Not Opening Gifts at Party

Updated on February 04, 2008
P.P. asks from Lansing, IL
52 answers

This may be just me, but I thought I'd ask all of you. I have been to quite a few children's birthday parties lately (ages 2-5) and have noticed of the last 6 that I have attended only at one did the child open the gifts at the party. AIs this a new thing? I am planning a four year old party for my daughter andwant to know if this is expected. I thought it was a littel strange the fiirst party I went to and the child never opened the gifts, but then soon realized it seemed to be the norm. Just wondering if you have noticed it or if you chose not to have your child open the gifts what was the reason.....

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So What Happened?

Wow, I would have never guessed I would have revieved so many responses. I have to say it was a pretty 50/50 split for openeing and not opening. I am having her party at the end of the month and have decided because it is going to be at a gym with a 2 hour time slot, I am not going to be opening gifts. To teach gratitude to my darling, I am going to sit down and write thans you notes and going to have her sign them and tell her what the notes are used for. Thanks so much for everyone's ideas...I know next time I have a dilemna about something I wouldn't hesitate to ask.

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J.L.

answers from Chicago on

I opted not to open gifts at my daughter's last two birthday parties. I have found that kids between the ages of 2 and 5 don't have the attention span to sit and watch someone else open 10 gifts that they wish they were getting themselves. Instead, I took photos of my daughter opening each gift -- after the party. Then I wrote out thank you notes being specific about the gift that was given and I included photos of her opening that person's gift.

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

Sometimes parents wait till later because of time constraints at birthday party facilities. I also think when the tots are young it can be overwhelming for the birthday child and confusing to the others on why they can't play with the toy. I think for older children it shouldn't be an issue. But again, a personal preference, there isn't a wrong or right way to do it, and if you want to do it go for it!!

But it is a bit disappointing when you spend the time and energy to buy a great gift and you don't get to see the child open it!

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K.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

My kids open their presents at parties but then again we really only do family...We sometimes have a couple of the neighborhood kids come join us but we usually make cake and present time right at the end of the party....We never do it midway though...

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T.K.

answers from Chicago on

Isn’t this a great teachable moment for the children?
If your child is the birthday child, you teach them before hand about being gracious and thankful for every gift. You teach them how to make their friends and family feel wonderful about giving. I try to teach my children – it is NOT about the gift, it is getting together with friends that count the most.
If your child is the party guest, you teach them how to be patient, how to let their friend be the star of the show for a few hours, how NOT to be jealous or upset that their friend is getting a gift and they are not and how to feel great about GIVING.
In both cases you can practice and role play so your children know how to handle the situation. Really – it seems like not only a great time to celebrate with friends, but a life lesson as well.
Here are some ideas for those parties where their may be time constraints: how about start opening presents while the kids are eating pizza and cake? The birthday child can be at the front of the room, and one by one each child brings their present up and the birthday child opens it, thanks them and then the guest goes back to their chair and the next guest comes up. That way kids that have a hard time paying attention can be eating.
When we have parties at home we put two chairs in the front of the room, one for the birthday child and one for a guest. We put everyone’s name in a hat and pick a name. That child comes up, sits next to the birthday child and gives him/her the present. That way everyone knows who the gift is from and the guest gets to be in the spotlight, too! I have a friend write down who the guest is and what the present is. I also take a picture of the two kids together (to use as a thank you later). My child thanks them and then we call the next guest. Works great! Everyone gets recognized!
I know it may sometimes be easier on the parents to open gifts at home……but should we not consider the feelings of the guests as well? I know my kids are very disappointed if the birthday child does not open their gifts. I can not imagine giving my friends a gift and not having them open it in front of me.
I hope these ideas help.

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K.C.

answers from Chicago on

We have done the same. We had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese for my daughter's 2nd birthday and we didn't open the gifts there. It was just too chaotic and it's hard to get a bunch of kids in that age group to sit while you open gifts. I felt weird about doing it but I think most of the Mom's appreciated not having to sit through my 2 year old opening presents and having to contain their high energy kids who just wanted to go run around and have fun. I think it's a personal choice and I don't think (would hope not at least) that anyone would be offended if you opened them later. Whatever your comfortable with. I just made sure that we sent thank you notes immediately and made specific comments about the gifts received so they knew that she enjoyed them and even put in there how much she enjoyed being at home opening them. Good luck and happy birthday to your little one!

