Developing a Theme
Advice on Opening Gifts
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"Can we open the presents now?"
Seemingly polite children often turn fiendish when charged with cake and ice cream. And, what should be a great ending to a special day dissenigrates into a gift-giving shoving match. The birthday child can become so energized, he tears open package after package, forgetting to say, "Thank you." If this sounds familiar, here are some tips to handle exuberant guests! The day before the party, sit down with your child and go over your expectations as well as his. For younger children, practice opening gifts. Hand your child a small toy which he pretends to open. Then coach him on ways to thank the giver. You may also practice what to say if he is given a gift he already has.
There are several fun ways to open gifts which help maintain focus on one gift at a time. One favorite is to turn the 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.
Another option is to 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.
If you have more than 20 guests, consider opening presents after the guests have gone. Although the guests miss the excitement of seeing their present opened, it may be more practical!