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Party favors are never going away. Kids get random little trinkets at their friends’ parties, and they want the same stuff at theirs. Nobody wants to be the only family that doesn’t give out party favors–because you know that at the younger ages some kids are going to go right up to the birthday kid and ask, “Why didn’t you give out party favors? You got a favor at my party.”–so everyone is just going to keep going along with the socio-cultural pressures to provide kids with more dollar-store stuff to be excited about for 20 minutes. Now that we’ve decided that we’re going to give party favors, though, what party favors are we going to give?

We all appear to be on the same page that giving a goldfish as a party favor is a terrible idea. But what are some good ideas for party favors? Stickers? Glow sticks? Temporary tattoos? Those things all sound pretty fun, and they are not too expensive and kids are obsessed with them.

It’s harder to come up with a good party favor than a person might think! You can’t give choking hazards to really small kids. Candy can be a minefield if you don’t know what other kids are allowed to eat.

We can go to Pinterest for ideas, but most of the Pinterest ideas are at like a 9 or 10 level of cuteness and labor intensity. I’m looking for more like a 3, maybe a 4. Can I just give a kid a toy car in a ziploc bag, or do I really have to color-code everything and draw rainbows and curl ribbon around mason jars?

I only gave favors once so far. I gave the kids rubber ducks because my kid is deeply, passionately, weirdly obsessed with rubber ducks, so I figured if she liked them, then other kids might like them too.

One really good one my toddler received was a tiny little book. There was a big bin of 50-cent books in the toy store, and every goody bag had one of those in it. My daughter loved hers, and I liked that, even though I didn’t like that the book was in German and my toddler insists that only I read the German books to her, despite the fact that my German is not good, and her father’s is perfect. I’m always like, “Can’t I read ‘Go Dog Go’? I’ll do the voices!” And she’s like, “No! Daddy read ‘Go Dog Go.’ Mommy read ‘Der Kleine Zug Ein Grosse Fahren.'”

My kid is still small, though, so my party experience is very limited. What kinds of party gifts have you given? What ones have you received that have been awesome? Please give us suggestions for good party favor ideas in the comments.

(And if you have a story about a really terrible party favor, please share that too.)