Mommy blogger asks parents to 'just say no' to loot bags
'Keep your dollar store crap to yourself,' writes Renee Kaiman — and plenty of parents agree
A Toronto mom is calling on parents to ditch the tradition of giving out loot bags at children's birthday parties.
Renee Kaiman, a mother of two who runs the website My So Called Mommy Life, penned a piece earlier this month called "Just say NO to loot bags," in which she tells parents to "keep your dollar store crap to yourself."
"I have been attending numerous birthday parties over the last few weekends, and it's just junk," Kaiman told CBC Metro Morning's Matt Galloway.
"My kids obviously love to receive it, but within a few minutes things are broken [and] there's lots of pieces all over my house. And for the parents who are throwing the birthday, it's just a waste of money."
Kaiman was hesitant to hit publish on the post, she said, fearing she would offend her fellow parents.
But plenty of people have come to her defence and expressed their loathing for the dreaded children's party favours.
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> missed the whole point most loot bags just add plastic to our landfills and oceans best to come with alternatives—@MothershipComic
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> I hate loot bags. I send money to orphanages in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan so kids there can actually have a birthday party.—@mishmee
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a>, I was incredulous when we threw my daughter's first birthday party to learn we were expected to provide "loot bags!" What?!—@macbeechy
But if the problem with loot bags is the low quality, why scrap the tradition instead of improving upon it?
Some parents took to Facebook and Twitter to offer up alternatives to the usual plastic toys and cheap candy.
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> At a winter b'day party, the loot bag had homemade hot chocolate mix with marshmallows! Perfect! Put some thought into it.—@miz_glammie
"The best loot my kids ever got was a package of seeds and dollar store garden shovel," wrote one mom on Facebook. "We had wonderful sunflowers in our garden that summer and the experience of watching something grow from seed."
<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> we've replaced loot bags with one small gift that isn't garbage. I.e. For a super hero party, a children's comic book.—@gcpeart
"Loot bags have mostly been replaced by books," wrote another Facebook commenter. "I think it's a better option."
Sends the wrong message
Still, Kaiman holds tight to her anti-loot views. The more thoughtful loot bags are expensive, she said, and that's an unfair burden to place on parents.
What's more, she said the whole thing sends the wrong message.
"Instead of bringing a gift to the child whose birthday it is and teaching the child that it feels good to give to others, they're always being rewarded," she said.
"To go to celebrate a birthday party is fabulous — it's so nice, it's fun, it's great for the kids, and why should they also receive a gift for coming to celebrate?"
'Kids love that dollar junk stuff'
Still, the loot bag has its defenders.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a> I'm defending the poor lootbag. Love putting them together and giving out. It's not nice to call someone's efforts "junk".—@ncolarossi
She's wrong. Kids love that dollar stuff junk. Parents dislike the cost. <a href="https://twitter.com/metromorning">@metromorning</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lootbags?src=hash">#lootbags</a>—@Pippi505
At the end of the day, Kaiman says the contents of her children's loot bags usually ends up where they belong — in the trash.
"I throw them often away at night when my kids are sleeping," she said. "My kids will often play with these little plasticky toys quite often, but when I find them, I toss them."
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.