"Oh, it's from a birthday party," she replied.
"From your birthday party?" I asked.
"No, from someone else's birthday party."
At this point I looked quizzically at the father, who said she had been given the card as part of the loot bag upon leaving a party recently.
This was not the first parent I'd heard this from recently. I've been told that it's becoming the norm to give out $5 gift cards to each child who attends a birthday party either instead of a lootbag or as part of it.
I'm not a fan of lootbags. I'm especially not a fan of giving out a giftcard! Holy moly! Let's talk about teaching consumerism at a young age. Do you know who the giftcard benefits the most? The store where it's from!! They get advertising. They get kids, parents, and siblings into the store. And of course, $5.00 doesn't go very far, so typically you will end up needing to spend more than the gift card in order to get something.
WHAT TO DO INSTEAD?
Although I don't agree with "lootbags", I do like the idea of having something from an activity. Decorate or tie dye some t-shirts. Make and decorate a crown or wand. Teach them how to play jacks and provide them a kit each. My daughter just brought home a pot with some small cactus that she planted in it that they put together at a party.
Check out this article for some other ideas on non-loot bag ideas!