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Do You Let Your Child Open Birthday Presents At The Birthday Party?

By marinka |

"Open us! But only if your friends aren't looking."

One of the biggest mysteries of my parenting career (other than why Heidi Klum has better abs after having four kids than I do after two) is why we no longer have the birthday child open the birthday presents at the birthday party.

Remember what it was like when we were kids?

We’d open the presents while our friends watched, our parents would say something inane like ooh, look at that card!, we’d mumble a thanks a lot to our friends and then they would go home.  We would relax with our new toys and thank the powers that be that we were not being forced to write thank you notes.

Oh, how things have changed.

Because now for some reason, children are not to open the gifts in front of their friends.  It is considered “tacky” and “inappropriate” and “we don’t do that.”  Frankly, I don’t understand it and I suspect that it’s some sort of conspiracy by the Thank You Card Industry.

But in case it isn’t, here are some reasons that I’ve come up with that could help explain this disturbing trend.

1. The birthday child will not love all the gifts equally, therefore making the gift giver feel bad.

2. The birthday child will make a “blech” face when opening an undesired gift or worse yet, just toss it aside.

3. The non-birthday children will feel bad because they are not receiving gifts. Because it is not their birthday.

4. We want to pretend that the birthday party is not some kind of a gift for birthday cake exchange racket.

5. The birthday child will fail to properly thank every gift giver.

6. If there are no gifts to open after the party is over, the post-party meltdown will commence minutes sooner than if the birthday child still has the gift opening to look forward to.


What do you think? Should children open the gifts from their friends in front of them? Or is it better to do it after the party ends?


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About marinka



Marinka is a wife and mother of two living in Manhattan's West Village. On her personal site Motherhood in NYC, she blogs about her life in New York City, her kids and family, current events, and the art and science of blogging.

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56 thoughts on “Do You Let Your Child Open Birthday Presents At The Birthday Party?

  1. Just Heather says:

    We always have our girls open gifts at the party, and they are always crushed when others don’t do the same. Part of the fun of choosing a gift is watching your friend open it. We actually take it a step further and open presents one at a time, with the gift giver sitting next to the birthday child. It helps her associate each new item with the friend who picked it out.

  2. Regina says:

    I am fine with the kids opening their presents at the party. I leave the cards with each gift, so that a thank you note can be written. This should be done regardless of who is doing it, as well as an immediate personal thank you at the party. I don’t care if another childs feelings are hurt by them not opening a present themselves. I think the parents are selfish to make a child feel entitled to something without it being about them. A Birthday is a special day! It is meant to celebrate the one born on that day, it is meant to celebrate with the ones you love, and it should be done in what ever fashion is acceptable by you and yours. Maybe if children were asked to sit more things out until they learn to behave, we could stop some of this selfish behavior that is really the problem. Opening a birthday gift is not tacky! And it is not meant to be hurtful either, but lets face it, children are honest if nothing else. So keep the person/child in mind that you are buying for, any just maybe you will be able to buy something that is right for that child. It is your fault if your feelings get hurt because you just aimlessly buy off the shelf without thinking first, not the child that you didn’t bother getting to know a little about before buying a gift. Registries are fine also for birthday’s! They take away alot of the guess work, and if you will buy from it, you won’t be disappointed by the childs reaction either.

  3. pam says:

    i don’t know how this ‘not opening gifts at the party’ started, but i don’t like it. i grew up opening the gifts with my friends, relatives, etc. at the parties. i know it brings pleasure to some to see a child be excited opening a present. my kids have also grown up doing the same, and i have not experienced this new way of doing things to date. of course we didn’t do thank-you cards, because we didn’t have the need to as we would have thanked the person right then and there after opening said present. i will say, though, my 13 year old daughter was at a birthday dinner not too long ago, the birthday girl opened all of her cards and gifts there, AND she even made thank you cards for her friends that attended (and she even wrote a special note in each one about the friend). i thought that was pretty nice.

  4. Melissa says:

    Honestly I have never heard of this, we always open the presents at the party and every party I have been to they open the presents at the party. Weird, never even heard of it.

  5. Kate says:

    My daughter is old enough where we ask for no gifts, we pick a charity and ask people to bring stuff for them. Usually Camp Smile a Mile. Anyway, up until about 5, we still opened gifts for the most part. Unless it was a really active party, like swimming.

