Comments 13


Towards the end of this year, we attended class parties at Pumpkin’s school for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

We parents were asked to bring in food or other necessary supplies, and we gladly did our part. The adults showed up, our kids sang us songs, and there was yummy food. Everything was going smoothly until…

“Here! Happy Halloween from Emma!” (Not her real name, by the way.)

A clear plastic bag decorated with jack-o’-lanterns containing a glittery orange pencil, candy corn, and chocolate was being thrust into my hand.

Startled, I looked up, then down, to see a short woman, presumably Emma’s mom, staring up at me with a smile plastered across her face.

“Oh, thank you!” I gushed at the unexpected generosity. But Emma’s mom had already scurried away to the next unsuspecting parent. “Happy Halloween from Emma!”

Then, at the Thanksgiving potluck, after polishing off a plate of ravioli, salad, and pumpkin pie:

“Here! Happy Thanksgiving from Emma!”

There she was, plastic smile and all, holding out another goody bag, this time filled with turkey shaped erasers, pumpkin stickers, and even more candy corn.


I thanked her slowly, wondering why she was doing this, when no other parent was. She quickly moved on to the next unassuming parent, interrupting his conversation with another dad.

At the Christmas cookie decorating party, you can guess what happened after we helped Pumpkin decorate her gingerbread man with colored sprinkles, glittering sugar, and chocolate chips (which we brought in, thank you very much!):

“Here! Merry Christmas from Emma!”

Emma’s mom was a bit taller this time around, teetering precariously on 4-inch heels, spreading her version of Christmas cheer.

This bag contained more pencils, more chocolates, and some other stuff, I don’t remember or care. “Thank you,” I replied, and when she scampered off, I bent down next to Pumpkin.

“Which one is Emma?” I hissed.

She pointed to a girl who was fluttering around the room and giggling. She was nowhere near her mother.

Why was Emma’s mother doing this to us? Was she trying to make the other moms feel inadequate? Did she want Emma to be the most popular kid in the class? No one even knew who she was, or did they? Emma seemed blissfully unaware of her mother’s goodwill gestures, so what was the point, really?

I felt as though it were overkill. Giving out goody bags for one of the holidays would be one thing. Or if other parents were also giving out bags, that would be ok. It seemed strange that she, and only she, would give goodies at every holiday party.


Is there a parent in your child’s class who seems to be promoting themselves? Should it matter that the child doesn’t seem to be involved at all in sharing the gifts given in their name?


  1. I have some time before I experience this myself. For me, if I was going to do something like this, then I would want my son(s) involved in the goodie bag process. I guess overall it is a nice gesture but I would probably limit goodie bags to hosting birthday parties as a “thank you.” I can’t imagine myself remembering to make a goody bag for every school holiday party!

    • I feel involving the kids is key. Otherwise, wouldn’t it just be about the parent? Yeah, I wouldn’t have the time or patience to do it for each holiday either…like we don’t have enough to remember! 😣

  2. Perhaps she wasn’t passing out the goodie bags to make the other parents feel less adequate, but to make herself feel more adequate. If giving out goodie bags makes her feel more involved in her child’s social events, I see no malicious ulterior motive in that. Although, I will admit that if I were you, I would find her perkiness to be annoying.

  3. marie says

    As a mom who gives out goody bags at my son’s elementary school, I don’t think most parents distribute them out of a sense of competition. They really get into the holiday spirit, or in my son’s case, he asks to have bags made for his classmates. That said, I wonder how much input a preschooler would have in this situation.

  4. I really enjoyed this post Jennifer..and what a lady ..this ‘Emma’s’ mom ! I hope I don’t have to come across such scary people in my daughter’s school celebrations … Though I have a feeling I will..sometime soon enough 😀

  5. Very good post you are right some parents are so competitive they want thier children to be one up than every one and they will try by all means they can but i feel eventually indirectly all the pressure and comparision will only transform to thiet children only

    • I’m glad you agree, Natasha. As I was writing this, I felt a little guilty to be honest. Maybe that mom was trying to be friendly and generous around the holidays? I typically give people the benefit of the doubt, but there WAS something a bit off about her.


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