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Share YOUR Thoughts About Birthday Party Favors!

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Party Favors

Check out this email from reader Poppy –

My daughter’s first birthday is coming up and we are planning a little party in our back yard. I am breaking my head thinking of what the return gift should be that I give to everyone? Should I only limit return gifts to families with kids or should I give it to everyone? Also what exactly should I give in return? I don’t want to break the bank. Please let me know if you or your wonderful readers have any ideas.

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Comments 149

  1. Laura

    For my sons 1st birthday, I did a candy bar. Different jars filled with all types of candy, like a candy store and had little candy buckets that each guest could fill with whatever they’d like. It was a hit!

  2. Catherine,

    I mail photos from the event after the party.

  3. Lauren

    You can find great items for really cheap to use as favors, especially when you follow this site. I refuse to give cheap plastic toys and candies out as favors. Instead I plan my theme in advance and keep my eyes peeled for discounted items that match my theme. A great feeling is seeing a guest use something you gave as a favor months down the line. One time we had a nerf battle party. Walmart happened to have nerf shirts with matching mini nerf guns on clearance for $2 or $3 dollars. Score! 2 favors for the price of one. I got a big kick out of seeing kids in their shirts on Facebook months later. Also, I like to collect favors using shopyourway surprise points! I’ve given out Disney toddler dolls and motorized construction trucks for practically nothing! You just have to be diligent and like that kind of thing.

  4. Alex

    Congrats on your daughters 1st bday! Much prayers for good weather. I’ve hosted numerous parties for both my daughter over her 17+ yrs. of life as well as my nieces and nephews. In lieu of party favors consider purchasing one nice item for each child. Search the clearance ops at big box stores and toys r us for ex. All which u can do online. Recently I scored 90% off toys for various ages. I donated half to a local organization and the rest I used for kids gifts at my moms 70th party! I did a candy buffet for all decorated with colors of the party and used my SAMs club new membership (posted on hip to save ) gift card to buy candy and grab snacks with goodie bags. I got scoops at party city and $1 bowls to display. For prizes a great suggestion is barbies (suntan Barbie sells for under $5 at all stores & boys I have done matchbox gift sets (also $5 n under) this weekend there will be numerous sales and coupons. To maximize your savings! Use deco mesh in your party theme color (sold @ dollar tree stores) or pink for girls / blue for boys and make a bow around your gift. Include a typed card on card stock as a thank you from your daughter. There are numerous rhythms for a special thx that you can locate by Google. Stay away from piñata s. Often their pricy to fill and almost always someone gets hurt! Moreso a lot of the “toys” in those filler bags are cheap and end up in the garbage. Usually a return gift should be focused on 10 and under (that’s why a candy station is a great option for older children) but if you have 1-4 older kids (up to 12) maybe pic up a bracelet making kit or tattoo glitter kid for girls & Pokemon or sports cards for boys (sold at $ trees of craft shops and even your local Walgreens!) check your Walgreens as well for toys. Often name brand items are buy 2 get 1 free ! (At many stores they have a clearance isle and I scored items such as this for under $1 each!) go online and do a clearance toys check first Beckys u head out. I guarantee you will locate great finds! My only real tip for prizes is attempt to make them similar if not the same for kids under 5-6. I scored my little pony sets for girls at Walgreens for $2/3. N grabbed several of those! It was a huge hit as are the barbies and matchbox car sets. The matchbox sets come w/ at least 2-3 cars and a small track. Their easy to find at Walgreens and toys r us on clearance. The candy bar that I recently did had 5 items (nothing w/ nuts) I did some chocolate n the rest starburst a n skittles. I used thin- small shoe boxes as risers under $1 plastic tbl cloths and decorated the tbl w/ loose gems -$1 store boa etc. it was a massive kit! I had a framed photo of the bday girl in the center with a note that read “because you were so kind and sweet – please take home some yummy treats!” For under $40 it was enough for kids both big and small! N the adults were so jazzed about it too! Above all. Make it easy on your self. You want to enjoy your daughters 1st party too. If you have all of this done ahead of time – I can assure you it will run smoothly. Lastly. Give your prizes to the kids after you open your daughters gifts. Asking the little ones to help you and you will reward them too right after wards. It keeps kids busy at a home party if they get their prize (that does not contain a lot of parts like barbies and match box sets) while adults enjoy the rest of the party. Keep zip lock (large ones on hand w/ a sharpe to label the little kids opened prizes if that’s the case and ask another parent to help. Moms always want to assist other mothers!). For those readers that have parties for pre teen girls fast approaching. I did the best 12 yr old party ever. N it was insanely inexpensive ( work before but not so much during!) ideal for indoor / winter parties. To this day the kids still talk about how my “cake off” was the best party ever ! And their now graduating from high school! Good luck. I’m sure the day will be perfect! Alex 🙂

