Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Primary Birthday Box

by Sariah S. Wilson

Somehow, I got put in charge of our Primary's birthday box. I think this is what happens when you venture an opinion in a presidency meeting ("Great idea! Hey, why don't you go ahead and be in charge of that?").

Here's the situation - we have approximately 100 kids and I can spend $30.

The plan is to have four different items to choose from (as in the past when there are too many choices the kids stand up there for a long time choosing and rechoosing).

Right now the box has Article of Faith cards and some CTR rings. (Which I'd personally like to take out of the box as that's all they've had to choose from for the last year.)

I considered an Oriental Trading Company toy assortment, but many of those things look loud and/or breakable.

I suppose I could go shopping and look around (seeing as how I'm all about the deals) but shopping has become a not-so-easy task for me as of late.

Take yesterday for example.

There I was, shopping with my baby and preschooler. My daughter fell asleep in the car on the way to the store, and so when I woke her up, she was not happy (strike 1).

She has also recently decided she wants to be like the baby, so she wants to sit in the cart like he does. This isn't a problem when the two older kids come with me, but I can't push two carts in the store. We found a cart that has a car in the front, and two side by side seats in the back of the cart. She was initially amenable to this idea.

Until...we came across a "little cart" that someone had left in an aisle (a child-sized cart that is the bane of my existence while shopping at Kroger - I actually avoid the entrance that has them out because of how awful they are). She had to have that little cart. I now had to push an extremely bulky cart and keep her close to me as she's not all that skilled with maneuvering said little cart (strike 2).

Then, while going down the chip/popcorn aisle she suddenly darted out to my left to go in front of me and decided to introduce her little cart to a flimsy display of Starburst and Skittles (strike 3).

You can guess what happened next.

Down went the display, spilling its contents all over the main walkway in the middle of the store. Packages of Starburst and Skittles covered the entire area. There were probably ten people in the area when this happened. People walked around the candy and kept on going.

That sort of stunned me. I'm not the most extroverted person in the world, and I was in a bit of a hurry myself (trying to get home before my kids got off the bus), but I can't imagine that I wouldn't stop and help. I know that I would, because I have in the past.

So with my cheeks red and my daughter helping me, we fixed the display and started putting the candy back in the boxes. The Starburst fit pretty easily back into the box, but the Skittles refused to behave.

And as I was doing this, an older woman apparently wanted to come into the aisle where we were cleaning up the candy. She stopped and stood there, staring at us, I kid you not, for at least five minutes.

Had it been me (well, it wouldn't have been me because I would have offered to help) and I needed to get into an aisle that someone was blocking, I would have walked down the aisles on either side to get into that aisle from the opposite end (these are short aisles).

I felt pretty stupid and embarassed.

But we did fix the candy display and returned the candy to its place, only to find that my baby had used his time to remove every box of Hot Tamales that he could reach from the shelf.

So rather than go out and hunt around and set myself up for another possible situation like yesterday's, I thought I'd ask to see if anyone had any ideas. I'm leaning toward party favor type things.

So, keeping in mind the budgetary restraints and gender/age/number of kids, any suggestions?


At 2/13/2010 1:29 PM, Blogger Primarymary said...

I usualy go to Walmart when their holiday aisles are up and get the 10 or 12 packs of mini play dough and small bottles of bubbles, usually 6 or 8 in a package. They usually have other multi packs of stuff for a good pice that might work for you.

At 2/13/2010 1:45 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Mini carts . . . oy. Gotta love shopping with a student driver at your side. I'm sorry about the shopping stress and I can't believe everyone just stared at you instead of helping.

How about those rubber bracelet thingies that have something printed on them, like this year's Primary theme or CTR?

Fancy pencils?


At 2/13/2010 1:56 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

Party stores are great for that. Lots of cheap fun toys you can buy in qty. Just be aware of anything that could be used as a weapon during sharing time. No vampire teeth for example or bouncy balls.

At 2/13/2010 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Candy...need I say more?

At 2/13/2010 3:17 PM, Blogger Stephanie Humphreys said...

We give them a book mark with the theme printed on it (can be purchased or you can make your own) and a small candy, like a halloween size chocolate bar or a roll of smarties. When the budget allows we do pencils with the theme or the rubber bracelets.

At 2/13/2010 3:44 PM, Blogger Kimberly Job said...

I was trying to think of things my kids have gotten in the past.

-CTR pencil
-Coupon for a handshake and a treat from the bishop
-plastic CTR ring (looks like the livestrong bracelets)
-picture of Jesus
-Article of Faith bookmark
-Candybar with specially made Happy Birthday label (can find these online to print out.)

At 2/13/2010 4:24 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Our Primary gives those little rubber bracelets with the theme on them, CTR pencils, pictures of the savior, etc. Always something with a church or compassion type theme. Actually we give the kids a card, sing happy birthday to them, then after Primary they take their card to the Bishop's office to redeem their prize which saves us all that standing around trying to choose awkwardness.

At 2/13/2010 10:34 PM, Blogger Andy Lemmon said...

Sounds like some of your primaries are a lot more elaborate than our primary. We've only given the kids two choices at a time. One of the choices is a pencil. Last year, they had magnets with the yearly theme on them. This year, they get a pin on button with the theme.

I would personally avoid candy, due to allergies/diabetes. It also doesn't interrupt class when the kid needs to throw the wrapper away. And Jeff is very right in saying don't use something that might be construed as a weapon. The less tempting it is for the kids to play with it instead of listen, the happier the teachers will be.

At 2/15/2010 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our primary has one standard gift for everyone. This gift changes each year as well. What is wrong with no choice, just a gift?

At 2/18/2010 3:17 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

We do popcorn and just buy it in bulk and tape on some cute saying. =]

I can't believe no one helped you! That just blows the mind. If I were there, I totally would have helped.

At 2/24/2010 11:52 PM, Blogger UTMomof4 said...

I totally sympathize with you. Sounds like a lot of my shopping trips with my 4 kids in tow. You'd think I'd have learned by now to wait until my husband is home to go to Wal-mart. But when you need diapers, you need diapers.
Our primary doesn't give the kids anything for their birthday. They sing to them and that is it. How cheap is that??!
I do think candy is a good idea, or church-themed pencils. Those little toys from Oriental or party stores always break or get lost. Or those rubber bracelets are good too. Sorry, no new ideas here. Just sympathy about your shopping trip.


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