  6. LogicalMama says:

    My son always asks friends to open the present he got for them before he leaves the party if they didn’t open presents. I don’t know why not opening presents has become the norm as of late. Sometimes parties are so excessive and there are so many kids that opening that many presents gets boring for everyone! But I also think in this “helicopter parenting” world, so many parents come to parties and stay and they don’t want to stand there while kids open presents! So, with their own kids, they set an example and don’t let them open the presents and the cycle just moves forward.
    I guess we are tacky because I let my son open his presents. Only one time we didn’t because it was a water balloon fight party and the kids were soaked and there were a lot of them, but just like my son, many wanted him to open them while they were there so towards the end, he opened them with most kids still there. Typically though, we just don’t have a lot of kids at the party.

  7. anymommy says:

    Oh god (blush), we tell people not to bring presents to our kids’ parties. It’s like I’m the meanest mom times 1000. Does it redeem me that I don’t find it at all tacky to open presents at the party if they are given? I love seeing someone open a gift I picked out for them.

  8. goddess says:

    They open them at the parties. But they know to not reveal $ amounts. (We have relatives who made a big deal of announcing how much the more well-off side of the family gave each child). That always struck me as tacky, as it hurt my MILs feelings since her gift sounded so paltry next to theirs. Hated to see the hurt on her face.

  9. Suzie says:

    How about because it’s BORING? I find this boring, too, at adult parties like baby showers and such. It’s definitely a “chick” thing…we’re supposed to sit around and ooh and ahh? Before my kid went to school, my own circle of friends ALWAYS put “no gifts” anyway. Being part of a broader demographic, I guess, with the school people, I found nobody else does that (which in itself irks me…they have soooo much crap already, really…) and then to have to sit there and watch the child greedily troll the room for presents (as is often the case, I’ve seen the birthday child going, where’s your present for me? where’s your present for me?) so yeah, it is gauche.

  10. Julia says:

    We will definitely be opening presents at the party. I actually think it’s kind of rude NOT to – if the guest went to trouble to bring a gift, it should be opened! I’ve always disliked it when I bring a gift to a party and it’s just chucked aside and I don’t get to see it opened – why bother in this case?!

  11. Emily says:

    If anything, opening presents is a great birthday party time-killer, and I am all for it. We attended two birthday parties recently where presents weren’t opened and I felt feeling a little empty. We spent a lot of time picking out those gifts, and it felt like we were dropping it off without so much as a thank-you. It was the one thing that my son was looking forward to, and he was sorely disappointed that it didn’t happen. I think it can be awkward for all the reasons stated in the article, but I also think that it’s up to parents to teach children that “blech’” faces and ungracious responses are NOT acceptable, and that all gifts, regardless of whether the child likes them, should be accepted with grace and profuse thanks. Returns or “blech” faces can be made in private after the gift-giver has left. And thank-you notes should always be written, regardless of whether they’re opened in front of the gift-giver or not.

  12. Eve says:

    We don’t have our child open them during the party either. In the past, gift-opening has taken *hours* to get through; the parents get bored; the gifts get separated from their cards (making Thank You cards difficult); and all the kids eventually start fighting over the toys.

    No gift-opening = more time to focus on quality time together, having fun, and playing games with friends. Otherwise, our experience has been that it can deteriorate into a materialistic free-for-all squabble!

  13. Donna says:

    I don’t care if it’s “un-cool” to open birthday gifts at a party, my son will open them after cake no matter what!

  14. Eileen says:

    Opening presents is what is done at most parties I attend…certainly not the exception. I don’t find the practice tacky at all. Although, at times, I feel it’s best not to open gifts…
    - for young children, after the first or second gift, they’re pretty much done with opening gifts (and often become overwhelmed)
    - it is boring; often even the birthday kid would rather be playing with his/her friends
    - I really like “Just Heather’s” idea of having each child present their gift individually; seems less overwhelming and more exciting for both giver and receiver and more flexible on the timing
    - While it’s fun to see the spark in a kid’s eyes after they open your gift, that’s not *really* the reason we bought it, right??