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C.D.

answers from Chicago on

I belong to a play group and we have decided not to open gifts at our parties as well. The main reason is that kids at that age tend to fight over toys as well as the birthday child just doesn't seem interested in opening the gifts. All they want to do is play so why bother with the gifts. This way, after everyone has gone, she can open her gifts at her leisure and enjoy them instead of being overwhelmed by them. And it is easier for you to see who gave what without confusion. And if she does get too many toys, you can put some away instead of inundating her with a ton of new toys.

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

I think opening or not opening gifts at a child's party is largely based on the amount of time the party lasts. Often times birthdays that are held outside of the home (bowling alleys, Chuck E. Cheese, gymnastics parties) have a set amount of time for the activities and eating. If pizza and cake are involved, this takes time. Sometimes there is not enough time for all the gifts to be opened in this time frame. Also, it gets so chaotic with all the kids swarming around the birthday kid, wanting to see what the gift is. I set up two chairs and have the birthday child and the gift giver sit in them. All the rest of the kids must sit down to watch. I personally think if a child has brought my daughters a gift, it's polite to open it at the party. I do see a trend in not opening gifts, too.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

I think it's oK.. especially @ parties where there's a time limit @ a location, like Pump-it-Up or Little Gym or something--this way there's more time for the kids to play, and less time pushing the guests off the birthday kid while unwrapping gifts! But I do think its very important in those situations to send thank you notes to acknowledge the gift and the thought that may have gone into it. Emily Post agrees.

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S.P.

answers from Indianapolis on

Dear P.,
Whether it is the norm or not I have no ides but it seems to me that it is just rude and that the "hosts" just don't want to be bothered.
I would not follow this at your party.
I have 8 grandchildren 8 and under and they always open their gifts and express thanks etc.
My rule of thumb was that you invite the same number to the party as the age of your child (or less) so that it is not too overwhelming for either you or your child.
Maybe people are inviting too many to the party and not wanting to take the time to enjoy opening the presents or expect children to be patient.
I notice that many people today do not take the time to teach their children good manners in such situations or just assume that preschoolers are not capable of having good manners.
Enjoy your party!

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J.F.

answers from Fort Wayne on

Just my opinion but I say let them open the gifts, as to chaos, this would be the perfect time to teach a child a manner or two. Respect for others things, patience and not crowding the center of the room/stealing the lime light are a few that come to mind.
Maybe that sounds hardcore but obviously this is a change from when we were little and change it not always a good thing. Children that cannot be mannered in situations like a party, then should not go to parties. Sorry just me being me and being blunt but that is the way that I see it.

I tell my girls 1) Life is not suppose to be about being fair all the time and 2) Things do not always have to be equal for her and her sister. I just do not want them to go into adulthood playing the unfair card and or she got that, I want that too attitude. If you want it (in life) go get it yourself is another one they hear from me.

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J.D.

answers from Chicago on

Hi P.!

I too was troubled by that. Then after giving it some thought, I realized that if the party is going great and the kids are having fun, why stop the fun to open presents? The kids aren't really interested in that part of it since only one child is getting the presents anyway! I would open presents if you need the kids to slow down, sit down, group them together, etc. But....if you don't open the presents at the party, I feel strongly that you should send a detailed thank you note mentioning what the present was so the parent who purchased the gift is certain you received it.

Good luck and have a great party!

J.

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K.S.

answers from Evansville on

My kids are quite a bit older, however, most parties they have had/gone to the birthday child has opened the gift. The child giving the gift is allways excited to see the birthday person open their gift. I prefer it that way too. It's fun to watch the person opening the gifts and see what they got.

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D.T.

answers from Muncie on

Personally, I enjoy watching small children go wild with wrapping paper. Do what feels right to you.

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M.H.

answers from Chicago on

In our group, we exchange names. When there is a party, the "gift" is really from everyone in our group. We do all the playing first, and save the cake and gift opening for the end, and maybe a 15-30 window for a last bit of play. It seems to work really well for us. Sometimes the kids want to play with the new stuff, but usually it gets passed around to look at, and stays in it's box until after the friends have gone home.
All but one party have been in a home setting though.
I think it is also however you choose to do it, but I always feel weird when a gift isn't opened. It is exciting to see their reaction to what was given.

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K.T.

answers from Chicago on

I work at a nature center where we have children's parties for ages 4-10. Rarely do the parents open the gifts at the party. One reason is that there is no embarresment if a gift isn't as expensive as others, another reason is that if the child is young, sometimes you can't stop him/her from expressing displeasure at the gift, and that leads to hurt feelings. Sometimes there is simply a time restraint.

