Author Topic: Opening presents at birthday parties  (Read 4132 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Thipu1

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6695
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2012, 11:48:32 AM »
When a party is held at home, it's all right to take the gift wrap off the gifts.  Whether or not the actual gift is actually opened depends on the gift. 

Certainly, something like a toy truck could be opened and played with by the Birthday child and guests.  Something like a jewelry-making set or legos would definitely would be verboten during the party. 

Although guests might be disappointed not to see their gifts unwrapped, I can see the logic behind taking home wrapped gifts when the party is held at a remote venue. 

Of course, nice TY notes must be sent in this situation.  It's hard enough to keep track of who gave what at a small home party with young children.  Trying to do so in a place where all the gifts have to be packed up after the party is well-nigh impossible. 

m2kbug

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1416
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2012, 11:48:55 AM »
Those little parts and pieces can be a real nightmare.  At birthday parties, all the gifts are opened right there.  That's the fun!  Of course they all want to play with the toys right away, but I don't want all of those little parts being lost or broken or stepped on, so we don't open all of the boxes right away or we do so one at a time (patience!), not a free for all.  They can play with the main, big toy item while I take the packaging and little parts to get into later, or if it's something like Legos, no one breaks into the box.  First we pick up and get the kids contained in an area that they can play where all those little bits don't get stepped on. 

cattlekid

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 821
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2012, 01:42:24 PM »
As an aunt with two nieces, only one of whom is local, I can tell you that I am disappointed when we don't open gifts at my niece's birthday party. Between not seeing my niece's reaction when she receives the gift, and never getting a written or verbal thank you and never hearing about whether or not she liked/is using the gift, it makes me a little sad. Plus, it makes it harder to select subsequent gifts as I never know if my gifts are on the mark or way off.

franny

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2012, 02:13:55 PM »
   I would be very disappointed if I couldn't watch the birthday child open gifts. Seeing the excitement and delight on his/her face is the best part of a birthday party for me! I guess I would understand if circumstances made it inconvenient, but I think every effort should be made to allow your guests the small joy of seeing their gift unwrapped.
    Opening the actual gifts is another story. I was a bit put out when my dad started opening one of my son's toys for him on Christmas that I had decided had too many pieces to be safely unpacked in a room with almost 20 people and all the associated gifts and wrappings. I think parents should immediately take charge of the gifts and not allow any of the children to open packages without permission. In this case I think it's acceptable to discipline someone else's child (by telling them "no")

shygirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1271
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2012, 03:09:10 PM »
As an aunt with two nieces, only one of whom is local, I can tell you that I am disappointed when we don't open gifts at my niece's birthday party. Between not seeing my niece's reaction when she receives the gift, and never getting a written or verbal thank you and never hearing about whether or not she liked/is using the gift, it makes me a little sad. Plus, it makes it harder to select subsequent gifts as I never know if my gifts are on the mark or way off.

I always send thank you cards, or call people to say thanks, if we don't open the gift in front of them. 

I do understand though how you feel to not know whether or not the gift was liked, which is why I make a point to write thank you notes or call people.

penelope2017

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3022
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2012, 03:57:35 PM »
I am probably in the minority but I prefer to skip the gift opening both on the giving and receiving end until the kid is home and calm.

I am a parent to 3 and 5 year old girls. At these ages I find that whether we are the guest of honor or giving a gift, these parties are so noisy and hectic there is no big "ahhh" moment when the gift is opened. Either kids aren't paying attention, or they are trying to rip the gift open themselves in the other kid's face.

There is no real moment for anyone, especially the kids, to fully concentrate on each gift and give it the full appreciation. The birthday kid is over stimulated and just wants to get to the next gift to rip open.

With my kids, I find they are much more appreciative when we get home in some peace and quiet and I can have them focus on who the gift is from, read them the card, and allow them the time to let it all sink in and take their time as they open each gift. I'm sure that will change as they get older, maybe in 2nd/3rd/4th grade. But I much prefer to have my gift opened when the gift recipient can enjoy and focus on it most and for us to do the same.

I always make sure we send thank you notes and also verbally thank them in person when I see them as well.

Rohanna

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2320
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #21 on: December 30, 2012, 04:14:11 PM »
I'm sure as an adult you do- heck of course it's simpler and easier- and far less stressful. But honestly I'll bet if  you polled most of the guests at an averages child's party, especially if it is actually their friend as a guest of honor, not just a distant relative or child of a parent's friend- they would want to see their present opened- even if it is torn open quickly and excitedly. Part of being a host is looking out for the happiness of the guests- even if they are only little kids.

