Goody bags handed out at birthday parties are, at least for the children receiving them, probably an afterthought.But Alexandra Zissu reports for The New York Times that goody bags can be a big source of anxiety for parents who see them as a statement: of status, of ecological mindfulness, of devotion.
It seems as though mothers are trying to best one another as they compete to provide the most creative or extravagant goody bags at their parties.
Peggy Post, the etiquette consultant, told Zissu that she heard of a mother who gave out tennis rackets to birthday party-goers.
Zissu notes that parents on online discussion boards have written of V.I.P. baseball tickets and cooking kits being doled out.
One mother told Zissu she disdains the cheap, disposable trinkets traditionally offered in goody bags because they promote consumerism. But after giving out charitable donations one year, which went unnoticed, she switched to cookies and a thank you note.
Still, it seems to us that goody bags are really just a sort of consolation prize. And if they cost more than the gifts brought to the party, as Zissu writes some have, something has probably gone wrong.
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