  15. LanieRulzs says:

    We don’t open presents at Birthday Parties because there is not enough time. We live in a small house and don’t have room for a party and with her birthday being in July in SC it is to hot to have it outside. We pretty much have to have it at one of the local birthday party places. With so much focus on the activities at the parties and a limited block of time there is just not enough time to open presents at the party. If we were able to have a house party we would surely open the present there.

  16. magpie says:

    Opening presents is fun! But you’re right, no one does it. Then again, no one has birthday parties at home anymore. I think that’s a big part of it – people hire out a kid’s gym and want to get their monies worth on the rock climbing equipment so then there’s no time for present opening.

    I throw my kid’s parties at home, and she opens her presents with her friends there. They all love it – they have pride and enthusiasm about what they picked out. It’s nice.

  17. Athena says:

    We just had my son’s 3rd birthday party this past weekend. I hadn’t planned on having him open the gifts in front of the guests at all, until a few of the parents asked if we would. Fortunately, my son was interested in everything he got – pretty equally. Unfortunately, with five 3 year olds, it was a chaotic scene, with every child wanting to help open, see the toy instantly, have it opened immediately etc. Would I do it again? Possibly, hopefully when the kids are 4 it’ll be less chaotic? *heh, riiiiight, I’m not that naieve*

  18. marinka says:

    I *love* that more people are having their children open their birthday gifts at parties! I think that parents sometimes (in my case OFTEN) don’t want to do that because they are afraid that their child will embarrass them by not being gracious (which in our society means lying when necessary to avoid hurting someone’s feeling, as in “thank you! I love those ear muffs!)

    But I think going through opening the presents in front of their friends serves an important socialization function. It teaches the child to express gratitude — right there on the spot, to associate the gift with the giver and it sends an equally important message to the other children attending– it’s ok for you not to receive a gift. It’s not your birthday.

  19. Kara says:

    We don’t open at the party. DD is still young, only 3, so she opens one and wants to play with it. Who can blame her?! So we stretch it out, open 2 or 3 a day. I feel this way, she really enjoys the gift when she opens it and she has a solid understanding of who gave it to her. Opening 15 presents at once is just too much for her to remember who gave her what gift. She still comments every time she uses her paint pens tat her uncle gave them to her. We’ve recorded her opening gifts and sent the video clips to the gift giver.

  20. robin says:

    I believe it is up to the parents on both sides to raise their children to thank everyone for the thought, and to not favor one present over another in-front of the other kids, and also the parents of the non birthday boy/girl should inform them on how to be happy for the person receiving the gifts, and to not be jealous, because they too will have a birthday coming, and then it will be their time, but I do think you should have your kids open gifts with their friends, cause every child wants to watch their friend open theirs, and make them smile!

  21. sarah c says:

    I have never heard of that until now. And I will keep on practicing the long time tradition of having my child open gifts at his party as I did as a kid. The things people come up with…being considerate of feelings is great…being overly protective of what people think and feel is crazy. So open the gifts, hope the child shares some of their toys, and scarf down some cake and food.

  22. JPines says:

    I find it rude not to let children open thier gifts infront of the giver. Before hand I always made it clear to my children that we never say things like “Oh I have this” or “I don’t like this”. Children and adults love to see their gift make the child happy. The same with my children going to partys, they always say if the child did not open thier gifts. they also love to see what other cool things their friends have received from others. I do have one rule that is never broken, they do not ever get to open and play with gifts until a thank you card has been made….when they were small we had fill in the blank cards. Adding a group shot or a picture of the giver and birthday child is always adde as well!

  23. Sarah says:

    I have never actually heard of this, but after just having my six year olds party I could understand a few reasons not to. It gets so chaotic for one, all the kids want to be right on top of the gift opener or helping out. It’s cute that they are all so excited, but wow! Also, I think that some people let families know that gifts are not neccesary and to avoid making a child feel bad because he couldn’t afford to purchase a gift, it is just better to wait until after the party.

  24. Darlene L says:

    We have yet to attend a birthday party were the gifts aren’t opened in front of everyone! Maybe it’s because our son is only 4 as are his friends- but they all open the gifts. It’s fun for the kids giving and receiving the gifts. And the excuse that children won’t like the gift or make a face? Shocks me. My son was raised to be very gracious and has Never received Anything that he hasn’t been so thankful for! If he made a face or wasn’t grateful I don’t know what I would do!

