How much is too much to spend on children's party bags?

How much is too much to spend on party bags? [Photo: Getty]

A mum was left fuming after her daughter’s friend sent back her party bag with a note complaining about the contents.

Party bags = Every parent‘s nightmare. Little sugar-fuelled bags filled with plastic tut that seem to linger around the house for days.

But would your dislike of the post-party gift extend to you actually sending it back?

That’s exactly the situation one upset mum found herself in after throwing a small party for her daughter’s 11th birthday.

Except the complaint about the party bag wasn’t that it was too naff, more that the treats inside were far too good.

Taking to parenting site Mumsnet, the mum explained that because she had saved money by not having a bigger party – only four friends were invited – the mum decided to give proper gift bags for the party favours.

Each bag contained pens, a personalised notepad, a little nail varnish set, a book, a pair of novelty socks, some sweets and a piece of birthday cake.

And while the bags cost £12.50 each, as she hadn’t spent much on the party, the mum didn’t mind spending a little more.

“DD (dear daughter) made some little thank you notes in advance to pop in too- the bags cost about £12.50 each so about £50 in total,” she wrote.

“But given the party was cheap in comparison to previous years (soft play, hall hire, pass the parcel..!) and DD and I had fun making them up I wasn’t bothered.”

But when one of her daughter’s friends returned her gift bag at school, with a note from the mum explaining that they couldn’t accept it, both the mum and daughter were left feeling angry.

“The letter basically says the bag was too generous as a party bag and her daughter was returning it as she (the mum) couldn’t let her accept it,” she wrote.

“DD is really embarrassed as her friend told her that her mum says I try too hard.

“I’m mortified but also livid – I don’t do the school run so only know this mum to say hello to when dropping kids off at hobbies/parties/play dates etc – I definitely don’t want to impress her or anyone else! I have been internally fuming since 4pm yesterday!”

How much is too much to spend on party bags? [Photo: Getty]

The mum went on to ask if she was being unreasonable or if the other mum had been in the wrong.

And other parents were quick to offer their opinion on the thorny topic.

Many were outraged on her behalf.

“That is so unbelievably rude of her. Omg. My jaw literally dropped,” one user wrote.

“You were very generous but the mum was weird to return it. Her DD must have been mortified!” another added.

“That is really sad. You put all that effort in,” another added. “I think she was really rude. You’ve done nothing wrong except make an effort and been nice.”

While others said they thought the gift bags were overly generous, they didn’t believe the mum should have returned it.

“I would feel absolutely mortified to receive a party bag that generous, presents were usually £5-£7, so to receive a party bag in return of twice that value would make me feel extremely uncomfortable,” one user wrote.

“I would not have returned it – how ungracious, but would have probably avoided you for some time after…

“Your generous gesture may have made people uncomfortable with their value of gift choice.”

“As a recipient, I would have felt rather embarrassed that the bags obviously cost more than the present I had given (as I would not spend more than £10 on a birthday present),” another mum wrote, before adding: “but I would have pondered whether maybe you got job lots of stuff or got stuff free in your job or whatever and then would have thought no more about it. She was very rude.”

Other parents offered suggestions of how to respond.

“Could you message the mum and explain there were only four guests, you and DD enjoyed making the bags and because the party was small you felt you could do that as a treat for the girls, and you’re dreadfully sorry if it caused her any offence (last bit is passive aggressive, but hey ho, I would probably stick my finger up at the screen as I hit send too, no effect other than making me feel better),” one mum suggested.

“I’d send them back with a note saying ‘I’m sorry you thought this was over the top but it was a gift and it seems a shame and rather over the top to deprive your DC of the pleasure it might give her. We had such fun making them, too,’” another user wrote.

It’s not the first time the subject of children’s parties have caused controversy.

Earlier this year another mum kicked-off a parenting debate about whether it is right to charge children to attend a birthday party. 

And Myleene Klass found herself on the receiving end of criticism after an Instagram rant about a parent who asked for donations for one big present for her child’s birthday. 

Children’s parties were so much simpler when it was all about the jelly and ice cream.

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