  5. erika

    I think party favors are silly. My kids are getting to see friends and have a fun time, why should they get a gift too? It isn’t their birthday. And conversely. if I throw a party, it seems silly to do all I do and then also be required to buy a gift for the attendees. This makes no sense to me. I have four kids, 18 to 4 years old.

    • Sarah

      I completely agree I can barely afford to throw my child a party and I already feed them and their kids I think it’s so silly to get the other kids a gift and when I go to parties I normally don’t take theirs unless they just basically make me

  6. Kumar

    Congratulations to your family and advance birhtday wishes to your daugther.
    Kids love Icecream, how about a gift card from some Frozen Yogurt or Ice cream places. Keep the gift only to Kids with a thank you note to their families. My 2 cents….

    • Poppy

      Thanks 🙂

  7. Marian

    These 90 second cake kits are a creative and unique idea

    • emulvey2001

      Marian – don’t you OWN!?!? Kind of an interesting suggestion given your position…

  8. Marla M

    I hate goodie bags! I appreciate party favors that have a purpose such as a water bottle or baseball cap or a craft they make, rather than a bag filled with cheap loot that collects in my kids bedrooms that end up in the trash!

  9. Alex

    I agree on cheapie party favors. I can see giving a gesture gift when their little and truthfully (usable / workable items ) a craft- a Barbie – matchbox – water bottle – even hair ties/ headbands in party Theme) are generally very affordable. Usually u can provide a return thx u gift (when their very young for a prize) for $1 and often less per person. As I said earlier – I got barbules and matchbox sets at Walgreens for $1/$2 per child! U can give 1 nice Item and attach a thx u card – how – give n done. 1st bday like other milestone bdays are special. Truth is – this mom amongst many others – likely planned for it. Besides we are all on this site to save $$$$ n collect ideas – I’m
    Sure she will not need to pay full price regardless of what she gives. Good luck. I hope u post bacj n let us all know what u decided on! N to the lady that commented bout my ” cake off party… “. We mimicked exactly the former tv show where groups competed to make a special cake to win a prize … At that time my daughter was super into the kardashians – each team of girls had to assemble a cake using (3 diff sizes my hubby n I baked in advance) and the same supplies for each team. (Incl. a brunette Barbie cake head ) pre rolled fondant -etc. we had 3 groups of 5 girls n we did the sit outs and all! I can’t not tell u how good all of them
    did ! Each cake seriously looked pro n all did different rooms in the kardashian house – all got a bottle of pink perfume from vs (after cmas clearance for $3 each) n the winning team got a sports bottles with hair tyes ! Still the best bday I’ve hosted! (& a lot of trips to Michaels n Joans with coupons for supplies) super cool party. Just a suggestion (not the kardashian part!) lol. Happy memorial wkend. To all

  10. laureen

    Wow. just came back to this post from when it was 10 comments. I was going to say cheap toys in goodie bags are fine then i rememebered how much i hate when my 5yr old brother leaves that stuff in my car our at my house. And i have a love/hate relationship with bubbles unless its done at the party. For my son’s 1st party we did pool and bbq. No favors since it was just my main family ans MIL. Which is just siblings and mom and one family with a 1yr old. This year for his 2nd birthday i’m going to invite co workers with kids and have a bounce house and such at a park. My theme is cars and trucks. (That’s his favorite word now). I’m going to have a paint your own car activity and do a race at the end and the cars are the favors. Maybe have special cupcakes or cookies at the end.

    I don’t think my mom gave favors out for me and my other sister’s parties (we are in our twenties) since it was always just cousins and one friend. Parties were just like usually family dinner. I planned parties for my 11yr old sister and her friends used to love the “easter” egg hunts. Her birthday is at the end of april so i would buy a crap load of clearence candy and eggs. Not sure what they do now, but i’m always for candy or sweets as give aways if you do favors!