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H.Q.

answers from Chicago on

We opened them when my daughter was one and everyone seemed to get bored. So, we waited until it was just the immediate family for her 2nd party and people seemed to have more fun (and we didn't have a bunch of 2 year olds getting jealous about toys, etc).

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C.U.

answers from Chicago on

We did NOT open gifts at my daughter's 2nd birthday party only b/c the room we were renting we could only get for 2 hours, there were a lot of kids there and there was a full size carousel as well as a gym area for the kids to go nuts in, we also served pizza and cake. Gifts just didnt fit into the time frame, we couldnt even get the kids to sit and eat, mostly it was the adults eating while the kids played.

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R.N.

answers from Chicago on

We didn't open gifts at my daughter's first birthday for a lot of reasons. First and most importantly, I had guests that weren't in a financial position to give something. When anyone asked what she wanted I said, no gift necessary, just come! Some people brought gifts, some didn't-- I didn't want to make the ones that didn't feel bad. I of course write personal thank you notes for all my daughter's gifts.

I also think that it's hard on other little children to see toys that aren't for them-- and gift opening can be really borring for the adults (our party was mostly adults.)

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A.P.

answers from Chicago on

I think it just depends on the situation. For my childs first birthday, we ended up not opening gifts. There were WAY too many things to open, and mostly adults in attendance. I personally get bored and walk away after the first handful of gifts when the child is taking forever to open them. I have been to parties where the kids are really into it and paying attention, and I have been at parties where the mom is the person left opening the gifts because all the kids have left to play. If there is a reasonable amount of presents to open, fine. But I find everyone, including the kids, get bored after too many presents.The kids I know anyway would rather go off and play games with eachother than sit and watch. But if the birthday kid wants to, then I would definately open them.

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A.B.

answers from Phoenix on

I threw a party for my 3 year old son and we tore right in to those presents! We've also been to two parties in the last month and they opened their presents in front of everyone. I didn't know that not opening the gifts was happening. I would think that unless there is some crazy time crunch all presents should be opened with the guests. It's the guests who brought these nice things to give. Why not open them? I didn't really answer your request but wanted to leave a comment.

A.

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K.

answers from Chicago on

Most of the parties I have attended have not included gift opening. For my children, I actually prefer it this way, although I don't think there is a right or wrong way to go about this. I think the fun of a new toy can be lost on a young child who is overwhelmed by the party and the number of gifts. We usually open one gift per day after the party. This way the gift is appreciated and used that whole day. Once the toy is appreciated this way, I find my sons come back to it over and over. We also make a big deal out of who the gift came from and the generosity of that person. I hope this helps my children appreciate the gifts they receive from others. The other bonus to this method is it gives us all something to look forward to for days after the party.

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C.P.

answers from Kokomo on

The reason I never opened at the party is I think it's pure chaos. All the kids clamor around to get the best front row view, they all want gifts of their own, and subtle comparisons are always made. How sad when the bday child adores someone elses gift and barely glances at the one your child spent time choosing! I think I want our parties to be about the friendships etc not about the presents. That said, I never get upset if we are at a party for someone else and they open presents..it's just my preference!

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J.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I absolutely HATE it when people have a "gift opening" HOUR. I mean, it's so boring! I promised that I would never ever make people sit through that painful long time.

I have found that what works best, is when people come over, I let them go ahead and give their gift to my child. They really enjoy it because they're not having to sit and pretend to be interested in all the different gifts a child is opening, but also, it gives them a little one on one time with the birthday child. I have been told by numerous people that they really appreciate not having to sit through the fake oooohs and aaaaahs of gift opening.

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E.B.

answers from Chicago on

I was really surprised, too, when a friend told me that this was the norm at birthday parties. Her daughter just turned 5. We talked about it, and although she didn't feel it was right about doing it at her daughter's party, she knew that all the other kids' parties were like that so she didn't want to make her daughter stand out. I think the consensus is that at that age, kids have a hard time sitting still for as long as it takes to open maybe 10 + presents. I don't know if I agree, necessarily, but that's the motivation. She did, of course, have her daughter send thank you cards.

Another idea is to have the birthday girl open a guest's gift as the guest is leaving, assuming they all leave separately. I don't know if that's practical, but at least the guest is still there.

Good luck!

