Monday, July 8, 2013

Giving Gift Cards To Kids ATTENDING Birthday Parties??

Last week, I was at our local Chapters, and saw a friend and their 3 children shopping in the kids book section.  I was there with my daughter to pick out a book as a present for a birthday party she was going to be attending.  One of the three children had a gift card.  I asked her politely who had given her the card...I had been thinking maybe it was a small gift from a relative.

"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.


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!


  1. I am surprised by this gift card in loot bag deal.It's peculiar. It's very true also what you said $5 gets very little and then you end up spending more. All I can think of this is that gift card are super easy and not so creative so maybe that is an effort to simplify the process OR it's just that they are available everywhere.

  2. Gift cards in lieu of loot bags is typical where I live. Especially with tween-aged kids. I guess I am the minority in that I actually *prefer* a gift card over a loot bag. We do not need anymore cheap dollar store toys in our house. They break the same day the kids get them or end up under a bed or shoved into a drawer until I find them and dispose of them. Also, each kid is different so often there is nothing in the loot bag that even interests my kids.

    Gift cards do not have to be an indoctrination into consumerism, we encourage our kids to use gift cards to save up for items they are saving toward and combine them with other gift cards to maximize buying power. Gift cards can be a great financial learning tool for kids.

  3. I agree with Dana. I believe in the same ideology. those candies and cheap toys gets us nowhere...rather buy what the kid likes and learn how to take care of their own money.


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