  25. Linda says:

    Its not tacky either way. I like watching the kids open presents and its a time killer and also settles kids down shortly before the party ends. in some situations, where youre under tight time constrictions, like at a party place or bowling alley or what have you, then i could see not having the kids open presents. but whatever option you choose, neither is tacky. the kids usually are excited for the birthday girl to open their gift. i dont think price matters to children. especially if you raise them to appreciate the thought behind things. ive seen kids get excited over hand made cards from their friends, more than the actual gifts. i think we worry too much and over complicate things for our children, or try to be overly fair and make every little thing even. theres no real need imo to over compensate this way. we give party favors so all the kids get a small gift for coming to the party. a happy “thank you” from the voice of a child, or a friend beats a thank you card any day. but thats just me. we’re simple, we don’t worry about what’s socially acceptable. our friends and family are they same, so to us, its a non issue. the parties arent usually so large that it would take hours to open gifts anyway. so while in some situations not opening gifts might be best, i think your average school age child’s bday with friends its the norm, and likely expected. do what works for your family. dont worry so much about what someone else considers tacky. its your kid, your family and your party. you invited them, they didn’t have to come, presents or no presents. ;)

  26. Aviva says:

    The best reason not to open gifts at a kid’s birthday party is that it is BORING for the other kids to sit through it. Plus, it is overwhelming for small children to open so many presents at once.

  27. teresa says:

    OMG this is one of the most ridiculous things I have heard! I have never heard of parents not allowing the kids to open their presents at the party. People need to get over all of this outrageous so called “politically correctness”. Kids have opened presents at their parties for many many years and I would think that it would be much ruder to just take presents from people and not open them. I guess the people who do this are also the people who believe that no matter what, everyone involved in a game should “win”? :)

  28. Tonya says:

    We recently attended a child’s birthday party where they did not open gifts at the party. My 5 year old son was keenly disappointed that he did not get to watch his friend open the gift he had so carefully picked out. It’s obvious that his love language is gifts, and I’m quite certain he’d have traded his cake, ice cream, and party favors for the opportunity to watch his gift opened. I agree with many of the above comments that we should bear responsibility to teach our children how to both give and receive graciously, how to hide disappointment, and how to say “thank-you” AND write thank-you notes.

  29. Jenn says:

    I love Kara’s response. As a new mom of a 6 mo old, I’ve been thinking about how there are all these strange unwritten parenting rules that exist today that didn’t exist when we were kids. I like the idea of DS opening 1 or 2 gifts & stretching out the opening. Thank yous can be videoed w LO playing /wearing gift. Isn’t that *really* what gift giving is about – seeing joy brought to the receiver? What better way than via a video thank you?

  30. Maranda says:

    This is ridiculous, people are more worried about being PC and hurting someone’s feelings than their childrens special day. Things like this fire me up.

  31. Mia says:

    We.always open gifts at party and are expecting others too
    To give a gift is as rewarding as receiving, not for it’s content but for its meaning … You care and should care , as important as it is for the children to also decide and pick out what to give their friend would love to get!
    Our 4 year old daughter was determined to give her own barely touched soft animal… She knew her friend had LOVED it once when her friend played at our house…. Well you might now think that’s not ok… But the friend screamed out in joy for the gift my daughter picked out and are still “the toy” that goes everywhere with her!! On top of that the non greedy feeling my daughter has to wanna give her things away ….. Priceless…!!!
    She was as happy to give as her friend was to get!!
    Yes …. Birthdays are about giving the best things away of your selfs to be enjoyed by the birthday person to remember by their friends!!

  32. Karen says:

    Open the gifts at the party. It’s more fun and we have never gotten bored by it. The kids love seeing their gift opened. Some pick them out themselves and are excited to see it again and witness the joy it brings. It’s part learning to let go, learning to bless others, and also learning to share. If a gift isn’t exciting to a child such as new clothes, we laugh about it because we know the parents are happy about it. The kids don’t care. And most understand (or learn) that it’s about the birthday child and they are honored to be invited to share their special day. I hate it when some kids are hurt because they are left out by not being invited or no one shows up to share the day with the birthday child.

