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?