4.07.2008

Birthday Party Politics: Continued

So we wrapped up Alex's birthday and continued on with three more the following week. We are officially birthday partied out. They were three very different parties. One held at a playground, one was a joint crafting type party and one was a full on outdoor safari, complete with adult beverages and a full lunch for the moms!

All the preschool-aged parties came with their own stress (weather, invites, unaccompanied children, etc.), but each had one thing in common--no presents were opened.

Since Alex's first birthday, we knew this was the protocol. But why? At a younger age, he enthusiasm in gift opening would wane as the party went on. He was tired and just getting him worked up over presents would be a bad idea. But for some kids, the presents are where it's at. This year, was the first year, Alex opened each gifts after the party and showed general excitement about the gift. He would open it, talk about it and play with it. Instead of the usual tossing aside to get to the next. I was sad that he wasn't able to open it in front of his guests--many whom I know probably helped pick out the present.

So, my question is, at what age is it OK to move on to opening presents at a party? Can I plan for this next year? I think when they get to be this age and my kids are actually helping to pick out the present, they want to see their friends actually open it as well.

Please.....tell me what the protocol is on this.

5 comments:

Kate said...

Good question. I'm sure moms with older kids will have some advice - but I also think it would depend on the kid. The gift opening is fun for everyone if the enthusiasm is there, but if the birthday boy/girl is plagued by short attention span issues, it might become tedious for all involved - and worse, hurtful to the little guest whose careful gift selection is tossed aside after a perfunctory nod of approval. Maybe that's part of the equation as well - some knowledge of manners and consideration for others' feelings.

Allison said...

I don't know what the protocol is, but John did open his presents at the party this year. He was excited about it, but the other kids didn't really care and wanted to get on with the party. It's a hard line to balance, maybe it also depends on the general age of your guests. We had a fair number of younger siblings that had shorter attention spans.

Anonymous said...

We did gift opening in my "world" when the kids were about 7 or so, even then there were some tears shed by the gift giver not quite getting the "giving" part. It also depends on the size of the party (all gifts are opened, or none) & the speed in which your child opens gifts (kids get bored watching other people get gifts). If your child wants to play with them, so will the gift givers & then your risk birthday child tears as well. Think about the longest baby shower you ever went to & then think about whether your child's guests can handle it :)

Anonymous said...

I've read so many parenting articles, tips, stories, etc. about children giving gifts and opening gifts at birthday parties. While my daugther is still a little young, and we've only had 2 birthday parties (she'll be 3 in October), here's my two cents... What about having the child open gifts AFTER the party as you did for your son's party. Then, take a picture of your child with his gift and send it as a thank-you to the gift-giver? OR, if you choose to open the gift in front of everyone at the party, allow your child to open it along with the gift-giver and then snap a photo of the two enjoying the gift to use as a thank-you postcard later? Just an idea...

Modern Allergy Mom said...

Parties can get pretty hectic. My daughter and her friends started opening their presents at 5. I thing it also depends on the type of party and how much time you have. Her 6th party was a swimming party, they were so busy swimming that we just ran out of time! I love the idea of taking a picture with the gift to enclose in the TY note.