When I was a little girl, birthdays were a big deal. My parents usually held my birthday party at a cool location of my choice, like the local skating rink or McDonalds (when McDonalds still did cool birthday parties). I even chose the swimming pool a few times. Invitations would go out in the mail and we’d go skating for a few hours and then have a slice of pizza and cake. Then I’d sit down and open all of my presents from my little friends —we’d “oooh!” and “ahhh!” over the latest Barbie and My Little Pony. It was the moment I always looked forward to most as the birthday girl.
Even as a guest, I remember it being so cool to see what the birthday kid received and feeling that bubble of excitement when she’d get closer and closer and closer to opening my gift, something I thought she’d really love. It was a great way for me to experience first-hand the joy of giving.
But Harrison and I have yet to attend a party where the birthday boy/girl opened the presents in the company of the guests. I’ve noticed a trend lately not open presents at the actual party. Why is that?
I admit that we’ve done both ways — for his first birthday, we opened gifts in front of the guests and I think we all had a great time. Sure, the other one-year-olds toddled over to play with his toys since they didn’t understand the boundaries of gift-giving, but it was perfectly okay. Then for Harrison’s second birthday party, we didn’t open gifts in front of the guests – I had every intention to but after cake, Harrison was so wiped out that having him open 10+ gifts would have been so overwhelming.
On the other hand, the older he gets the less overwhelmed he is and the more important I think it is for him to be able to thank the gift-giver in person. And as a party guest, for him to get the joy out of seeing his friend love the present!
But I’ve also heard the argument that opening presents in private decreases any jealousy between friends. That the non-birthday kids would feel bored and left-out because they’re not the birthday kid. To that, I might ruffle some feathers but COME ON, PEOPLE. It’s okay for your kid to not have everything at the same time as another kid (but that’s a whole different post for a whole different day).
What do you think? Should presents be opened at parties? Why or why not?
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