Another birthday party question

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Another birthday party question
22
Sat, 04-17-2004 - 11:46am
We are having ds' birthday party this Sunday. Its going to be at the dreaded *Chuck E Cheese* (blech, but he really wanted it there.....). There are going to be a LOT more kids there than I originally planned/anticipated, mainly because my neice and nephew decided to drive up with their 4 kids which puts us at about 14 kids or more.

In the past, we have always let ds open his gifts during the party, all the kids gather around to see what he got, etc. But I was thinking that this year, it might be easier and less stressful (and less overwhelming for ds) if we just opened the gifts at home later. I figure that the kids are going to want to be playing and running around, NOT sitting there watching ds open umpteen gifts (I'd actually prefer they didnt even bring gifts, but that is just unavoidable). If we wait until Sunday evening at home to open the gifts, ds can take his time, play with them, and we can clean up the mess of paper at home rather than trying to do it during his party.

What is the opinion on this and what do you do with your own kids b-day parties?


dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

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Avatar for mygriffin
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 04-17-2004 - 12:23pm
We recently started opening gifts AFTER the party. It's so much less stressful, for EVERYONE. Inevitably, when we opened them DURING the party, everyone had their hands in the action. Two or 3 kids would be standing right in front so no one else could see. I had trouble keeping track of who gave what for thank-you notes, etc.

We have a rule in our house....if it's YOUR birthday, YOU open your presents. I don't let my kids 'help' other kids open theirs and it's easier to do the same for my kids when we open them after the party.

I think it's pretty common these days (at least around here). The only bad thing is that you'll be cleaning up the wrapping paper, etc. instead of the CEC people. ;)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 04-17-2004 - 10:01pm
I would love to have the gifts opened later. But that would be somewhat taboo here. It is a cultural expectation that children will open gifts at the party. It is about as important as cake and ice cream. Here there is often a gesture made so that each kid gets to sit next to the birthday child during the opening (or brings the gift up to the birthday child) and a bit of a fuss is made over each gift so the gift giver gets an overall good feeling about giving a thoughtful gift. I used to hate all the attention on the material aspect of it (hey, look at my haul) but I have come around to thinking of it more as a way to teach our children how to wisely give to others, how to wait patiently for your turn, how to give away something that you probably really desired for yourself, and how to really think about someone else. And of course, the birthday child learns how to act appreciative, to thank others,to be gracious, to patiently open the gifts and read the cards and bask in the attention.

Last year I told a handful of friends that my five year old did not need ANYTHING and for 14 kids to bring her a gift was just a disgusting thought to me. Each and every friend said that it was the highlight of the party for their child to pick out a gift and then watch as the friend opened it. All a valuable lesson in giving to others. I had to reconsider and eventually changed my mind. I could always donate the gifts if need be.

So we still do the gift thing. My SIL tells me that in her community, the kids give each other money at parties. A child will have a pool party and invite 20 kids and each one will give $10. Then the birthday kid can go out and buy a new Gameboy or something. Now that I think is just yucky.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 9:03am

Since I am not Emily Post, I always have dd open gifts at the party and thank each individual person immediatly.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 10:06am

I have very negative opinions of opening the presents after the party, just because most all of the kids we have ever had for a birthday party (usually averages around 20-25), have WANTED to see our kids open the present they got him/her.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 10:14am
DS's third birthday party was at Gymboree, and we brought the presents home and opened them there. DH and I brought separate cars, because we had so much stuff to haul there and back. So DS1 rode home with DH, with the presents in his car. He opened about three presents right there in the car, so we were confused about who had given what.

I've since decided that I like when kids open presents at the party. Suzymom says it all: Each and every friend said that it was the highlight of the party for their child to pick out a gift and then watch as the friend opened it. All a valuable lesson in giving to others. I had to reconsider and eventually changed my mind. I could always donate the gifts if need be.

I really agree with this. It's also a good lesson for our kids, to *let* people do nice things for them. Sometimes that's hard for people to do, and I think childhood is a good time to start.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 11:31am
I do not like for the kids to open gifts at their bday parties. I know it is traditional to do so, but I don't like for the focus to be on the gifts and I don't like that the neighborhood kids know who gave what. I prefer for the focus to be on having fun, not on gifts.

Jenna

Avatar for 1969jets
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 11:41am
I used to think giving money was yucky also, but it has become common here. It has also become common to give gift cards. Given how many little junky things my kids have gotten as gifts and how my my son LOVES getting money to save for one big thing I have changed my thoughts on this. If the party is for a child I really know I will still always pick out a special gift for that child. But if the party is for someone I barely know I will sometimes get a gift card, or money for the child so that the child can pick out something he really wants. I do get annoyed when a good friend gives money though.

Don't get me wrong, I really ENJOY picking out special gifts for kids that I know well. And I do think gift giving is an art that should be preserved. But sometimes I am at a loss for what to get a child who I don't know well. My older sons (10, 7) are usually only invited to parties for kids they know pretty well, but my youngest (5) is still at the age where every child in the class is invited to parties. And I don't know all the kids really well. And what 5 year old doesn't like to go to Toys R Us and pick out his own toy? So although I do prefer to give real gifts I do sometimes give gift cards.

Jenna

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 1:49pm
In the past, its been hard to do the gifts at the party because ds ends up getting kind of rushed through this pile of gifts, and he wants to be able to take a few minutes to look at what he got, etc.

Plus, while the other posters have talked about each child bringing their gift up to the birthday child, etc. that just has never happened here. We get this huge cluster of kids kind of fighting for a view, no one wants to sit quietly back and watch (they like to crowd up), and it seems like it is just kind of stressful overall. I am trying to alleviate that and make it just about the fun, like you said.

I can appreciate what the other posters said about teaching kids about giving and receiving, but I wonder if an event like this in such a loud and public place would be the proper venue, kwim?

dj

Dj

"Now when I need help, I look in the mirror" ~Kanye West~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 7:04pm

You do have to be sorta strict with the kids if you want them to stop clustering around.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 04-18-2004 - 7:09pm

I think opening the gifts at the party is just part of the whole experiance for the child.

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