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Birthday Party & Presents - is this odd?

post #1 of 69
Thread Starter 
I've been to a a few birthday parties of one particular family - in each one (2 diff. kiddos) the birthday child did not open gifts at the party. They save them until after everyone leaves to open them. My dd is always heart broken that they didn't open the gifts when they are there. I know that the gift opening can be a long, arduous process, especially when there are a lot of kids - but......

What do you all think?
post #2 of 69
We haven't opened the gifts at our past bday parties. For me it's just too much focus on the gifting. What put me off was one party when dd was 2, it was a 2 year old's bday with at least 15kids and all the presents were opened and all the kids were insane. They all wanted to play with all the new toys which the bday boy didn't want, and got to hear from the birthday boy about which things he didn't like.

Now we do small parties, and minimal gifts (handmade or found objects) so I don't have such an issue with it.
I think the birthday should be a special day, but not all about "what did I GET, and what did you get ME"
post #3 of 69
I think waiting sounds like a good idea, but I would feel like I was offending some of the givers b/c they should get to see dd's joy at their present
post #4 of 69
I wouldn't be offended & have done different things different years with dd. One year we had it at the beach, so we didn't open there. This past year dd wanted to open her friends gifts as they were leaving, so somewhat impromptu but it worked out ok. I agree with pp that I dont' like the focus on gifts so I try not to make it a huge deal.
post #5 of 69
I think it's rude not to open the gifts when your guest(s) are there to see them and get a thank you. You don't have to make it the focus of the party, you can open, say thank you, then have someone clear them away while another activity starts. People invest time, effort, and money into choosing, tracking down, and wrapping a gift. Opening it in front of them is the nice thing to do. If you don't want a birthday party focused on gifts, tell people not to bring them.
post #6 of 69
well......my ds is going to be 6 at the end of january. he has not yet opened presents at the party, mostly because i can't handle the embarrassment of his refusing to say "thank you" or be gracious. he can be downright rude. mostly i think it's because he has this abject terror (or embarrassment, idk) of being singled out and having the focus just on him. but it brings out the very worst in him.
we will continue to open gifts in private until he can compose himself properly. he practices that at my mom's at yule, or in front of me. but not in front of a crowd.

well.....i lied...i forgot about last year. we had a combined party with another child, and they did open things. but it was so chaotic with both children opening things that it wasn't a big deal for ds. but it would be if it was just him that was the focus. and until he gets it, we're not opening them publicly. i do wish we could, though!

pamela
post #7 of 69
I like when the kids open presents at a party, but I get that parents might know that it won't work for their kid (or some of the guests at their party) so I am not bothered when they haven't.

We have always opened gifts, but we don't do a party with friends until our kids are 3 and then the kids get a guest per year so it is always pretty easy to manage and when my kids were little they were parents I knew really well who my kids knew really well so if they weren't perfectly gracious - I knew these parents got my kids and where they were at in the learning process.

If your dd is feeling sad about not getting to see the gift opened - check with the mom and see if she can come over to play soon and get to see that the child has received the gift and is enjoying playing with it.

BJ
Barney & Ben
post #8 of 69
I feel sad when I have invested a lot of time and energy into picking just the right gift and the person doesn't open the gift until after I leave. I don't get to see the look of joy (or hate) when they see what I bought. My SIL never has her kids open the gifts until everyone leaves. I guess that's her choice but I don't like it.

Kathi
post #9 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
People invest time, effort, and money into choosing, tracking down, and wrapping a gift. Opening it in front of them is the nice thing to do. If you don't want a birthday party focused on gifts, tell people not to bring them.
This is what a Thank You note is for.
post #10 of 69
Well, I have to say that I've never been to or heard of a birthday party where the kids don't open the presents. My boy's first birthday was mostly family and it was in a relative's backyard, so the kids who weren't interested in participating were free to run around and play with the toys and playground. However....

