- At my child’s graduation, I suggested giving away stones and money.
- Plastic toys are harmful to the environment. I want to secure the earth where my children live.
- I wish more parents would join me in giving their kids nothing at parties.
I baked two cakes for my daughter’s birthday. One is for blowing out candles during a pandemic, so her other is for guests. During the party, the children were playing hide-and-seek, and when they left, they cheered, “Thank you for coming!” and “It was fun!” My daughter gave them a hug.
Despite my desire to be a capital Good Mama, I did not offer any party favors.
When the pandemic roiled her daughter’s kindergarten, her parents organized a drive-thru graduation, and one mother suggested gifts. . She labeled the bags for each child so we could all add gifts.
My daughter and I brainstormed, “What would you do if I brought you rocks and money? What would you think about that?” There was a smooth stone found on the beach and a jar of change. Kids love stones and money!
“Fun,” she said.
At graduation, my daughter and I added stones and coins to each fancy bag. Afterwards, we watched “The Great Pumpkin, It’s Charlie Brown” and I laughed shyly as the adults gave Charlie Brown a stone instead of candy.
Clearly I was missing the point. But I’m still against party favors.
plastic toys are bad for the environment
Disposable plastic toys are stomped on or shoved under the bed after an hour or so of fun. Although some parents dislike them, party favors have become a cultural splendor.
But the answer isn’t to buy the expected trinkets or create socially acceptable alternatives.As the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns of a dystopian future. , you should reconsider all purchases that include party favors.
Some kids have too many toys anyway. My daughter’s room is a tangle of yarn, rocks, sticks, beads, Barbie dolls, Hatchimals and stuffed animals. She gets into a ruckus at a party favor and when cleaning her room, she doesn’t know what to do.
the environment pays the price
The hardest truth about party favors is that we’re giving them to the kids, not the sustainable future. Sorry about climate change.
Most toys are made of plastic, which is made from petroleum, a process that produces greenhouse gases. The toys are barged to the United States, stressing the whales and polluting the ocean. Finally, they are bought, gifted, played with for a few days, and thrown away. Plastic toys have disappeared from our homes, but they remain on the planet for about 400 years, leaching chemicals into the soil and washing them into the ocean.
By giving everything to our children, we are harming their habitat.
Instead of party favors, I wish more parents would join me in gifting them with nothing. Children will have fun at any party.
Hopefully we can steer our culture towards more mindful and sustainable consumption.
Sari Fordham is an author, professor, and environmental activist. She is the author of Cool It: Simple Steps to Save the Planet, a monthly newsletter designed for busy people concerned with the climate crisis.