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Birthday Presents- To Open or Not to Open in Front of Guests?

By Hilary Basile

Nowadays, there are no rules or customs dictating whether birthday presents should be opened during the party or saved until after the party. On one hand, opening gifts in front of guests is respectful since the guests made the effort of purchasing a gift. Since children will be giving and receiving gifts for years to come, this provides an opportunity for them to learn how to do so graciously. One way to make the gift opening process less chaotic is to have the children sit in a circle. Have two chairs - one for the birthday child and one for the gift-giver. Move in a circle with the next birthday guest sitting in a chair next to the birthday child to witness their gift being opened. Take a photo of the two friends together during the gift-opening and send the photo along with the thank you card. Creating a neutral way to open gifts avoids any awkwardness of deciding what order gifts are given so no one gets their feelings hurt.

On the other hand, not opening the gifts in front of guests avoids any sense of the guest feeling as though their present wasn't up to par compared to someone else's gift. And, for larger parties, gift opening can be impractical. To avoid the boredom of making the guests wait while the birthday child opens every gift, it may be best to put the gifts aside, focus on the party, then let the birthday child open the gifts in their own time after the party. This takes the pressure off squeezing the gift opening process into the party timeframe and avoids over-stimulating the birthday child with too many gifts at one time. To add a personal touch in this situation, consider taking a photo of your child holding up the gift and send it to the gift-giver in the thank you note.

Hilary Basile is a writer for at [], you will find valuable tips and resources for handling life's major events. Whether you're planning a wedding, buying your first home, anxiously awaiting the birth of a child, contending with a divorce, searching for a new job, or planning for your retirement, you'll find answers to your questions at

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