And isn't that who a larger kid's party is for- the kids? I don't throw a crazy kids party so that my kid can have a leisurely afternoon opening gifts later for my own ease and pleasure- I do it so he can bond with his little buddies and have a good time tearing around somewhere. If I don't want to deal with a lot of gifts, I won't invite a lot of little kids. If the location is to inconveniant- maybe a better one should be selected. It seems almost mean to say "here, give him your gift but you don't get to see him happy about it"- very little kids don't usually *get* after-the-event thank you cards the way adults do- and to be honest, really little kids might not connect the gift as being "from Bobby" unless Bobby hands it to him and jumps up and down excitedly while it's unwrapped.

I'm not saying it's 100% rude in every circumstance to just take a child's gifts home unopened- I'm just saying, it might be more of a big deal to some kids than people think- simply because kids tend to live in the moment more than adults.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

shygirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1271
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #22 on: December 30, 2012, 04:33:18 PM »
You make a good point that some kids would like to see their friends excitedly open the gift.

I'm pretty certain that wasn't the case at the two parties I was at.  The guests wanted to play with the gifts they gave the birthday child.

Rohanna

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2320
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #23 on: December 30, 2012, 07:21:26 PM »
Yeh you have to be on top of supervising it- and some people seem to take parties to mean "someone else will watch my kid, right?"  :-\
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

penelope2017

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3022
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #24 on: December 30, 2012, 09:31:32 PM »
I'm sure as an adult you do- heck of course it's simpler and easier- and far less stressful. But honestly I'll bet if  you polled most of the guests at an averages child's party, especially if it is actually their friend as a guest of honor, not just a distant relative or child of a parent's friend- they would want to see their present opened- even if it is torn open quickly and excitedly. Part of being a host is looking out for the happiness of the guests- even if they are only little kids.

And isn't that who a larger kid's party is for- the kids? I don't throw a crazy kids party so that my kid can have a leisurely afternoon opening gifts later for my own ease and pleasure- I do it so he can bond with his little buddies and have a good time tearing around somewhere. If I don't want to deal with a lot of gifts, I won't invite a lot of little kids. If the location is to inconveniant- maybe a better one should be selected. It seems almost mean to say "here, give him your gift but you don't get to see him happy about it"- very little kids don't usually *get* after-the-event thank you cards the way adults do- and to be honest, really little kids might not connect the gift as being "from Bobby" unless Bobby hands it to him and jumps up and down excitedly while it's unwrapped.

I'm not saying it's 100% rude in every circumstance to just take a child's gifts home unopened- I'm just saying, it might be more of a big deal to some kids than people think- simply because kids tend to live in the moment more than adults.

I think it depends on the ages as I mentioned. My 5 year old enjoys picking out gifts but couldn't care less if she sees it physically opened. I've yet to.be at a kids party.in her group where they open them, so I guess that helps.. Of course these parties are for the children and their enjoyment,  all of them. I don't plan my kids' parties around my enjoyment. Otherwise they'd be a lot different.

ETA: In terms of polling the guests,  we have been to the birthday parties of every child that has been to my child's bday parties and she's only had two kids parties so far, and none of them have had gifts opened at them. So I'd venture that is the most definitive "poll" that could be taken. If these parents/kids found it hurtful or disappointing to not have their gift opened, they'd probably do it at their own parties, no?

Most party places around here just don't do it as part of the event, and no one, in addition to myself, appears to complain or request otherwise. If I had a party at home, I'd probably open the gifts, but quite frankly, it isn't the most economical or convenient choice at the moment. These aren't enormous parties either. We're talking ten kids if that.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 09:41:03 PM by penelope2017 »

Rohanna

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2320
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2012, 12:55:00 AM »
I used to be a mother's helper as a young teen- so I've probably been to 100+ parties- I'd say I only went to 3-4 that gifts weren't open, and it was a definate damper. I can see how if it's not a regional norm, then the kids would be used to it.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

kudeebee

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2184
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2012, 02:09:00 AM »
If adults take charge of the gift opening, it can be done without a lot of chaos.  You really need two adults to help with this. One to be in charge of the gifts, the other to write down what was received or take pictures/video and help with "crowd" control of the guests.

They way I did it with my kids and the way my dd does it is as follows:

  • Move birthday child (bc) to the front of the room or an area that works to unwrap gifts.  Have the other kids sit back, facing bc.
    Adult hands gift to bc and has guest who gave gift come and sit by bc.
    BC opens gift, shows others, then has a picture taken with guest who gave it.
    Guest returns to seat, adult takes gift and puts back in bag (if one) and then puts gift elsewhere--black garbage bag or laundry basket works good for this
    Adult picks up next gift, guest who gave it comes forward and procedure is repeated.

We have found this works great.  Guests get to see gifts opened and feel special as they sit by bc while bc opens their gift, they get their picture taken, pictures are great way to help remember who gave what in case card gets lost, gifts get mixed.

