I Didn’t Make Class Goodie Bags & The World Didn’t End

Confession: I did not make goodie bags for my kids’ class Halloween parties. And the world didn’t end.

That sentence was so easy to type, but to do it– or rather, to do NOTHING– was surprisingly hard for me! I’m a people-pleasing perfectionist who has a hard time saying no, but I’m learning.

Goodie bags have always been an important element in school holidays for me because it felt like a good way to instill a sense of giving in my kids. I would have them help me make the goodie bags for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter parties, and we would talk about making each one with love and how special it was to give their friends something we worked hard on. We talked about how excited we felt to receive things from them as well, and how we were happy to share in the giving. My oldest son always felt so proud delivering his bags to his friends during class parties.

But this year, when Halloween rolled around, I was overwhelmed with a ton of other things. I looked at my to-do list and tried to find even just one thing that I could drop.

The obvious answer? I could save money AND time by not making goodie bags. But just because it was obvious didn’t mean it was easy.

I argued with myself over it through every week of October. By not making goodie bags, was I letting my kids down? Would they be letting their friends down? What if they were the only kids who didn’t come with something to hand out– would they feel embarrassed? But goodie bags aren’t mandatory– surely we wouldn’t be the only ones without them! Would the rest of the class even notice if they had one less bag of trinkets and candy? 

But this was a chance to practice saying no, to not worry about what others thought, and to model for my kids that we can’t do everything, even if we want to. Honestly, for me, not making the goodie bags was practically as difficult as keeping them on my to-do list and just making them, since I feel like I’m wired to do everything for all the people all the time.

I did not make the goodie bags. My kids didn’t ask. They were not the only ones at school who didn’t bring anything. 

The world did not end.

It was a weight off my shoulders, even if it felt at the time like I was doing something wrong. 

Now the next question is… what will or won’t I do for the class at Christmas?

Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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