I recently attended a birthday party with my daughters . The little girl was turning six, and while she played mostly with my 7-year-old, we are friends with the entire family, so both of my children were invited to attend.
It was held at a bowling alley which provided lots of amusement as the kids intermittently dropped, rolled, and pushed the balls down the lane - basically they did everything but kick them. After the snacks and cake, it was time to put out the goodie bags.
"Let me be very clear, " my friend said, "I hate doing these. I don't know why I did it."
Believe me, I feel her pain. I have written about my distaste for goodie bags on more than one occasion. Basically, you are handing parents what amounts to kryptonite - a bag full of sugar and junk that will eventually be spread throughout your house. Not to mention that the purchasing and stuffing of the junk into the bags is another nightmare altogether. I gave them up years ago. OK, so I did do that sand bucket thing last year, but like my friend, it was a momentary lapse of reason that I regretted almost as soon as I committed to it.
As my friend handed me the bag for my youngest daughter she said, "Make sure you look inside the bag, the thank you note is in there. I hate writing those almost as much as I hate goodie bags, so I decided to get them out of the way."
Sure enough, inside was a sweet, generic card signed by her daughter thanking us for "the gift" and for coming to the party. Brilliant.
For the first time in a long time, I was floored by another mother's ingenuity and overcoming one of the most tedious tasks in parenting. I couldn't wait to share this idea with everyone I encountered. My only regret was that I didn't find out about this earlier.
But of course, now the million dollar question is: Do I still do the goodie bags to act as a carrier of the thank you note?
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.