Opening gifts at the party? — The Bump
Birthday Parties

Opening gifts at the party?

We have been to two children's Birthday parties recently (and brought gifts) and the gifts were not opened at the party.

Is this something new?

I am OK with it, except that I think it is kind of nice to see the presents the child gets and I think it teaches a child something to open the gifts in front of people. Since they will be opening other gifts (Christmas, etc.) in front of people, they should be taught to say "thank you" and not to pitch fit if they don't like the gift. I think a Birthday party would be a good place to reinforce that kind of polite behavior (maybe that's just me - I don't have a kid yet). 

Anyway, is this common practice now? 


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Re: Opening gifts at the party?

  • I've been hearing about it more and more.

    I think for DD's first party we won't open gifts during the party.  We plan on inviting a lot of people and we want to mingle with our guests and play with the kids.  DD doesn't know what gifts are yet.  At the other first birthday parties I've attended, gifts were not opened and I didn't think twice about it.

    Honestly, even as the children get older, do their friends really want to sit around watching gifts being opened or would they rather spend time playing games?

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  • I think it's normal to open gifts for the reasons that the OP mentioned. Plus, birthday parties are gift giving events, similar to a shower. People are there to celebrate and open gifts.
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  • We never open gifts, I think it is a tacky tradition. It makes people that could only give something small feel bad and it is boring.

    A party is to celebrate not to sit and watch gifts being opened IMO. As DD gets older, she can open them as they come or open later and write a thank you note.

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  • I have never been to a party where gifts were not opened. I think it is a new trend, but I think it's rude.

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  • I think it's incredibly rude not to open gifts at a birthday party. A birthday party is a gift-giving event, and people like to see their gift opened and see the guests reaction. At most kid birthday parties I've been to people talk and eat during the gift opening, and mainly only pay attention when their gift is being opened.
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  • I'd be pretty annoyed if I bought a gift to someone's birthday party and they didn't open it.  Regardless of the age of the recipient, it just seems really rude to me.

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  • I could see if it said "no gifts" on the invite so as not to make people feel bad if they didn't bring a gift.  But in general, I think gifts should be opened at the party. 
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  • Another Team Open Gifts.  
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  • salt78salt78 member

    We didn't open gifts at DD's party. Mostly because she's 1 and doesn't open presents herself and there were a bunch of other 1 year olds there and I'm real sure they would want to sit still for that. It was a 2 hour long party and I wasn't trying to eat up an hour of it opening her presents myself and making people sit there and watch me do it.

    When she's older and if we have smaller parties with just her friends then I'm sure she will want to open her gifts with them and that's fine, but for little kids I think it's kind of ridiculous. I personally wouldn't want to sit there and watch a toddler open presents.

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  • salt78salt78 member

    imagetwister22:
    I think it's incredibly rude not to open gifts at a birthday party. A birthday party is a gift-giving event, and people like to see their gift opened and see the guests reaction.

    Did you open all your wedding gifts in front of your guests at your wedding? Because by this logic, you were incredibly rude for not doing so.

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  • imagesalt78:

    imagetwister22:
    I think it's incredibly rude not to open gifts at a birthday party. A birthday party is a gift-giving event, and people like to see their gift opened and see the guests reaction.

    Did you open all your wedding gifts in front of your guests at your wedding? Because by this logic, you were incredibly rude for not doing so.

    Gifts are given to kids by kids at a birthday party {for the most part}. Most children don't want to see their friends open the gift, they want to play. That being said, most people around here don't open gifts at kid's birthdays. We open them after everybody leaves and write a thank you note. Birthday parties have activities and there is often no time. I've never had a child complain about it at the 6 parties we haven't opened gifts. We did open them for her 1st birthday and at her small sleepover party.

  • imagesalt78:

    We didn't open gifts at DD's party. Mostly because she's 1 and doesn't open presents herself and there were a bunch of other 1 year olds there and I'm real sure they would want to sit still for that. It was a 2 hour long party and I wasn't trying to eat up an hour of it opening her presents myself and making people sit there and watch me do it.

    When she's older and if we have smaller parties with just her friends then I'm sure she will want to open her gifts with them and that's fine, but for little kids I think it's kind of ridiculous. I personally wouldn't want to sit there and watch a toddler open presents.

    I completely agree with this.  I think when they get older it makes sense to open presents, but as a 1 or 2 year old they're not opening presents and their friends aren't really going to sit and watch.  I've never been to a first or second birthday where presents were opened.  I don't feel bad, slighted, or offended. 

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  • We always open gifts at the parties. This time we will be doing her party different though. Her friends will arrive at 2 and family and close family friends will arrive at 3 so we can get the games finished first without a HUGE crowd of adults. (the family really wants to come even though we will have about 15 of her friends there) so right at 3 we will start eating the food and then cake afterwards. We will probably wait until most of the friends leave and then she can open gifts in front of family. The process takes over an hour and I know my friends that are bringing their kids do not want to stand around watching. BUT family would kill me if I didn't! lol So I see it from both perspectives. She will send out thankyou notes to everyone with a pic of them from the party.
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  • imageEmpireMomof3:
    I've never been to a party that they didn't open their gifts...regardless of who bought what - small or big. I would be very put off if I went to a party that the gifts weren't opened. I like to see the persons expressions while opening them. 

    This. Also, DD got a lot of gifts at her party and it didn't take anywhere near an hour. Her 4 year old friend and 7 year old friend "helped" her open them. It was fun for all of the guests to watch her open a present and get all excited about the book, or toy or whatever. 


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  • It's pretty much the norm around here. AT first I thought it was rude, but now I'm loving it....I am usually ready to go by the time cake is served!
  • I was recently at a first birthday party where gifts were not opened and I was a little upset.  I spent the time to buy the present, wrap the present and come to the party.  I really would have liked to seen the child open the present.  I also overheard several people at the party mention how upset they were that presents weren't opened.  For these reasons, we will be opening presents at my sons first birthday party.
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  • I wonder if this is regional. With 3 kids, we go to tons of birthday parties. I think they opened gifts at only one party, and that was years ago. I kind of like prefer opening gifts later.
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  • I've been to both & given both. When my kids were smaller & we had at-home family parties they opened the gifts b/c relatives like to watch & ooh/aah appropriately. DS' last two birthdays have been at bounce house places & we only had a certain amount of time in the party room after bouncing so we used that for cake, snacks, drinks, etc & didn't open gifts.

    The first time I went to a party where they didn't open gifts I thought it was weird but I actually enjoy not having to sit through it now. Like someone else said I'm usually ready for the party to wrap up by then. And for my own kids I enjoyed being able to open gifts slowly at home later. I felt like I could appreciate it more, take the time to write down who gave what, etc without A) having other kids practically sitting our lap, blocking all the photos or trying to unwrap the presents themselves & B) feeling like I have to rush through b/c people are ready to get going.

    I'm perfectly fine with it either way.

    Married: '06 - Mom of 3 boys: '08, '11 & '14

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