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Birthday party etiquette

Discussion in 'Parents Off Topic' started by joy orz, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. joy orz

    joy orz Approved members

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    When did the trend start that kids do NOT open presents at the party? Lately all of Ava's friends have been having birthday parties. We bring a gift, it gets put on the table, everyone has a good time, but no one opens the gifts until the guest leave.

    What is that about? Yesterday, Ava had her 5th birthay :D and we did cake then started to open gifts and one of the mom's said..."Wow she's opening her gifts now? I thought no one did that anymore."

    So wierd. I'm guessing it's to not make the kids feel bad that they didn't get gifts or something? But I've got to tell you, the kids all really enjoyed seeing Ava open her gifts and reading the cards they made. :) And when we go to parties, Ava really likes picking out a special gift then seeing the look on her friend's face when they open it.

    So what's the etiquette these days?
     
  2. mom24grlz

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    We always open gifts at the actual party, and everyone we know family/friends does this also. Maybe the parents are worried that their child won't like some of the gifts, so they wait until the guest leave. That way no one is hurt if the child hates the gift???
     
  3. sweetmom

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    I have always had my daughter open her gifts while everyone is at the party but I have a sister-in-law who never allows her kids to open the gifts. The giver usually likes to see the gift opened and the child's reaction to it. This is a good way for kids to learn about etiquette themselves, how to be gracious while giving OR receiving gifts.
     
  4. DsMom

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    Yeah, this used to bother me too when my oldest first started attending birthday parties. This definitely happens more often than not...it is rare to see the child open presents now...but I always like to see it happen. I think it is an important lesson to learn to open presents and thank people graciously whether you like or already have the item or not. As a child, I LOVED watching people open the present I brought. I remember being on pins and needles until they opened my gift. Now, we just send the gift out into the void...like a ticket we just need to drop off in order to be admitted to the party!:rolleyes:

    That said, I must admit that I have joined this sad bandwagon. We usually have my kids parties at a place other than my home...usually at a fun bowling/laser tag place. The party is planned as to how much time for pizza, bowling, cake, etc...and not much time is left to open gifts. We would have to take time from the bowling to do so. I think this is how this trend got started. So many parties are not in the child's home now...and the time allotted at other venues does not always allow for present opening.

    Luckily we usually have a "family" party as well...and that gives my kids a chance to use their gift-opening manners!
     
  5. Becky Stevens mom

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    Ive noticed that too Joy and am confused by that behavior:confused: My kids have always opened gifts at the party to exclaim and show their joy at each gift and show it off to the others. But many parties we go to the kids wait till everyone leaves so you dont have that fun of watching them open your gift.

    And Happy birthday to Eva!!!:) I cannot believe she is 5 already!:cwds:
     
  6. 3kidlets

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    I first noticed this when my oldest was little and started attending bday parties (about 11 years ago). I thought it was strange but I did see it become a trendy. However, I did read something in a parenting magazine once that said it was a good idea with small children to prevent melt downs and crying. I know I've been to parties when small children get upset about someone getting gifts and trying to grab everything. However, this is very small children who don't know better (like toddlers). I think it is ridiculous for older children. But I've been to some parties recently with elementary aged kids and they opened the gifts during the party.
     
  7. jules12

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    I have noticed this too - I thought it was perhaps because the birthday child cannot sit still long enough to open the gifts and/or the parents just didn't want to mess with it.

    My kids always sat down and enjoyed having their "moment" while they opened their presents. I agree, kids like watching other kids open the gifts they picked out.
     
  8. KatieSue

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    I have a friend who does this. Her reasoning is that it's less hurtful to the gift giver if the child doesn't seem to like the present, or gets 4 of the same thing.

    I personally think it's a good lesson in being polite and gracious when opening a gift you may not particularly like.

    She did, however, make sure that thank you notes were written. Which seems to be something that no one does anymore along with rsvping to the event.
     
  9. hawkeyegirl

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    We did this with Jack's 5th birthday party, I believe it was. He had a joint party with another little boy from his class and they invited the whole class. So you had 20 kids, each bringing a gift for each boy...40 gifts. We would have spent the entire time opening presents. None of the kids would have wanted to sit through that. Heck, I wouldn't have wanted to sit through that.
     
  10. minniem

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    I've been noticing this more and more at the parties we attend. I think it is just the new thing to do maybe???