We do not allow the gifts to be opened and played with at the party.  We have never had any problem with guests wanting to do this, if they asked, they were told "no, the gifts are already put away".

We always open gifts at the end of the party. Figure about 1 1/2 minutes a gift. Gets the guests seated and hopefully a little calm.  If there is extra time left over, we take group pictures and that seems to keep them entertained until parents come.

If it is an adult/child party, we do it the same way, though don't invite the adults to come up--some want to, some want bc to come over by them. Depended on age of bc what was done. We still don't open the gifts when all the guests are there.  Cuts down on havoc, losing parts, something getting broken, fights over who plays with the toys.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2012, 02:26:20 PM by kudeebee »

Blondie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 120
  • 42
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #27 on: December 31, 2012, 10:05:15 AM »
I think it must be a regional thing. We never opened gifts at parties for friends growing up, nor did it happen at any younger siblings parties, or the kids I babysat for, and I really don't remember anyone else doing it either. I mentioned it to DF as I was curious and he (who grew up 250 miles south of me) looked at me like I had two heads and said of course you opened gifts, and then played with them. I think there was also a difference of scale though as well- Where I grew up people had small houses and were often more spread out from school friends and so most kids had their parties at outside vendors, and where he went to elementary school in his neighborhood, could walk everywhere, and people had larger more modern homes and large backyards, so most parties were held at home. That being said, I don't really think either way is wrong as long as an adult is there to assist in writing down who gave what so that thank you cards can be written (at least that was the only part we agreed on.)
"He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which." Douglas Adams

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5077
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #28 on: December 31, 2012, 10:52:13 PM »
I've not been to too many kids' parties, but like I said, to me the norm is to unwrap the presents at the party, but not necessarily play with them (maybe with a couple of exceptions, like a one-piece truck or something). I think that's something that could easily vary by region/social circle, though, and even the particular child--the post about young children being overstimulated by gifts and just wanting to rip into the next one reminded me of my cousin's kid's parties. The child was three, four, and five, I think, when we went to her family-only parties, and was so terribly rude and greedy (though at that age I blame the parents for not teaching/correcting her) it just made me ill to watch. She got these huge, expensive, multi-part gifts from her doting aunts and uncles, and as soon as she got the paper off she would be like, "Another one!" in a demanding tone. Then at the very end her parents would try to make her say one big "thank you" to everyone and suddenly, she was shy::) But gift-opening was a major "activity" of the party, indeed the only activity aside from nibbling snacks and cutting the cake, so we all had to sit around her and watch.

Like a lot of things I don't think the activity itself (opening or not opening the gifts at the party) is rude, but it depends on how well it's managed, which is where the host and, if applicable, parents of guests come in. I could see how not opening the gifts could be made rude, as well--say, if the host basically grabbed the gift and stockpiled it with a greedy glint in their eye, then begrudgingly gave the guest a couple of pretzels and tried to get rid of them right away, with no games/crafts/toys/etc. for the kids to play with.
~Lynn2000

kareng57

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12255
Re: Opening presents at birthday parties
« Reply #29 on: December 31, 2012, 11:03:37 PM »
I am probably in the minority but I prefer to skip the gift opening both on the giving and receiving end until the kid is home and calm.

I am a parent to 3 and 5 year old girls. At these ages I find that whether we are the guest of honor or giving a gift, these parties are so noisy and hectic there is no big "ahhh" moment when the gift is opened. Either kids aren't paying attention, or they are trying to rip the gift open themselves in the other kid's face.

There is no real moment for anyone, especially the kids, to fully concentrate on each gift and give it the full appreciation. The birthday kid is over stimulated and just wants to get to the next gift to rip open.

With my kids, I find they are much more appreciative when we get home in some peace and quiet and I can have them focus on who the gift is from, read them the card, and allow them the time to let it all sink in and take their time as they open each gift. I'm sure that will change as they get older, maybe in 2nd/3rd/4th grade. But I much prefer to have my gift opened when the gift recipient can enjoy and focus on it most and for us to do the same.

I always make sure we send thank you notes and also verbally thank them in person when I see them as well.


Maybe it depends on the size of the party.  I'm aware that in some regions, the tradition is to invite the entire class to a party, and I agree that opening 25 or 30 presents could be quite time-consuming.

But if that's not the case, I think it's kind of disappointing if the gifts are whisked-away, to be opened later.  For most child birthday party-attendees, part of the experience is seeing the delight when the gift is opened.

I'm not talking about adult birthday parties, when the emphasis might be on celebration and gifts considered optional.  In that case, I can understand gifts being swiftly relocated and opening/thanks takes place later.