30 answers

Opening Presents at Birthday Parties?

I was wondering if it is customary to not open presents at birthday parties? We went to a birthday party for my son's friend (both are three years old) and they did not open gifts. The party was held at McDonalds. I thought it was a little strange at first, but afterwards I realized there was a lot of wisdom in that. It seems it would be difficult to hold the kids' attention... since it doesn't seem like three year olds are necessarily interested in watching present opening and would rather play on the playground. Plus, it'd be messy with all the paper wrapping, etc, and the seating arrangement there isn't all that conducive to letting all the kids watch the present opening...Maybe present opening would be better done at home? My 3rd old son is having his birthday party also at McDonalds soon and I honestly don't really care either way, but I just want to do the right thing. Any thoughts/advice would be so appreciated! :)

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

After reading all the helpful responses, I had completely planned to not open presents at the party, but I would still ask the guests we could open their child's gift if they felt their child wanted to see my child do so. So, we were at the party and it got close to the end, and I felt like we needed to open gifts! It just didn't seem right to not do so and my mother-in-law suggested that we do so during the cake and ice cream. Well, it turned out beautifully!! My husband first brought the child who brought whichever gift we were opening up at the time and set him/her next to my son. Then I opened the gift for my son while he ate his cake and ice cream. Then, held up the gift and my husband took a picture of gift, son, and gift-giver (it helped to keep track of who gave what gift as I wrote thank you cards). A lot of the kids gathered around, and many would point to the gift excitedly and say, "I brought that one!" It was perfect. Wrote all the thank you cards that same evening. So glad for all your suggestions, and this turned out just the right way! :)

Featured Answers

In my area/life its common to open gifts at parties. I'm one of those people who actually enjoy watching the gift receiver open the gift. I like to see for myself whether they are really enthused about it since I put a lot of thought into picking it out for them. I think my oldest daughter is much like me as she is only 5 and she thoroughly enjoys the gift opening part too. She even gets excited when its the gift we brought.

4 moms found this helpful

I know that my kids (even at 3) liked to see the guest of honor open what they gave him. It's thrilling to see him excited about it.
To me, it just seems a bit rude to not open presents in front of the givers (only time that might be different is a wedding reception). And definitely they should send out thankyou notes!

4 moms found this helpful

I find that with very young kids, or birthdays held outside of the home, it is typical to not open presents at the party. As the kids get older and are more interested in seeing their friends open gifts and understand that the presents are not "mine!" then you see more opening at the party. The places that you book for a child's party will usually guide you in this and not allow present opening on-site because it's such a pain to clean up the mess. The staff will provide bags to put the presents in so that you can take them home.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I posted this question on FB awhile back and got a uproar of comments. I myself get upset when my gift is not opened. My child has been known to spend up to 30 min picking out just the right gift for the friend and have gotten really upset when they didnt get to see if the friend liked it.
I also sense it as rude, and I know thats not the intention its just me.

I agree with the other poster that age does make a difference. At 3 you probably can get away with not opening, but I suggest to the parents that you announce you will not be opening gifts due to wanting to let the kids play more, but then offer a "if you would like us to open yours please let me know and I'll pull my son to the side with you to do so.

And I think where I get upset over this is when a gift is taken home to open, we never get a thank you card or a phone call letting us know they know what we got them and that they liked it. Really thats all I want is to know it was appreciated. So if you do take home gifts, please send out thank you cards. SOmetimes seeing the smile on the childs lips is awesome.

6 moms found this helpful

This is one of those topics that is so frustrating, because I am reading all about how the kids can't handle watching someone else open presents, they might get bored, they'd rather play...well, what about kids learning that sometimes it's all about SOMEONE ELSE and not ME! I think the presents should be opened, because someone picked it out...another good lesson, it's better to GIVE than to receive. People want to see the gift they bought opened. Also, someone mentioned that the toys might get opened and pieces lost....again, is there no control or expectations of the kids. someone can put the toys away after the wrapping is gone. when we have low expectations for our kids to learn these social lessons, they will meet them.

4 moms found this helpful

In my area/life its common to open gifts at parties. I'm one of those people who actually enjoy watching the gift receiver open the gift. I like to see for myself whether they are really enthused about it since I put a lot of thought into picking it out for them. I think my oldest daughter is much like me as she is only 5 and she thoroughly enjoys the gift opening part too. She even gets excited when its the gift we brought.

4 moms found this helpful

I know that my kids (even at 3) liked to see the guest of honor open what they gave him. It's thrilling to see him excited about it.
To me, it just seems a bit rude to not open presents in front of the givers (only time that might be different is a wedding reception). And definitely they should send out thankyou notes!

4 moms found this helpful

I find that with very young kids, or birthdays held outside of the home, it is typical to not open presents at the party. As the kids get older and are more interested in seeing their friends open gifts and understand that the presents are not "mine!" then you see more opening at the party. The places that you book for a child's party will usually guide you in this and not allow present opening on-site because it's such a pain to clean up the mess. The staff will provide bags to put the presents in so that you can take them home.

3 moms found this helpful

I personally would have my child open the gift in front of the guests. But that is just me.......

3 moms found this helpful

In my experience there seems to be lots of reasons why this occurs:

1: Parents are only allowed an alotted time frame at the venue.
2: Takes too long and kids would rather play.
3: Fights may occur depending on the age group.
4: Out of respect for kids who may not have as much.
5: Parents may feel mortified if their child opens a gift and is rude about it because it's something they don't want.
6: Toys may end up being opened and pieces lost before they even get home.

I personally don't mind if presents are opened or not. If the child does, great, if not, no biggie as long as a "thank you" note is sent:)

3 moms found this helpful

It's the "new thing" but we do parties at home not at places so we open them there ... if we were to have one at another place ... mmmmmmm (thinking hard) ... yep! Still opening gifts! I may hold off on the family member gifts and open them at the family party at gma's house. We have 11 bdays in the same month as my son's (two on the same date) so we always do a big family party sometime during the month and the kids get their own individual parties w/ friends and family is not expected to be invited. I find it rude myself but I am also not "miss manners" in all aspects.

Add ... ok, so from a lot of the comments of others who are not in favor along with myslef here are some ideas.
One, you can take the givers and the bday kiddo aside and do a small to do! about opening/reciving the gift make it more one on one, that could be nice. Also, if you choose to do the gift thing from home you can take photos of your munchkin while opening and have them developed or email them to the giver along with the thank you card, note, email.

2 moms found this helpful

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