    It is nice to see the birthday child open their presents though, isn't it?:)
     
  11. frizzyrazzy

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    definitely have seen it as a trend - one I dislike. I think like you said Joy, kids can't learn that it feels, often, just as good to give a present as to get a present unless they can see it for themselves. I also think it's an important lesson to learn that sometimes it's "your" special day and you get all the attention, and sometimes it's someone else's and you have to sit and be gracious and watch.

    I know when I've asked around parents often say it's so "no one feels bad" and that "it's not about the presents" but you know...I don't see ANY invites being sent where they say "please, no presents" so I don't buy that excuse at all.
     
  12. Beach bum

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    Becoming more and more common. So is lack of thank you notes.

    It's more common at parties that are not done in the home. We went to a bowling party and they only gave you 1 hour to bowl and 45 min to eat. The mom decided that it was best to have the kids eat slowly and not choke on food than to rush the kids and eat and have them all sick to their stomachs.

    I don't mind at all if the kids don't open presents, I totally understand. What I do mind is the lack of thank you notes. Yes, it is time consuming, but if my kid can buy your kid a gift, a quick simple thank you, even if it's via email would be appreciated.
     
  13. Tigerlilly's mom

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    Yes, I have seen this more and more often also...as Wendy said, I see it more often at parties held outside of the home, or if they party is being shared between siblings. I can understand this, they have the party place for only 2 hours and have 15+ kids there, opening all those gifts would take up a large chunk of time that the kids could be having fun.

    At home parties, especially with the younger kids, we put the gifts out in a circle with two chairs in the middle, have the kids come and sit next to the gift they brought and when it's time for the birthday kid to open the gift they sit next to them on one of the chairs. This really helps with the overcrowding of the birthday child trying to open gifts with kids practically sitting on their lap.
     
  14. mom2Hanna

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    When my oldest was in preschool I noticed at all the parties with his class, present time turned into a feeding frenzy with one little girl in particular leading the charge. The presents were grabbed, half the time the birthday kid didn't get to do more then start tearing before all the other kids were "helping". I was mean mom who made my kid keep his hands off. And when his party rolled around, we did not open presents at the party and that one little girl left crying because she didn't get to open his presents. I don't do presents at parties for the 2-5/6 yr old set because I think at that age it is either boring or too hard. Over 6, I leave it up to my kids. They generally liked to open them at the party and liked to see what other kids get when they attend.
     
  15. Lisa P.

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    I have never in my life heard of this.
     
  16. hawkeyegirl

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    Yup. That's where I've seen it too - bigger parties, younger kids, and limited time at the facility. We would have had 20 kids climbing the walls if we would have forced them to sit through the opening of 40 gifts at Jack's 5th birthday party.
     
  17. Lisa P.

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    We have had three invites in the last month. All three said suggested not to bring presents.:)

    We have a round robin if we have a party with more than a few kids. Everyone who wants to participate brings a present, they get put in a pile. When the time comes, everyone sits down and the birthday kid gives each kid from the party one of the gifts (of course we need to buy one too so our kid gets to have one!) and everyone opens at once.

    That way the birthday kid gets to be special (in charge), and we can avoid the "meh, that's nice, where's the next one?" attitude kids can get when they have a party with dozens of presents.

    It's not ideal -- some parents don't like buying for just some other kid, some probably see it as my cheap way to avoid the omnipresent and to me odd "gift bag" at the end of the party, and my kids always whine when they are reminded of it. But they're always happy during the round robin and they can enjoy the party without spending the whole time looking covetously at the gifts. . . .
     
  18. L101418

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    Me neither. Odd.

    Me too. No crowding!
     
  19. ShanaB

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    I've been to very few parties where kids open presents and to the point others have made, they are usually outside the home and parties are packed full of other stuff. With both my kids I always write thank you cards though...it feels too wrong to bring home a pile of presents and never say another word about it. However, that isn't the norm either...usually you never hear a word. This year since it's our first drop off party (son is turning 5), we're going to take a picture of each child at the party and put it in with the thank you card as well.
     
  20. bnmom

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    I've never seen such a thing. The boys parties (and all their friends parties) always include opening gifts. The birthday child loves it, and the friends are always anxious to see what they got (and to huddle around and yell out "that one's from me!") We do that at home and away parties (magic mountain, skating, bowling, whatever.)

    If any child feels left out....well, ummm...it's not your birthday. You'll get your turn. Now suck it up and practice your manners :)

    I have noticed that rsvp'ing and thank you notes are rare. I wish they weren't.
     

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