    Just need to figure out what to do as a favor for my baby shower i will have a month after my son’s birthday….

    • Alex

      Love your paint your own car theme! W/ a race etc. so cute! Congrats on your new. Baby to be! Though I don’t know your them (& I’m in my 40’s) or when the lps ding delivery is due? (My daughter was due at Christmas so I did holiday chic center pieces and drew a thank you addressed envelope at each tbl for the center piece) for each guest; I did a chic ornament in common holiday colors of golds and silvers). However; I just attended the shower of a friend of mines daughter; (also in 20’s) n I swore the next time someone was hosting a shower I’d pass along this super cute idea! She did breakfast at Tiffani’s (ok a luncheon) and each guest received a 2pc polish set of black shimmer and turquoise !) the centerpiece a were (mimicked from my White House party) floral pieces in silk black roses (removed from stem) hot glued to a styrophome ball until covered- placed on a clear vase w/ loose white petals inside about 1/3 way thru n a small led candle inside-for the glow) we used spray adhesive to create a rhinestone band around the top! ) their easy to create but a little time consuming. If u grab a few friends then u can create them quickly. U can purchase cheap rose bushes at the $1 store or buy at any craft shop. U just pull the rose off the stem n hot glue into the ball close together. If u use inexpensive rose bushes u can lightly spray the completed balls (petals) and roll them on black glitter. To give it that extra effect! The rhinestone band is cheapest when purchased in a toll using a cpn at Craft stores. Led n loose petals can be found at $1 tree shoes as can the vases! If u want a photo of the completed project Lmk. The entire theme was really cool. On some tables she did tall champagne flutes ($1 store) & hand painted swirls on them in turquoise. (Acrylic or glass paint) she used boxes beneath the tbl cloth to create one higher as a riser. In one flute she had inexpensive faux pearls draping down and in the other faux loose crystals 1/3 way filled w/ inexpensive black gloves beneath it. N alternated the center pcs thru out the center prices were given by drawing the thx u envelope. For other games – She had various glamour gifts purchased on clearance at various stores. My fave was a silver plated comb n mirror set (at Walmart ) n the small silver plated tray ($1 tree) w/ a gem compact mirror (target bins) & a lip gloss. Honestly the entire them was ideal. N very affordable but looked super rich. She bagged the nail polishes in the small clear bath n body works bags (she requested them at every visit wen purchasing soaps/wall plugs etc) n put the loose rose petals at the bottom of bag with 1each Polish n a nail file in each bag with a card stock printed thank u attached to the ribbon. The invites she copied a pic of Audrey Hepburn from the famous scene muted in the back round and put a white ribbon thru the top in a bow (using a punch hole) it was one of the coolest showers. Cake tbl was silver candle bras (u can rent them or buy at Joans w/a cpn. Approx $30 retail) n she placed cupcakes in lieu of candles. It was a cute brunch. W/ mini sandwiches n a salad buffet. She had approx. 60 women. N when I helped her w/ this shower I told her it was by far the coolest n most hip theme I’ve seen yet. ( oh and mimosas for a cocktail w/ an orange slice ) all done in her back yard ! I promise u it was even nicer than I can possibly explain. But all in all – we get questions on Mimicking it – still to this day! Good luck w/ ur delivery n many blessings on the new arrival of your bundle of joy!

  11. Poppy

    THANK YOU so much Collin and all my Hip2Save friends for these wonderful ideas. I LOVE all the ideas and now I shall share these ideas proudly with my other “mommy” friends :-). Thank You all!

  12. Poppy

    Thank You Team Collin & all my Hip2Save friends for taking the time and sharing your valuable inputs. I am delighted to get so many ideas and now looking forward to the big day 🙂

    Thank You All !

  13. mickeymikeworth

    What a fun post and comments! I love inexpensive parties and am always trying to come up with ways to host a birthday under $12. A lot of the ideas for party favors that I come up with are DIY crafts that guests can do at the party and then bring home with them. Better yet, use the crafts as gifts for the birthday boy or girl so that the stress of bringing a gift is not something you have to put on your guests. Everybody wins! 🙂

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