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter was dissappointed by this...she wanted to see the child open her gift

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S.W.

answers from Chicago on

Personally, I want to see the person open the gift to see their reaction. I spend a lot of time picking out the perfect gift. When my dd was little I would have her open her presents while we were eating cake and also had an activity available for those who didn't want to watch. If a child got upset because they couldn't have the toy, I would let them be her special helper and put the wrapping paper in the trash bag.

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L.

answers from Chicago on

I just had my 4 year olds party and we did not open gifts for two reasons

1. We had a lot of kids and it is very time consuming
2. I preferred that the guests have fun playing
3. I think it can be hard on the other small children as they see all the gifts and they just get a small gift bag

It is up to each parent to do what they want, and size and location might dictate what is best

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A.

answers from Chicago on

At one of my daughter's parties, we saved the gifts to open at home due to time restraints. It was actually very nice opening the gifts at home with just the family. We were sure to send thank-you's. We prefer to do it this way because it seems to get really crazy with a bunch of kids trying to be as close to the birthday girl as possible while she opens her gifts.

Just do whatever works best for you.

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R.

answers from Chicago on

Kid parties= We don't open gifts
Family parties= we open gifts.

Do people open gifts at weddings? No one ever thought that was rude now did they?

I personally find it nice NOT to open gifts. Kids don't have an attention span long enough to sit through all the gift opening. At the last few kids birthdays we've had, we liked to open the gifts when it's less hectic--that is when everyone goes home.

Everyone receives a lovely thank you. Now that would be RUDE if they didn't.

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

My personal feeling is it is RUDE. If you don't want to bother with gifts or you think your child is too young then put it in the invitation that you don't want any given! Part of gift giving is watching the child open it! If you can't be bothered to spend the time letting your child open gifts then don't expect one either.
How sad...this was always the time I coached my kids how to be gracious, how to thank people for the personal gift, how to be polite! I guess it is a sign of the entitlement mentality society we live in that says our child DESERVES a gift and doesn't have to personally acknowledge it...

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A.

answers from Chicago on

Wow - you've gotten a lot of advice to think over here! Sounds like the bottom line is - it's really up to you what you want to do based on your location, time constraints, etc.

I actually love the "no gifts" idea. Most kids already have so much and it'd be great just to have a fun party!

Hope it turns out wonderful for you!

www.stressfreebirthdayparties.com

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

I think that for a child's party it is appropriate to open the gifts. At my son's first birthday party, he didn't much care to open the presents, so his older cousins got to do it. The older adults at the party enjoyed seeing the toys he got, even is he didn't care much at the time.

When the kids are older and you have their friends invited to the party, I think it is pretty rude to not open the gifts they brought. I always remember as a kid, that was the highlight of the party for everyone, to see what you got and then get to "play" with your new toy.

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L.G.

answers from Indianapolis on

When I lived in Mexico, I learned that they did not open gifts at their parties. They were surprised that we were accustomed to doing that. They thought it would be rude because the other kids might be jealous of what the child received. Or the guests might feel bad if their gift did not measure up to the others. They also pointed out that the celebration is not about the gifts but about the people and the birthday child should be the center of attention and not the gifts. I totally agree, but when I tried not opening gifts at my son's b-day party, my family insisted that he open his gifts. They said they wanted to see his reaction to their gifts. Well they were disappointed because he turned 3...he loved the 1st gift so much that he didn't get around opening the rest (and it was just a little spiderman toy!)

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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

Since you find it strange to not open presents, I would recommend that you have your daughter open presents. I too noticed this trend and am not particularly fond of it. I won't repeat what everyone below has said, but I think there were some excellent points made about learning manners, graciousness, sharing the spotlight, etc. Personally, I enjoy seeing a gift recipient's reaction. If there is no time for gifts and you just want to maximize the fun your child has with friends, skip the gift, or suggest that people buy something to donate. Off topic a bit, but I also don't see the need to have a big celebration every year for a child's birthday. We always celebrate with close family, but my children will probably only have 1 or 2 children's parties.

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

In the playgroup I am a part of, we do not open the gifts at the party. We started it because we thought there would be too much confusion between the kids who were turning two at the time. We were avoiding the hassle of "no, that's not yours", "we have to watch quietly", and "we can't play with every toy opened right away". It just worked out better for us, and all thee moms agreed up on this before the first birthday party was attended. Now that our oldest kids are all turning 5, it's not so much not understanding the rules, as it is they are playing so much, that there isn't time :)!

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D.C.

answers from Chicago on

Well, I've now done it both ways.

