May 06, 2011

Q & A: Kids Birthday Party Advice

Q: I'm throwing a birthday party for my soon to be 5 year old daughter and I have everything ready to go. From the theme to decor, to the food being served, I'm all set. I just have one question, when would a good time be to let her open her birthday presents? I want to make sure she's not overtired by the time cake and present time arrive.

A: This is such a great question. While it's customary to wait until after the birthday candles have been blown out to open birthday presents, we understand sometimes the anticipation is way too much for the little birthday girl (or boy) to handle. It's really a matter of personal preference for the parents of how they want to handle this situation. If you're wavering on going the traditional route, here are a few tactics other parents we've worked have used for the gift opening dilemma.
  • Opening gifts mid-way through the party and saving the birthday candle blowing ritual as a means of ending the party.
  • Letting the birthday girl/boy open presents after the party has ended (in private) and then sending their gratitude with a personalized thank you card to each guest.
  • Turn the gift opening into a fun activity like these ones from Party Kaboose:
    • Turn gift-opening into a treasure hunt. Before the party, write clues which lead to various locations in your home. For instance, "If it's a gift that you want, it's a gift you'll see, when you look behind the TV." After children arrive, an adult hides the presents in the various locations. When it's time to open presents, the host hands one clue at a time to the birthday child who finds the gift and opens it on the spot.
    • Form a circle with the birthday child at the head. Guests hold their gifts in their laps and going around the circle, guests hand presents one at a time to the birthday child who stops to open each gift before taking another. To make the circle strategy more festive, you might turn it into a game. Pass the presents slowly around the circle as music plays and when the music stops, the present that the birthday child is holding is the one that is opened next.

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