    We went to a party at a party place and they wouldn’t even allow opening gifts, no time and another party waiting. The parents went ahead opened them in the lobby in a rush, which was a little rude to the business, the kids coming in, and the birthday child, it was crazy, but the party place should have made it clear there would be no opening of the gifts and the parents should have known what they were getting at the party. With a limited amount of time to do everything, opening gifts would have taken away from the activities. Make sure you know all the rules if you rent a place for a party and follow them. We could have gone outside down the sidewalk without blocking any entrances. In that case, I think it would have been better to wait or move it somewhere else.

  33. Nicole says:

    I have never heard of opening gift as being rude. Actually where I live not opening gifts is rude. Someone mentioned the child gets bored opening gifts, ummm…don’t think so. I don’t know any child who gets bored of opening gifts! And I know alot of kids. The only reason I would understand not opening gifts is if the party is at a party location where your time is limited to two hours or so. My son is having a party at a bouncy house and the party if only two hours. One hour and fifteen minutes to play oun bouncers and forty five minutes to eat and cut cake, not much time for presents don’t know if we will get to. Kids love to see their friends open presents. And yes it can chaotic and yes maybe little ones will cry because they want to play with the toys, a perfect time to teach some little lessons, sit down for others can see, these are not your presents, your birthday will be here soon/just passed etc., teach thank you’s and manners. But if it’s at a house then open presents! Also I think that it’s mean for parents to tell people not to bring gift! Poor kid, that is their special day. Doesn’t mean your family if materialistic, your supposed to give presents to the birthday child. When your child starts going to other parties and sees kids getting gifts they will hate you. Suzie with that attitude I’m suprised you have friends!

  34. jayda says:

    Me aw a 14 yearold i still like opening presents so every one who thinks its tacky can shut it :)

  35. Laura says:

    We see how the party goes and how our son is doing. Because he can have alot of anxiety and because it is already such an exciting day, it can be hard for him to handle himself and he can be very emotional. We feel that sometimes it is best to leave the gifts until later that day or the next day. Please try to be understanding and know that even if your gift isn’t oprned infront of you, I am sure that it is appreciated and enjoyed.

  36. Msmajk says:

    We do not open gifts at our party. Mainly because we have a combined birthday party, three kids with birthdays days appart, in August = pool party. Also the kids have so much that we tell our guests that a present is not required just their presence :) . Also the kids are 6, 3, and 2. Imagine the chaos that entails we’d much rather spend the time playing and catching up then opening gifts and keeping things straight :)

  37. Sheree says:

    I don’t care either way. We didn’t open gifts at my daughters first birthday because we ran out of time at the rented location. A one year old doesn’t have the attention span anyway, I agree it can get boring. This is silly debate

  38. V says:

    I think many of the reasons described in the article are pretty on target. In addition, sometimes there isn’t time and, I’ve been invited to many birthday parties where parents ask people not to bring gifts. I don’t think it’s mean at all. Some kids really don’t need more toys and some parents want to be able to monitor what kinds of toys come into the house (and what don’t). I also think that gift-exchanging can get out of hand and overwhelming, especially for young children. Furthermore, I find reason 4 to be a little condescending. Maybe some people don’t want a birthday party to be all about gifts and cake–is that really so awful? Birthdays are a great excuse for kids to get together and do special activities and for families and friends to enjoy each other’s company. I know cake and gifts are traditional but I don’t think they are by any means necessary for throwing a great birthday party.

  39. Danielle says:

    My daughter has always opened her presents at her party, but maybe i’ll ask her what she wants do do next year. I always find that its boring and the other kids lose interest and are upset we stopped the playing for opening presents. I’m thinking maybe save the presents for home and then send thank you notes, every kid loves to receive something in the mail. I don’t know we’ll have to play it out at the next party.

  40. Chadwick says:

    Open them up !

  41. Danielle says:

    My son is only 2.5 so we just started going to birthday parties in the past couple of years. I was shocked and disappointed when our first party was over and the gifts remained unopened. I do take a lot of time choosing the perfect gift for each child so watching them open it would be great. Now that DS is old enough to know what is going on, he too is disappointed when the gift he brought isn’t opened. I must admitt, at his 1st birthday party, we did take the gifts home for him (me) to open later. But last year, we had him open them at the party. I imagine, to some it’s totally boring, but to the grandparents and us, it’s fun to watch. It actually worked out well because the other kids we busy playing and going in the pool while he opened everything.
    I will continue the tradition of gift opening at his parties!