I've been to a ton of parties lately where the kids did not open presents. My daughter was always disappointed that she didn't get to see her friend open the gift she'd carefully picked out. I always thought it was a strange practice and did not intend to ever do it myself.

I just had my daughter's 5th birthday party this past weekend, and we fully intended to open gifts. Unfortunately, the place we had the party only allowed us 45 minutes in the "party room" for pizza, cake, and presents. We barely had time for the cake. Once I knew we couldn't get through all the presents, I decided we shouldn't just open some of them. I have to admit it was very pleasant to open the gifts in a calm, quiet atmosphere at home with just my family.

However, after now having done both ways, I fully intend to make sure we have enough time to open gifts next time we host a party. I believe that it is important to the kids to see the child open their gift, and even if it's not, I agree that it's a great lesson for all the kids about social graces. I want my kids to learn how to be gracious in both giving and accepting. I want my kids to learn how to be patient when their host/hostess is opening gifts.

Then again, I think 1 year old is much too young to expect any of the kids to sit through opening, whether they're a host or a guest. In my opinion, by the time they are 3 years old they should be able to sit through the present-opening. It should be fun to see what other children receive.

Oh, who knows. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in these little things. It's really not that important, is it? Basically, do what feels right to you. There's pros and cons. I don't think it's right for someone to judge another person as rude because they didn't feel that present-opening was going to work for their party. Every parent has to do what feels right for their situation. I just hope we can learn to see that what's right for one parent and child isn't necessarily right for another, and that doesn't make one way wrong and the other way right.

My advice - see what feels right to you, and, most importantly, your child, and - HAVE FUN AT THE PARTY!!

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J.H.

answers from Chicago on

P.-

I had a party for my 4 year old at Bouncetown in Oswego and I was also thinking about not opening gifts due to confusion of who got him what and time constraints- But... to my surprise the people at Bouncetown had a wonderful system where they took care of EVERYTHING! They wrote down who got him each gift and even helped us load up our car! They were wonderful! So if you are having it someplace other then your home ask if they assist or not- And if they don't my suggestion would be that you have someone hand her a gift and that person reads the cards to determine who gave that gift to her while the other person records the gift on paper then takes the gift and another is immediately given to the birthday child- The way they did it was so quick yet enough time for all the children to see the excitement of the birthday child. Hope that wasn't to lengthy :)

Good luck and have fun!

J.

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L.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi P.!

I hadn't run into this until just recently. My son attended a party at a party site and the kids were waiting for the birthday girl to open her presents and the parents began handing out goodie bags and said thanks for coming. I could see that the kids were disappointed that they didn't see her open their gifts. What made this experience more confusing is that my son never received a thank you note or a verbal thank you. What I've come to think about this practice is that if the parents decide to open the gifts at home it would be nice if they explained it to their guests and even tell them that it would give the child more time to open and enjoy each one. Then make sure that a thank you note is sent out so the gift giver knows the gift was actually received and not sitting in the parking lot of the party site! :-) The other thing I have come to think is that the practice seems reasonable for younger children who don't understand the whole concept of giving gifts - it does help avoid possible problems, but again, I think all parents should know why they aren't opening the gifts. At the party my son attended, they were older, most picked out the gifts for their friend, and wanted to see how she liked them. It was a bit awkward, but I think it could work as long as everyone was on the same page.

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A.K.

answers from Milwaukee on

I have been to two 1 year old birthday partys lately and both of them they opened the gifts. It was so much fun to see them even if they preferred the wrapping or a book over the actual gift. My son's 1st party is Saturday and I plan on rushing everything els so there IS time to open gifts. I can't wait to get tons of pictures. Plus if I and my husband are the only one around its not as fun nor do I get any good pictures because I am too busy opening. We didn't open though at his baptism because he was too young to care and people were coming and going so much it just didn't fit in.

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V.S.

answers from Chicago on

My grandson is 8 years old and to most of the parties he attended the gifts were not opened. I thought it was a great idea. This eliminates the "I like your gift better or I hate this gift or my gift was beter than yours." The children just enjoy the party.

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J.D.

answers from Chicago on

I have noticed that too but from my experience i try to have my lil one open gifts but in sum rented places there not enough time. sum places allow u 4 hours which is good to eat cut cake and open gifts but sum only give u 2 hours it go's by fast.

