Part of being a parent is attending a LOT of kiddie birthday parties. And when I tell you things have changed, I don’t just mean the size of the affairs.
When did kids stop opening presents during their parties?
Because save for the random “no gifts please” party, presents still reign supreme for little kids. But at the bulk of parties I’ve attended with my daughter, I’ve noticed a big part of the day is missing.
We arrive, we hand over the gifts, and then. . . nothing. There’s no opening ceremonies. No thanking the gift giver. No chance for said giver to see the child’s reaction. And, more importantly, no chance for my kid to see how that all too important act of giving results in making someone else happy.
That’s why I’ve always rolled my eyes at the “no gifts please” parties. I honestly LIKE giving gifts to kids, seeing their eyes light up at the “monster truck, just like I always wanted” or the bedtime story “that mommy will read me tonight!” I’ve made it a point to involve my daughter in our present picking, so she too can experience what it’s like to choose a gift that she knows one of her friends will really like. That extends to the card, on which she always colors a picture (in lieu of the signature which is currently a work in progress). An only child, this is one of the ways she learns about sharing.
I won’t lie. It isn’t just the valuable lesson for my daughter I’m mourning here. As the parent shelling out the bucks, I’d like to get a little thank you from your kid, and that grin upon opening goes a long way toward making us adults feel a little better about the frequent spending on other people’s kids.
So what gives? Do you have your kids open the presents during their party or wait for family time down the line?