  42. Katie says:

    We normally open presents at the birthday party. However this year my youngest son gave away his birthday gifts to a charity of his choice. and my oldest had his birthday at the same time so he had a bunch of presents to open up where as the younger one only had a few cards and one gift so I didn’t allow either one of them to open their presents at the party. Well my kids were okay with that but several of the party guest complained and I had to explain that I didn’t want to open them at the party because there were two parties going on at the same time as well as a box of collected gifts for a charity and I wanted to make sure that everyones gifts went where they were suppose to. Needless to say I still have a few people mad at me for not allowing my children to open their gifts at the birthday party

  43. J says:

    We have our son open gifts at his parties. I agree with everything you said. I actually find it very rude and ungrateful to not open presents at the party. It takes time to go pick out a present and my son is old enough where he wants to see his friends open their present. I’ve figured out now who are present openers and who aren’t. I just give a gift card to the ones that don’t. If they aren’t going to take the time to be grateful and open what I brought, they can get a gift that had zero thought put into it.

  44. Lana says:

    omg that’s a new one. Who came up with this idea??? How can you NOT open a gift when somebody actually picked it up specially for you. That’s just rude and disrespectful to your guests. We always open presents and always will be. We don’t do it as a separate event though so other guests wouldn’t get bored – we just open them throughout the party, let the kids play with it and then open another one.

  45. KatesOwnRants says:

    I think I’m in the minority here, but I’m happy when kids don’t open all their presents at the party. I really don’t want to stand around for 45 minutes watching the kid-sized equivalent of the most boring Oscar acceptance speech ever.
    Most school-age parties involve 20 kids crammed in a 10×10 room in the middle of “Jump Zone” or “Chuck E Cheese” with bouncy houses and 14 other birthday parties going on simultaneously. After ramping them up on cake and ice cream, kids are NOT going up one by one to calmly sit next to the birthday kid’s throne as they unwrap each thing and then engrave a calligraphy thank you note to the giver. Where do those parties happen, Walton’s Farm?
    Maybe boys’ parties are much different than girls’, but the ones I’ve been to involve a wall of squiggling kids climbing over themselves to get a look at whatever is being opened, the birthday child spends about 2 seconds looking at it before reaching for the next one as parents yawn and check their watches, paper and cards are flying everywhere and by the end I’m no closer to seeing what the birthday kid got or what his reaction was than I was before. Not that I particularly needed to see his reaction.
    I don’t care if they open the gift in front of me. It’s not about ME. I bought a present for that child and I hope he likes it. However, once it’s wrapped and in his possession, I have no control over what he does with it. When you give a gift, it should be about the other person. You shouldn’t give a gift with an expectation of getting something in return – namely a big emotional show put on for your benefit to stroke your ego and show everyone in the room what a great present you picked out.
    Please don’t stop the world to marvel at your kid’s gifts on my account. I’d rather get out of Chuck E Cheese earlier so I can take a Tylenol and go home to sit in a dark silent room for about an hour or until the ringing in my ears stops. That’s my thank you note right there.

  46. Michelle says:

    I was sooo disapointed to read this. People today are so concered about hurting other peoples feelings they they forget about their own children. Sure it might be boring to SOME kids but clearly not all of them. When I was a kid I took the time to pick out a gift I knew they would like. I still do that today for every single gift I purchase or make. Instead of worrying about hurting others feelings use the party to teach manners. The birthday child thanks everyone for the gift given and later writes thank you cards. It is up to us as parents to teach our children these skills. I wonder if sometimes parents feel it is easier not to teach certain things so they make up these crazy ass ideas?! Now if the invitation said no gifts or donations only an expectation has been set and that is perfect. Everyone is on the same page. Part of gift giving is to see the look on the person’s face when they open it up!!

  47. Leigh Ann says:

    The reason we haven’t so far is because a) there never seemed to be time at the party, and b) it’s a very overwhelming experience with twins. It took us most of one day to open all of their presents this year because we kept having to take break to open and play with some of it. But I think next year they’ll be old enough to open at their party, and all of the other kids will be old enouhg to sit still for it.

