique, beautiful, salvaged tea cup and saucer. What a great idea! Alas, I don't have any viable carots, and I am afraid K's party is at the dreaded "Chuck E Cheese" which all kids love, and all parents don't. (I am really trying NOT to think of all the paper plate and cup wastage).

I have a vague idea of foregoing actual bags completely and tying a couple of packets of seeds together with some ribbon with a few candies attached??!! I am not sure how this will be received though by my daughter who positively adores the whole goody bag nightmare. I can just see her face now! Maybe I could MAKE some bags somehow, (like I have time), and still do the seeds and candy, and perhaps ONE wasteful trinket? Oh I don't know! Anyone have any ideas? It needs to be reasonably priced, as green as possible, and not too labor intensive. I don't want much do I! :)


Amy said...

Hmmmm....tough one. I like your seed packet idea. I also found this website:

that had other cute green party favors. Check out the comments...they seem to have more suggestions than the actual article.

Mo said...

Thanks Amy. This is great info'! I love the idea of canvas bags but they are way out of budget for me. Still thinking about all of this.

Esther Montgomery said...

I think presents are MEGA IMPORTANT. The idea of a GIFT - something which is undeserved, neither won nor worked for . . . is, I think, an essential element in joyful living.

Party bags . . . have had some experience of making up party bags and have included packets of seeds. They went down fine with the children. (The children from non-gardening families were, perhaps, the most interested.)

Have also put bulbs in.

(Didn't follow up to see how they were used.)

Something else I've done . . . Collect a pile of empty shoeboxes from a shoe-shop. Get the children to decorate a shoe box each as one of the party activities. (Great success!) Get the children to make biscuits and cakes for the party tea . . . put spares in boxes to take home.

Get the children to make puppets from old scraps of material etc. Get them to make up and perform puppet show. (Terrible shambles but they enjoyed it.) Put puppets in decorated shoe box to take home.

Party games . . . no prizes but, at the end of every game, every child gets a sweet to put in shoebox . . .

By the end of the party, each child has a treasure box they have made for themselves, food they have made for themselves, a puppet from scraps . . . some seeds, . . . all sorts of bits and bobs get added in throuhout the event . . . and, at the end, they put the lids on and off they go.

(My biggest moral qualm about this, each time, has been whether or not to use PVA glue.)

And here is something which you probably won't agree with (almost definitely) but . . . while it is important not to be wasteful etc. one can also become overly puritanical so, as a kind of counteractive - (my heart is in my mouth as I suggest this, but they do enjoy it) um . . . pick up a packet of cornflakes in the kitchen and (to your surprise!) the bottom falls open and the cornflakes scatter over the floor. Once you have got over your consternation (!) get the children to stamp on them. It is so very far out of the bounds of what is usually acceptable, they take a moment to twig that, on this occasion, it is ok to do it. They love it and it can be liberating.

But what I really came for . . . was to say there's a growing network of people working towards zero waste, keeping diaries of their progress.

This is one of the blogs I have come across


Mo said...

Thanks Esther,

I am a smiling at the thought of you doing all of these things with your children and their lucky friends! The cornflake idea is hilarious also.

Nice thought about gifts as well. The only reservation I have is that these parties from school are usually very big and my kids get so very much, too much to really appreciate any of it. Of course we give gifts to our girls and they get them from family too. I like your sentiments on this very much though. :):)

Amy said...

Oh, I just had another idea....what about books? Something that won't get discarded into a waste basket a few days later and (even better) is educational.

Target sometimes has books in their dollar area. I've even seen phonics and handwriting workbooks in our area. : )

Esther Montgomery said...

Amy . . . children don't seem to mind second hand books but wouldn't they be a bit peeved if they were given school-ish type things at a party?

And Mo . . . I don't plan to bombard you with green sites and blogs but I've just found this one


Mo said...

Hi dear Esther,

I don't mind you sending me these things at all, in fact I LOVE it. It brings me to things I would not normally come across. Please don't stop!!

Also, my daughter is turning 5 this birthday and is still at that age where she loves anything "school". She seems to have an unending thirst for learning numbers and letters. I hope it lasts, though I have a feeling once she is in school properly she wont be quite as enthusiastic! :)

bodaat said...

I like your seed idea. How about this for the going-away bags...get really small pots (I'm not sure how much these run but I'm talking about the ones that are 3 inches wide). Stick some pebbles in there, then soil and then the seeds in a small envelope or something. Tie each small pot with lots of ribbon (you can tie in a lollipop or something) and voila...your goodie "bags" are done! I can help. :)

bodaat said...

and ps - if you go with the cereal idea, please please please take pics and post 'em.