Proper Prensentation: Should Kids Open Gifts in Front of Guests?

Q: When I was a child and had a birthday party we always opened the presents during the party in front of friends and family. Now the child never opens any presents in front of their guests. Is this an etiquette issue or what? Is it not proper to open the presents until all guests have left the party. Is there an age matter with this as well. This is happening even for toddlers. Thank you for you response.

A: Some parents prefer to avoid all of the confusion that opening gifts in the presence of guests could create and wait until everyone has gone home.This is fine, but it’s important to remember to send thank-you notes to those who brought gifts.


  1. Lee Dreyfuss

    I have a problem with eating protocol. Are there any videos produced by you or recommended by you that show the proper way to eat with other people and to eliminate the embarrassment your “style” may cause.

    What does a person say to you when you must wipe the food from your face?

    How does one elimate dropping food?


  2. Ruth Peltier

    I have not been to any kids parties lately… in the last 20 years

    However, I always thought that it was important to let my son pick out the gift for his friend. Then he had the joy of seeing his friend open it. I think it is important for the birthday kid to learn to express thanks for gifts (even if they are not something he is thrilled with) . Sometimes it is better to receive well than to give

  3. Heather

    I have been glad to see this trend change. As a little kid, I always found it dull to sit and watch a friend open a bunch of presents that I wouldn’t get to play with! It also created some anxiety, as they opened the present I had brought for them publicly, and I wondered whether my gift would measure up to those brought by other guests. I much prefer the current system.

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