  48. Kristin Nett says:

    I would be disappointed if the presents weren’t opened at the party. But it’s not about me. It’s about the birthday child. If the child wants to, I would hope the parent would figure out a way to make it work.
    Also, just like it’s not about me, it’s not about any of the guests. If you’re bored watching the gift opening, then don’t.

  49. kelley says:

    My dghtr did not open her presents at her last 2 birthday parties because of time. The party was not at our house, but at a play gym. It was 1 1/2 hours long if we would have openned presents the play time in the gym would have been cut short. I have been to several parties that were structured the same. Most parties at home children still open the their presents in front of their guests.

  50. mamak says:

    A lot of these reasons seem to be about the parents, not about the child/children. Let your kids be kids. Stop being a stick in the mud, and you won’t be bored. Enjoy that your child is having fun and has friends. If you aren’t going to open gifts there you should put “no gifts” on the invite.

  51. S says:

    I always have my kids open the presents and say thank you equally. i also do it at the end of the party to wind the kids down while we are waiting for their parents to show up. I usually have the birthday child sit up front and have each child bring up their gift. they open the card while my child opens the gift so it speeds it up a little, unless it is just a card with money then my child opens it up then hands it to me with out showing how much money. i think it is ‘rude’ for the birthday child not to open the gift.

  52. Kristin says:

    I agree the not letting them open presents can get a little rediculous.. But I ran into the problem with my sons birthday party last weekend that he got halfway threw his presents and the people at the place we had his party came up to me and told me we were running out of time inky had 5 minutes left and they were gonna put the rest in the bags with the rest of his stuff . The one problem I see with the persons comment that they have their child open gifts with the gift giver sitting next to them… Is that it might be embarrising for the children who’s parents couldn’t afford to get a gift or just didn’t or couldn’t for some reason…but still made it out to celebrate the child’s birthday.. :-( . Doing It that way will point out to everyone that so and so didn’t bring a gift and the said non gift bringer child will be left out to watch everyone sit up there and be proud of what they bought. I think the caos masks things like that and also masks the gift openers plechhhh faces… They can swiftly move onto the next present..

  53. mommy23angels says:

    Good grief. Open the gifts. If we went to the trouble to shop, pick it out, and buy it, we want to see it opened! End of story… although I am completely in agreement with the sentiments on BIG parties in LOUD places…. I am equally as ready to “leave, go home, and sit in a dark quiet place until my ears stop ringing…” :-P

  54. Astrid says:

    My sister doesn’t like for her kids to open the gifts at the party “because the wrapping makes such a mess.” Good thing she has a live-in maid, huh? Gack.

  55. Staci from Scooping it Up says:

    I am TOTALLY on board with not opening and asking kids to not bring them. We have 4 almost 6 kids. I cannot have that much new stuff brought into my house. I cannot have materialistic free for alls. I want people to come celebrate with us without spending money. I don’t want to have to find space for new toys that we do not need. I would echo KatesOwnRants comment exactly. That is what I was going to say anyway. I am shocked so many people want all these new presents in their houses and want their kids to open them and get offended if people don’t. I love no presents at parties.

  56. Nicki says:

    Let me explain why I choose to have my daughter open her birthday gifts after everyone has left:

    1. It annoys the HELL out of me when other children grab the birthday child’s new toys (unless of course the birthday child has invited them to play with their new toys).

    2. Some children are very destructive (there are a few coming to her party that I know are this way) and I don’t want her gifts to get broken before she gets a chance to play with them.

    3. Temper tantrums. Another pet peeve of mine is when other children throw a fit because of something the birthday child got that they didn’t get.

    4. Mess. It is so much easier to keep things well organized when a child isn’t over whelmed with “Open my gift next!” “Open this one! Open this one!” She can open them at her own pace.

    5. Guests with lower incomes. I have seen first hand people (adults) get upset because they couldn’t afford a gift as nice as someone else bought. I don’t want any hurt feelings. We are thankful for anything anyone can afford and I’ve told everyone not to feel obligated to bring a gift. I understand money is tight for many people.

    6. The other end of the last argument. My child does not need a high dollar over the top gift. Also I’ve seen people buy gifts well out of their income level and I don’t like that. Don’t put yourself in financial strain to make my child happy. She has everything she needs. Anything else is just extra….(not that this part has much/anything to do with this topic but still).

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