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C.P.

answers from Chicago on

at family parties we open as many gifts as our child is interested in opening. young toddlers hardly have the attention span to open dozens of gifts. at kids parties, I've never seen gifts opened. there are many many reasons, but basically what young toddler can sit still for an hour and open each present and say thank you... not to mention trying to keep track of what gift came from which person... much easier to handle after the party.
I actually get really annoyed when family members insist on seeing every present opened (this goes for xmas too). it's too much to expect from the kids. they don't know how to behave. it's overwhelming. they haven't learned to say thank you to each person. there's just too much chaos.
I think it's become very normal for gifts to be opened at a later time.

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K.C.

answers from Chicago on

We always open gifts at a kids party, family party, whatever. Seriously, if it's too much for them to open it then you should request that no gifts be given. How else are kids going to learn how to be gracious and that when it's someone's birthday not "everyone" gets presents, just the birthday boy/girl? Of course the child may need some help but so what? I think it is a little rude...

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C.S.

answers from Chicago on

I would think the deciding factor would be WHERE you are having the party. If the party is at home, then yes open the gifts, here it doesn't matter how much time it takes and the kids can (most likely) play with them if they wanted.

If the party is at a "party Place" (chucky cheese, pump it up, oddessy funworld, etc.) then I would say no. You pay for X amount of time in the rooms or at the tables, that is all you get.

It just makes the most sense to me.

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A.F.

answers from Chicago on

I have noticed this as well. When I was young the gift opening was my favorite part. I think now days there is little time at these ultra organized parties for gift opening. I also think it is not "politically correct" to open gifts anymore. I guess people think it makes you/your child look greedy?? At my girls' party last year (3 years old) the children attending really wanted them to open their gifts. We spent a very enjoyable 20 minutes doing just that. I have not decided what we will do this year. I am interested in hearing other people's opinions.

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D.W.

answers from Chicago on

I think it lessens the chaos at the party. .. .all the lil' ones then want to open and play with the gifts, and the parent doesn't know who gave what. It does take some of the joy out of giving the gift and seeing the child open it though! oh well. . . .it's all a pay off . . . . .

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C.D.

answers from Chicago on

I researched this before we had my son's first friends party a year ago and a lot of websites said that for younger kids, you shouldn't open gifts. There are a lot of reasons, but the main ones being that younger kids don't have the attention span to sit through all of the gifts, plus the kids want to hold and touch and see (and some through tantrums if they can't keep them) all the gifts and there isn't time for that. I have been to parties where both, opening and not opening, and I prefer the not opening ones. I think they are much nicer when you have younger kids. Less fighting and less chaos. Just make sure your kids send Thank You notes telling their friends that they liked their gift. :)

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K.S.

answers from Indianapolis on

I think its a personal preference and not a standard. My friend says the reason they dont open presents at the party is its too stressful for her daughter and she is not sure the reaction she will give when seeing the gift. So she opts to not do that. I let my kids open their gifts at the party so that the kids who come can see the excitement he gets from them giving him a gift. There's no right or wrong - its just your preference.

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B.V.

answers from Chicago on

I never get to open gifts due to the fact that I could not do parties in my apt. due to it being small. We were forced to do them outside of the residence. Like a park or a pizza place. So we were on a time limit. No time to open gifts.

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C.B.

answers from Chicago on

I have noticed this at quite a few parties, birthdays, showers, baptism's, etc.... I feel that it is extremely rude. For me, one of the reasons I enjoy trying to find the "perfect" gift is to see the reaction of the recipient when it is opened. Please take the time to open your child's gifts at the party. One of the jobs of a good hostess is to make sure the party goes smoothly. I usually do gifts while the guests are having cake or shortly after. Keep the party moving and there will be time to do everything.

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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

Not opening gifts at children's birthday parties has been going on for quite a while. I now the reason why we stopped was because the children wanted to play with just a certain toy and not continue to open the rest of the gifts. Opening the presents after the guests have left, gives the child lots of time to look at each gift and even play with it for awhile. Then they don't feel rushed(or the parents),to open the gifts right away. Sometimes we have taken a couple of days to open the gifts. I know the children really seem to like that. It is like their birthday goes on for days.

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T.N.

answers from Chicago on

P.,

I think the reason kids aren't opening presents at the party anymore, is that it is too chaotic. Also, a 2-year-old doesn't have the attention span to open 10-20 presents, and you don't want to show a bunch of 3-year-olds all sorts of cool toys they can't play with! Parties are relatively short and I think it's better to spend the time devoting it to the party itself, the activities and the guests. Once the party is over, you open the presents and make a list of who gave what so you can send thank you notes (and teach your child about them).

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