Childrearing

It’s Stupid Not To Let Kids Open Presents At Their Own Birthday Party

By  | 

gift-opening-etiquette-kidsWhy, oh why, will this stupid trend of not allowing your child to open up their own presents at their own party not just die? Fellow parents, please, hear me now: this entire practice is idiocy, and you must stop it right now.

I remember the first time my daughter was invited to a “no presents party”. Of course, this was not a “don’t bring ANY presents” type of no presents party, this was a “here, just stick this gift straight in the back of my hulking Suburban” type of no presents party.

It was when my child was four, and the birthday girl was four, and the entire party was held at an indoor inflatable party center that smelled like Lysol, vomit, and feet, with just a soupçon of crushed Valium. My kid had spent an entire agonizing afternoon wandering up and down the toy aisle knowing that she couldn’t pick out something for herself, but rather, she had to take her friend’s personality and preferences into consideration and choose a present based on that.

Like me, my daughter loves gifting stuff. She will obsess over it, wrap it, rewrap it, and wait with bated breath while the giftee opens his or her present. So on this particular day, at this particular party, I could see how disappointed my kid was to toss her carefully wrapped present on top of a pile of other carefully wrapped presents before being ushered inside to eat cold pizza and jump on a blow up pirate ship that smelled like bunion cream until she threw up.

“Can I give this to her?” My kid asked the hostess.

“No, sweetie, we open our presents at home.” All of this spoken very slowly as if to a hard of hearing but above average intelligence gorilla, instead of a four-year-old.

Intrigued, I had to know why, so I asked with all of the tact and grace of a four-year-old, “But WHY?”

The answers she gave me are ones that I have heard over and over since then: the kids will get bored, the kids will get jealous, there could be duplicates, what if my daughter doesn’t like a present she just got?

I just can’t. And the fact that this practice has continued even now, with seven-year-olds? My husband won’t let me go to these dumb things without sunglasses on because of the eyeroll I reserve solely for this idiotic display of self-indulgence and idiocy.

It goes without saying that I let my kid open her presents at her own dumb party. I understand that people will do this with groups of toddlers to avoid bite wounds and meltdowns, something I guess I can understand, even if I can’t relate. I never put anyone except for other adults through the hollow charade of a toddler birthday party, so I never had to worry about it. But with school-aged kids?

I really don’t care if your kid is bored. After destroying the inside of my home and seeing if ice cream cake will flush down my toilet because you forgot to teach them how to act at a friend’s house, they sure could use some down time. I don’t care if they’re jealous. The one day you have as a kid to maybe be treated a little extra-special is your birthday. Naturally, that’s going to make another kid jealous. Do what I do and teach your child to push that feeling deep down inside of them and let it fester.

Oh wait, just kidding. What I meant was: teach them not to be a horrible monster and they’ll be fine.

As far as my kid’s reaction to duplicate presents or ones she doesn’t like? Let me worry about that. I taught her how to not suck at being a human being, so I promise it won’t be a problem.

(Image: Blend Images/Shutterstock)