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When do you Open Presents at a Birthday Party?

Opening Presents

Opening Presents

To open presents or not to open presents……that is the question. And if you open them……when do you do it?

Honestly, this is a tough one. But here goes and these are just my personal thoughts based on going to many many birthday parties and hosting them myself.

For kids younger than Kindergarten age, I’m not sure that it’s necessary. For those kids it can take a really long time even if there are only a few. Most of the time, the kids don’t even know what present they brought and so it’s just not as effective. For those age kids, they can get a bit overwhelmed with even 2 presents but the first one may be something they want to sit down and play with right then. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it be much nicer to have the luxury of saying…..”no problem…..we’ll just open the rest of these later.” Plus, if you are trying to have a relatively short birthday party this can lengthen if unnecessarily. BUT, if there is a child who really wants to see your child open his or her present, by all means at the end of the party, pull that one out and open it up right then and there.

Now, for kids Kindergarten and older. Most parents have learned at this point that having a smaller party is better. I’m not one of those but my husband is pushing me towards it! So, let’s start with the small parties. I for sure think you need to open the presents at this age as the kids who come to the party are just as excited about this as your child will be and it can be built into the schedule of the party. If the party is a longer one, let that be an activity during a lul in the scheduled events. While pizza is cooking is the perfect time!

If you are nuts like I am and have a huge party, I couldn’t bear the thought of my daughter opening all her presents during the party. We had 26 kids to come. There were a few who asked when we were opening the presents and for those that were really interested in seeing her open the presents, we did it after most of the kids had gone home and they could sit down in a small group and enjoy it more.

The biggest thing to remember is to assign someone else besides yourself to be in charge of writing down who each present is from. I know Miss Manners says that if you open a present while the giver is sitting there with you, there is no need to send a thank you note. But I just think it’s nicer for the kids to start off early letting their friends know how much they appreciate them. So, no matter if you open the presents during the party or not, it’s good to have a record of who gave what. And it needs to be someone else who is in charge of the list since you will be busy doing other things!

Creating a Festive Atmosphere at Home

Festive Atmosphere

Festive Atmosphere


When you are hosting a birthday party in your home for your kids, it’s always important to provide a festive atmosphere. That doesn’t mean that you have to have the entire house decorated to the hilt. It simply means that there should be a spot carved out that you turn into “party central.”

At this almost sleepover, the hostess made the kitchen the focus of the party. They ate there as well as worked on their craft. As you can see here the area is very inviting to the kids and it really didn’t take a whole lot to create it.

Simply put down a festive table cloth. Add some balloons or big impactful centerpiece and a sign saying “Happy Birthday” and you are set.

Atmosphere……….atmosphere……atmosphere……..even kids are very visual!

Sleepover Birthday Party Idea

Making Pizzas at a Sleepover Party

Making Pizzas at a Sleepover Party

This idea is a great way to kill two birds with one stone! At this Almost Sleepover Birthday Party, the girls got to put the toppings of their choice on their own pizza square. It was a great idea to get the girls involved in the party AND it took up some time which can be a mom’s worst nightmare…….what am I going to do with all these girls for 4 hours…..

You can buy pre-made pizza crust at many grocery stores. Roll it out yourself and place on the baking sheets. Let the kids put on the sauce or it might be easier for the mom to do it. Then have bowls of cheese, pepperoni slices, peppers, mushrooms….anything you think the kids would like. Then one at a time, let them prepare their own slice just the way they like it.

Send them to tear up your daughter’s room and a few minutes later, the pizzas are ready!

Almost Sleepover Party Ideas

Almost Sleepover Craft Table

Almost Sleepover Craft Table


I don’t care the age, I don’t care the sex, I don’t care what kind of party it is or just gathering for that matter…….having an organized ice breaker at the beginning always starts the party off right. Now, I’m not talking about a silly ice breaker. I’m talking about a planned activity that is ready to go as folks walk in the door. I’ve watched adults and children hesitantly walk into a room when there is a great deal of commotion and it takes them a while to warm up. Then I’ve watched the same kids walk in and immediately sit down to a project with other kids and they are engaged right off the bat.

Almost Sleepover Party Ideas

Almost Sleepover Party Ideas

At this almost sleepover party, the hosted had the idea to let the girls decorate their own craft supply caddy to take home. It was very timely as it had just been valentines and my daughter for one came home with a box full of craft supplies! So this was a great idea for her to keep all those supplies right where should could use them when she wanted.

I’m not sure where these boxes were purchased cut with “storage” and organizing being the thing right now, you can find a myriad of things out there at hobby shops and scrapbooking supply stores. Provide the storage box and a little permanent paint and the kids provide the creativity. Honestly this could be done for any age kindergarten and up.

An Almost Sleepover Birthday Party

Sleepover Party Pillow Case

Sleepover Party Pillow Case


I thought this idea was just genius. When your girls are young and still light sleepers…….have an “Almost Sleepover!” I don’t know about you, but my 6 year just begs for a sleepover and I’m just not quite sure I’m ready for that.

For this 6 year old’s birthday party, she had an “Almost” Sleepover where the kids came in and started on a craft, had dinner and cake and then watched a movie in their jammies. Instead of sleeping at the birthday girl’s house, the parents showed up at 9:00 to take the sleepy ones home to bed! Perfect.

To commemorate the evening, all the girls who attended the birthday party, signed a pillow case with a sharpie. These pillow cases can be found on the web. Search for Sleepover Autograph Pillow Cases. I couldn’t find one exactly like this one. When I asked the hostess where she bought it, she admitted she purchased it years ago at a random gift shop. Look online or make your own with permanent paints!