Quote:
Originally Posted by NiteNicole View Post
I think it's rude not to open the gifts when your guest(s) are there to see them and get a thank you. You don't have to make it the focus of the party, you can open, say thank you, then have someone clear them away while another activity starts. People invest time, effort, and money into choosing, tracking down, and wrapping a gift. Opening it in front of them is the nice thing to do. If you don't want a birthday party focused on gifts, tell people not to bring them.
...I don't think that it's "rude" not to open them at the party, and in some cases (like, when you come from a rich family where a few of the people there aren't very rich and feel singled out/embarrassed at their gift or lack thereof in comparison to the other's) it may be best to open them privately. Your child can thank people as he/she is given the gift upon the guest's entrance; and then thank the individual on the phone afterwards (or send a card). Perhaps it should be indicated on your invitation that gifts won't be opened at the party so that people are expecting it. Also, in my experience; if you tell people that gifts aren't necessary; odds are they'll still show up with one (I'm that type of person - I like to give a gift to celebrate milestones).

And, in general, the party doesn't have to be focused on gifts whether they're opened there or not. As long as you fill it with other activities/play; then it won't matter.


Finally: to everyone celebrating a birthday in the next 365 days; I wish you a happy birthday
post #11 of 69
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melamama View Post
I think the birthday should be a special day, but not all about "what did I GET, and what did you get ME"
I guess from my point of view - I have taught my ddd that "this" day is about "so-n-so". We really talk about how this is "so-n-so's" special day. We (my dc & I) will go out of our way to find/make a special gift for that person. I have taught my daughter that there is joy in giving ....so from her 5yo point of view - she doesn't get to "see" that joy come to fruition. I understand that the child will still enjoy the gift - regardless of if we are there to see her open it or not - my 5yo hasn't quite gotten there yet!

Oh! And one more thing - everyone has always hung around at this family's party - not realizing it was the "end" - since most b-day party's we've attended have ended with the gifts....I know that a BUNCH of families hung around and finally left after a few brave souls asked if they were going to open gifts or not....(and then word spread that the party was over....)
post #12 of 69
I've been to no less than 4 parties in the past month (!), and gifts were not opened at any of them. I was grateful, as my 3 year old son would not be able to contain himself and resist "helping" the birthday child!

I think it's different if it's a family party, but when you have friends and lots of kids I think it's best not to open the gifts with guests present. I'm surprised at how many of you have experienced something different!!

I just assumed that this was what most people do, as that's been my experience at every party I've been to--I guess that's not true, we were at a 1st b-day party when my son was really little, and they did open gifts there. That's been the only time, though.

~Carrie
post #13 of 69
Thread Starter 
You know, I have a 13 yo and out of ALL the parties he's been to (and that'a a lot over the last 13 years) I have never been to a single party where gifts were not opened - until recently.....WHich is why it sort of threw me (and my kid's for a loop)
post #14 of 69
I get why parents don't open the presents, but my ds too is always upset because he doesn't get to see his friend open his present. I can only remember one or two parties that we've been to where the presents were opened while we were there. However, the only time we didn't open presents was when we had his party at a playground. But when they've been at our house, we always open the presents while our guests are there.

You know, I never remember a party as a kid where the presents were not opened, but it seems to be the norm now. It does feel weird to me.
post #15 of 69
Does it only feel weird when you don't get a "Thank You" card?
post #16 of 69
Age 3 and under - not weird.
Age 4 & up - weird.

Dukeswalker - I totally get what you are saying. My DS would be very disappointed if he went to a party and his present to the birthday person wasn't opened. It is fun for him to see the present being opened and the reaction by the person receiving it - especially if he picked it out, helped wrap it and made a card for them, too.
post #17 of 69
We didn't open presents at DS's last party, and I could tell some guests were taken aback. (The party was not at home.)

This year we plan on inviting fewer guests and leaving enough time for DS to open gifts.
post #18 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmd View Post
Age 3 and under - not weird.
Age 4 & up - weird.
I agree with this.
post #19 of 69
Quote:
Originally Posted by emma_goldman View Post
Does it only feel weird when you don't get a "Thank You" card?
That is just rude.
post #20 of 69
We don't. This is a conscious decision. I don't think it's wierd - it's common here.

I don't want the focus to be on gifting, I don't want class issues to come out, and I don't want to entice kids into poor behaviour (whining, crying for a present, etc. etc.) On a functional note, I don't want any of the gifts to get destroyed or broken by rambunctious guests (which I've seen happen). I don't want someone to be hurt by DDs' indifference to their present.

We send lovely thank you cards.
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