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Would this be rude? Kid birthday party question

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
We are having a combined "friend" party for DS and DD in a couple of weeks at a local play place. It is a showroom for Rainbow swing sets, trampolines, and basketball goals. They have a ton of equipment for the kids to play on. We decided to combine them since they aren't old enough to really have their own friends yet, so we invite the same people to both of their parties- our friends' kids and our nieces and nephews. Anyway, the party is only 2 hours. We are having food and letting the kids play. Is it rude not to open their gifts there? Since it is a party for 2 kids, that means double the amount of gifts. I always write down who gets what so we can send out thank you cards, and I don't know if I can keep up with both at the same time! Plus it will cut into the playing time for the other kids. And the mess of opening everything there and carting it home sounds more difficult. We have nothing going on afterward, so we will take the kids home and let them open the gifts. So it's not like we are torturing them for days. Would you be offended if you went to a party where the gifts were not opened during the event?
post #2 of 17

I'm not Miss Manners, but it would not bother me to bring a gift to a child's party and have it opened later; and I can certainly see how that would improve the party, in your case!

 

With the exception of weddings, adults - and kids old enough to be in charge of (or significantly involved in) picking out a gift - do want to see the recipient open it and show pleasure and surprise.  But if the party attendees are all too young to have friends besides cousins and their moms' friends' kids, then gift-opening time would likely be a somewhat tearful exercise!  The gift openers will seem rushed and ungrateful, in their eagerness to get back to the awesome play equipment.  The gift givers will be bewildered:  "I was dragged away from playing, to watch other kids receive a mountain of new toys, and there's not one for me?"

 

As people walk in with gifts, tell them how thoughtful it was of them, to bring one.  If people ask, during the party, when the kids will open their gifts, simply say you wanted to give the kids as much time as possible, to play.  Then make sure you send those thank-you cards.  Have fun!

 

 

post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post

As people walk in with gifts, tell them how thoughtful it was of them, to bring one.  If people ask, during the party, when the kids will open their gifts, simply say you wanted to give the kids as much time as possible, to play.  Then make sure you send those thank-you cards.  Have fun!

 

 

I agree.  The only thing that I would do differently, is that I would outright tell both parent and child, right at the beginning when each person walks in with the gift, that you are going to open the gifts after the party and not during the party.  I wouldn't wait until someone asks during the party when the gift opening will occur.  If you don't tell the parent early on, it's awkward because then the parent might hang around longer than intended waiting for you to open the gifts and wonder what is going on.
 

 

post #4 of 17

maybe it's a regional thing? Because with the exception of bridal showers, baby showers, engagement parties (though I haven't been to as many of those), maybe retirement parties and sometimes milestone adult parties (thinking of my MIL's 65th) I've NEVER seen gifts opened at a birthday party around here.  My DD1 is 6, and we've never done it or been to a party where it's done... for all the reasons the OP said, such as having more time to play.

post #5 of 17

We don't open birthday presents during the party either. We are having DD1's birthday party this weekend at a toddler gym place and we also only have 2 hours for the party. With play, food and cupcakes there just isn't enough time for presents. And really, the kids would rather play. She's only going to be 3 though so maybe it will be different as she gets older.

post #6 of 17

I can understand where you are coming from and I agree. I always think it is kind of sad to make children sit and watch the birthday child open presents. Especially when they aren't really old enough to understand why they aren't getting presents too. All the kids really want to do is play.

 

However, with our family this would not fly. Not at all. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family and close friends expect to see our children open the gifts they have so thoughtfully selected. Feelings would be hurt.

 

If your family is more reasonable than ours, I say go for it!

post #7 of 17

Ehhhh... I'm of two minds. From a practical point of view, your approach makes sense. But thinking about my DD (who's three), she can get quite excited about giving gifts. Sometimes she helps choose them or wrap them, and I think she'd be a bit disappointed if she didn't get to give it to the birthday kid (and excitedly explain what it was and how to use it!). And then there's Mum, who often knits or sews things for the kids - she'd be sad if she didn't get to see DD open her gifts.

 

Do you think any of your family and friends would be like that? There's really no good answer when it comes to gift-giving. "No gifts" usually only works for some guests, if any, leading to embarrassment; ditto for "donate to charity in our name". Gift-opening sessions can be REALLY boring (my family are slow unwrappers, incapable of tearing paper, which doesn't help). Transporting the gifts elsewhere, you run the risk of mixing up cards and gifts so you don't know who to thank (ask my bridesmaids how I know!).

 

DD's parties haven't been too ghastly in that regard, now I think about it, but we had things to eat while we were opening gifts (all her parties have been outdoor picnics). So nobody was bored, 'cause they could just eat and chat quietly and watch if they were interested. Could you combine gift-giving with food-having, making sure the birthday kids got something to eat first, of course?

post #8 of 17

 

Gift opening during the party is normal/typical at the birthday parties that my dc have attended. Occasionally, gifts aren't opened until after. My kids haven't been offended, neither have I. I don't know anyone who has. Most people understand the parents' reasons - practical reasons like yours - the party location wasn't conducive to it - or personal beliefs - they wanted to take the emphasis off the gift-giving aspect - or some other reason, like the parents are from places where presents are opened after the party.

