Though the parties have scaled down over the years, the rules remain the same. No matter how small the party, each child must leave with cake and a party bag/ gift. When there are fewer guests, this doesn’t add too much to the cost of the general celebrations, but with 20 or more, it can become an expensive part of the day! Personally, I have grown to despise the traditional ‘loot bag of crap’ with its chocking hazard sized, bouncy ball, plastic toy that breaks within five minutes of getting it home and enough sugar to keep them bouncing off the walls for the rest of the afternoon! I took a stand a few years ago and vowed never to give these as gifts at my children’s parties. I have instead, opted for small gifts including arts and craft sets or things made during the party itself. For children aged up to around 8 years old, here are some ideas I’ve tried and tested for great birthday parties on a budget!
Now that K is 11, we needed something a little more sophisticated, and as I promised a larger party for her final year in primary school, it had to be cost effective too.
The cellophane cones are a genius idea in themselves! You can pretty much fill them with anything, add a ribbon and a thank you note and you’ve got yourself a fancy looking gift for a similar cost to those piddly party bags! We chose marble sized bath bombs (100 for £18 from Amazon), I bought two different colours and some cellophane cones (add-on purchase £1.50), total cost just under £2 each!
There are loads of options! Here are some ideas we’ve thought about or used before:
- Bath salts- different colours layered up make a pretty effect
- Stationary- bumper packs of pencils, pens, rubbers etc in bright colours make it cheap per item
- Sweets- older kids could make some homemade truffles to give as a gift
- Mini Torch- around £1 each when bought as a pack on amazon, combine with glow stick and a few sweets or stationary
- Hot chocolate and marshmallow mix and mug- spoon enough hot chocolate powder (use one that requires hot water rather than milk) into the cone to make one cup, top with a handful of mini marshmallows and tie it off with ribbon! Be sure to add an instruction label to this one! Buy packs of mugs, I found some on Amazon for £1 each.
- Nail varnish- again, buy bumper packs and split them up!
- Cakes or Biscuits – If your child likes to bake, they could make cookies or cakes as their friends party gift and wrap in cellophane sheets rather than a cone.
So we hosted a karaoke party for 20, eleven year old girls. They were all shy at first but by the end of it, we had to wrestle the microphones off them! My top tip for anyone contemplating such a party, take some paracetamol before they arrive (and make sure the wine is in the fridge for when they leave)!
Have you hosted a tweenage party on a budget? Have you got any other ideas to add for putting together party bags for tweens? As my boy is currently only 5, I’m not really in the tweenage zone with him yet so would love to here more ideas for boys!