Should You Open Gifts at a Kid’s Birthday Party?

The decision of whether to open gifts at a kid's birthday party isn't always easy.


Birthday parties mean birthday presents which brings up the question, “Do you open the gifts at the party or not?”

When I ask people this question I get some adamant "Yes" and "No" answers, but quite a few Moms I talk to, especially new Moms, aren’t quite sure what to do.

My vague answer is, “It depends.” There are quite a few things you need to consider regarding your child’s birthday party and the answer may not be the same every year. First and foremost you need to do what is right for your child. Does he or she want to open gifts or just keep playing with friends? You also need to consider what you can handle as the party hostess. Sometimes it is hard to gauge how much time it will take. But, don’t let anyone tell you how it should be done. It’s your party. You set the rules.

If you are on the fence about whether to open gifts at a kid’s birthday party or not, some things to consider are the number of guests at the party, the age of the kids, and how many activities you have planned. Sometimes these factors can easily push you to the right answer.

So, what is your opinion? Should you open gifts at a kid’s birthday party or not? I’d love to hear how you handle the issue at your kids’ parties.

You can download a free Kids Birthday Party Planning Worksheet and find more tips and advice on how to plan and host a fun, unique and memorable birthday party for your child from my blog site, ChocolateCakeMoments.com.

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Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach, kids party planner, and weekly contributor to Patch.com. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, blogs, as well as her own family fun site ChocolateCakeMoments.com.

Chris L May 18, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Definitely open gifts at the party. My kids enjoy choosing gifts for their friends and they love to see them open their gift. I also always take a picture of the gift giver with my child and the gift and I include them with the thank you note. I also try to take a group picture and send that too.
Anna May 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Wow this is news to me. I never even knew this was an "issue". When I was a kid I always opened my presents at my party and I always thanked the person who gave it to me. How did this become something to debate about?
C P May 18, 2012 at 02:25 PM
When we have a party at our home, our children definitely open gifts at the party. Last year when we had a joint party for the 2 kids at the local pool, we opened them afterwards at home because the kids just wanted to swim and there were over 20 kids there. I took a picture of my child holding the gift and included it in the thank you note they wrote to each child.
Sue Kirchner May 18, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Thanks again for all of the comments. I love the idea quite a few of you shared of taking a photo of your child opening the gift, holding the gift, or even with the gift giver to send with the thank you note. What a thoughtful touch.
J May 24, 2012 at 07:26 PM
It really depends. The best thing to do is to enjoy the party and open the gifts later and take a picture of your child opening or holding the gift that was given to then and include in the thank you note...Yes...an honest to g-d thank you note. The party if for friends to get together and enjoy each other's company. One person may give a really nice give while another gives a cheap gift. Its the thought that counts but it could make the guest(s) feel bad. The other thing is that each guest wants to give the 'original' gift. If there are 3 or 4 of the same gift, it can get very awkward quickly and the birthday person may not know what to say and could also hurt guests feelings.


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