 

I sometimes think that just surviving a kid's birthday party is important and it's okay to take whatever reasonable measures you need to, in order to do that. 

post #9 of 17

All birthday parties I have attended with the exception of one, gifts are opened. DD has always loved watching kids open their gifts, especially the one from her. It's something she looks  forward too. I've never seen it be a problem for kids to see others get gifts. It's part of the tradition of birthdays.

 

The one where they were not, it seemed rude, but probably because a lot of things happening were rude. We were invited to a child's party with a candyland theme, 4pm. We showed up to a gigantic kegger with kids running around wild. There was no food, unless you brought your own or wanted the provided fruit punch and cheesy poofs. The beer was bring your own too, again we were not given the heads up. At one point there were pizzas delivered, for those that ordered it, not for the group. There were a few kid games organized. I was a little miffed that the duck duck goose game was played on the 3 concrete steps down to the pool deck. We waited around for the cake, since the host was all, "Awww, don't leave. We are about to do cake and presents." The cake was presented in a small room crowded with people, so not everyone could fit in to sing or see and then that was it. No presents. We did get a nice personal thank you 2 weeks later. It made up for a it a little.

 

But... if I was at a time limited party at a fun play place, I agree that it's OK to skip the present opening in favor of more play time. Be sure to give a heads up as guests hand you gifts, and thank you notes are essential.

 

 

post #10 of 17
We've been to parties done both ways. I think either way can be fine.

At all the parties we've been to where gifts weren't opened, we very quickly got very specific thank you notes. I think the detail and promptness of the thank yous really goes up -- the giver doesn't get to see the child open the present, so the note becomes more a bigger deal.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

At all the parties we've been to where gifts weren't opened, we very quickly got very specific thank you notes. I think the detail and promptness of the thank yous really goes up -- the giver doesn't get to see the child open the present, so the note becomes more a bigger deal.

 

I totally agree with this! I've been to parties where gifts weren't opened and I was a bit disappointed b/c I always choose a very thoughtful gift. But if a nice thank you note is sent right away it makes it okay. My SIL doesn't usually have my niece and nephew open gifts but she explained that where she is from (Colombia) it's considered rude to the rest of the children. I actually really love watching kids open gifts, even kids that aren't my own, but that's just me lol. OTOH when it is MY kids' parties I don't look forward to the gift opening part only because I always have a million things I'm doing but I feel like the guests expect it.
 

 

post #12 of 17

Interesting to read the replies here. It must be a cultural thing because in my country, it is kind of rude to be opening presents in front of everybody. First, because it might make others feel conscious if they brought a "smaller/less expensive/less flashy" present or if they didnt bring a present at all and second because it puts burden on the receiver to act enthusiastically over every single present even if s/he might not be THAT excited over some. I've always wondered why it's done this way in this country. The responses have shed light on it.


Edited by grumpybear - 9/30/11 at 11:30am
post #13 of 17
Not at all! If the party is only two hours and there are gifts for two kids, it would take up half the time of the party just to open gifts.

My kids are 7 and 5 and we've had maybe 8 birthday parties between them. We haven't opened gifts at any of their parties. I feel that birthday gifts have become too much of the focus at kid's parties these days. And from what I've seen, it creates an environment of greed and envy and jealousy in children who are normally super sweet and grateful. We open gifts at home, alone, a few at a time, so the kids can really svaor and appreciate each one. We then write invidiual thank you notes for each present. Sorry, got on my soapbox a bit. smile.gif
post #14 of 17

We always open gifts at our birthday parties, but I see no problem with people choosing to do it the other way. I don't see this as an etiquette thing at all...just a personal style thing.

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by chiefmir View Post

maybe it's a regional thing? Because with the exception of bridal showers, baby showers, engagement parties (though I haven't been to as many of those), maybe retirement parties and sometimes milestone adult parties (thinking of my MIL's 65th) I've NEVER seen gifts opened at a birthday party around here.  My DD1 is 6, and we've never done it or been to a party where it's done... for all the reasons the OP said, such as having more time to play.



It's never done any place I've lived. I've mentioned this before on MDC and people have been shocked--but we've attended dozens and dozens of kiddie parties, and gifts have never been opened at the party. 

 

ETA: And thank-you notes are of course always sent out!

post #16 of 17

I'd say it's about 50/50 here, mostly for older children and parties where the family is also attending is when gifts are opened at the party. I think the etiquette really depends on your circle of friends and where you live. Personally, we open gifts at parties, but it's usually the very last thing and it's mostly because the grandparents and other family want to see DS open their gifts.

post #17 of 17

 If there are a lot of gifts then I think it becomes a blur for the kids anyway and you don't really get a fabulous reaction.

I don't think it is rude to skip gift opening but someone may be disappointed. I'd make it clear from the start that the kids would not be opening gifts at the party.

You might take a photo of the child opening each gift and send it with a thank you note.

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