Kids’ birthday parties feel like an unavoidable part of life once you become a parent, becoming the centerpiece for plenty of families’ weekends for several years at a time. One TikTok mom is noting what she feels is a change in “birthday party etiquette,” where the guest of honor no longer opens their gifts in front of fellow attendees.
In a recent video, Mom Nichole Roberts wondered: “When did kids stop opening presents at birthday parties?” She noted that at two recent kids’ parties, “the child did not open their birthday presents,” adding, “Like we go to the party, we put the, you know, the present on the big display table and all the kids are like, ‘Oh my God, what did he get?’ And then we do the birthday things and then we go home and nobody opens a single present.”
While the OG video has been deleted, many fellow moms stitched it to share their own take on the change in etiquette.
It seems that parents at the parties called opening presents in front of guests “inconsiderate and rude.” She said, “I love it when the kids open their presents. They’re so excited. The kid who gave the present is excited to see his friend get the present. I like to take a mental note on gifts that are out there that my kids might like.”
“But apparently, in the year of 2023, we stop opening presents at birthday parties,” she concluded,” noting that at her own child’s recent birthday party, the opening gifts ritual was a hit among her son’s friends.
Related: Can we bring back old school birthday parties, please?
The video sparked debate in the comments section, with more than 5,000 comments discussing the reasons why some parents might nix opening presents at the party. “My kids open them privately because they do have friends that can’t bring a gift and we don’t want to embarrass them,” wrote one mom, with another agreeing, “it’s 2023 and no one can afford anything and parents are being compassionate toward families who can’t swing a gift.”
Others agree that the logistics make more sense, especially if you have limited time at a rented venue or space. “We stopped doing that as well. The kids would rather play. We wait until everyone is gone. My kids love waiting until everyone is gone,” shared one mom. “Nope! I don’t want a million toys opened & half the pieces lost before the party ends,” wrote another. “I went to one earlier this year that presents weren’t opened, but it was because they let the kids play more and enjoy the time on bounce houses,” said a third.
Some agreed with Roberts’ feelings. “People take them home for easiness of it. I find it rude not to open them in front of the guests. Makes me not want to bring a gift,” shared one person. “I feel like there is a social skill learned in having your child open presents and thanking people as they open,” said another.
Related: Mom who refuses to stay and watch her kid at birthday parties sparks debate on TikTok
Others simply feel that the gift-opening ritual is awkward for all parties involved, with some preferring to share photos via text of the process to thank each gift-giver after the party from home. Some prefer the “fiver” method, in which each child brings $5 so the birthday kid can spend it how they like. One user wrote: “good! I hate opening presents in front of people.” Another added: “Normalize no gifts. So much stuff. Just easier for everyone! .”
No matter which method you prefer, the most important thing is ensuring that each kid feels celebrated on their big day, whether or not there are gifts to open. What works for some won’t work for all, and if your kid is having fun, there’s a good chance they won’t care much either way whether or not presents are opened at a party.