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Stemming from another thread... Party manners.

(18 Posts)
PippiTheWarGoddess Mon 02-Nov-09 18:22:23

Where I come from it is custom for the birthday boy/girl to open the present there and then when given in front of the guest and thank them in person not with a card a few days later. We also slice the cake immediately and serve it there and then rather than wrap it up in a napkins to take home.

What is rude for us seems to be considered the norm here and viceversa.

Is it really so everywhere in the UK? Are those the 'British' party manners? Was it rude to let dd open her presents and for her to share them with her friends? Are there other ways? What is the 'right' way in your country?
Does anyone organises collective presents so that instead of a lot of tatt there is a big one?

Just wondering and possibly trying to avoid future embarassing moments.

Over to you.

LowLevelWhingeing Mon 02-Nov-09 18:29:46

I'm a bit puzzled by this. I'm in the UK, (always have been) and when I was a kid we did exactly as you described.

My eldest is 4 and the first couple of parties we took him to, I thought it was odd that the presents didn't get opened. This means that the tags etc get lost so you don't always know which present is from which guest.

At my DS's party, he started opening his presents and the woman from the soft play venue commented that the children usually take the gifts home to open them hmm.

I like your way best.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 02-Nov-09 18:34:54

My children open their presents when they are given them. The only exception to this was when DS had a joint party with 40 guests. That was an embarassing number of presents...

Since then we are down to about 6 - 10 and they open them with the person who gives it - squealing together!

saintmaybe Mon 02-Nov-09 18:35:42

I prefer it too. Can understand why people save them with little ones,though, in case they get so excited/ absorbed in new toys that you can't get them to do anything else.

Once they're 5 or so, though, it's much nicer to open them straight away and say thankyou face to face

JavierBardem Mon 02-Nov-09 19:28:03

Hello Pippi, you have brought me back from my selfimposed mumnsnet detox.

I think if you invite 40 kids, then obviously the birthday kid is not going to open 40 presents, is he? The party would end up happening without them, there would be bitses of toys everywhere, etc..Also with loads of presents going, the parents might want to do a bit of present hiding to recycle for the future?

If there are less kids then, I think is the norm to open the presents and say thank you. In the excitement at his party ds forgot to open the last 2 presents from his 2 last guests, there were 7 or 8 I think. I was relieved, they were doubles, and I have promptly recycled them. grin And if the mums were shocked that the presents did not get openend and have deleted us from their address book, whatever, don't want to hang out with people like that. wink

To be honest I don't think there is a norm and if people think you are rude because you do things differently, then xxxx them, really. wink It had never occurred to me that htere were norms, the main thing is to say thank you.

As I am close with some of the mums, then yes, I have told them what ds wanted/needed, to avoid the usual tat. I emphasise small and cheap as we have little space. Best present ds loved was a few stickers.

The cake again, sometimes if you have loads of kids, it might be better to put it in the napkin, so kids will waltz out, rather than moan and refuse to leave. We have it at home, but we don't invite a whole class.

JavierBardem Mon 02-Nov-09 19:28:38

blush that was unnecessarily long Pippi!

PippiTheWarGoddess Mon 02-Nov-09 20:58:43

Oh I am glad there's not just one way. I assumed so but then got a bit paranoid thinking "have I let down a whole generation of children?" wink

SuiGeneris Tue 03-Nov-09 19:23:22

Not sure what the norm is (I am a foreigner in Britain too) but at the last three kids' birthdays we went to the presents got put aside and not opened until all the guests had left. The children were young (2/3) and we were almost family so we got to stay and actually see our presents get opened by the birthday child. I did find it odd and a bit sad, however, that everyone else had to leave without even seeing the smile on the birthday child's face.

When the guests left they were given party bags with sweets and toys inside. I was a bit surprised, especially as the sweets in the bag were not things that I would expect any of those present (including the hosts!) would wish their children to eat. Is this normal/expected? Would the cake go in the bag? And why? Can it not be served to the children half-way through the party (isn't it the point of the party to play with your friends, blow the candles and eat the cake with them)? Would it be strange if that was the approach taken?

Wondering because we will have a child soon and it seems that there are a lot of rules about children's parties and the like...

PippiTheWarGoddess Tue 03-Nov-09 20:40:29

SG what you described was exactly the tipe of parties I have been around here.
First year I have done those party bags too. This year I refused. Lots of money for tatt that goes in the bin immediately and pointless sweets.
So instead I have done a small present for each child, like a drawing book, a pack of cute erasers etc. Only because my mum used to do that back home.
Yes you know I think like you do, to me the whole point of a party is this: guests bring prsents tey have chosen and cannot wait for birthday child to open so they can show/share/feel important; lots of mad free playing with some scattered games; snacks left around for them to eat; cake and candles; eating cake; bit more playing; bye bye - exhaustion!!

I suggest you do your version of party and say, to the parents "that's the * way smile!". I will from now on so not to pass for rude, just forriner wink!

SuiGeneris Tue 03-Nov-09 20:47:51

Good plan- will def do once we get to that stage!

Incidentally, where can you get cute erasers/pencil sharpeners here? I have only ever found the boring white blocks and almost no pencil-sharpeners...

PippiTheWarGoddess Tue 03-Nov-09 20:54:12

Ah my dear once your PFB arrives you will see things you have never seen before - shops that were invisible to you even though you passed every day on your way to the pub wink.

Here in suburbia town 5 minutes walk there's a party shops which sells baloons of every shape and colous, pignattas, party invitation, party bags and and and buckets of things especiaqlly for party bags: erasers, pencil sharpeners, yo yos, etc etc.
Big supermarket have them too. But yes not the same as going to the 'cartoleria' smile

in re to erasers when home last time I found a bag of them (remember the collezioni kept in the bacheche di legno????) of when I was a child. I opened them and the smell brought me right back when I was 12!

JavierBardem Tue 03-Nov-09 21:27:25

Yes, I refused to do party bags this year, every child was given a lolly with a light in (20p each)on the way out (to get them out actually). Fed up with rubbish that these parties generate tbh.

I like the idea of parents chipping in for a present, but I think difficult maybe to arrange. Ds gets to go to about maybe 8 parties a year, I don;t know all the parents that well, the idea of talking to each one of them, to organise present, uff, boring, boring, I don't have time. I did it for a boy though, as I was particularly friendly with the mum, gave her the money and she did the rest. It felt a bit clinical, but at least I know the present was wanted/needed.

For ds I ask for a little book or stickers or gogos.

My friend's dd who lives in a posh area, has a party to go to, twice a month. Pita after a while this present buying. So, to make life easier and if you have a small budget, you buy loads of pressies in advance, to pull out for the occasion. Otherwise you end up spending most Saturdays shopping for a present for a child who, chances are, will hardly play with it. But, don't get me started on that.

There are some place where you can buy lovely books greatly discounted.

This year I also refused to have any veggies as party food or anything vaguely nice or healthy. It NEVER gets bloody eaten. (we only invite kids, no parents, small house and cannot be bothered). So I took ds to the supermarket and he chose: we came out with crips, dodgy tarts that I had never bought before, sugary drinks, dodgy ham and disgusting white bread. The little ungrateful sods ATE EVERYTHING. Nothing got thrown away. [happy]

So I think that at the beginning when the babies are born, we all start with the best intentions but with age and experience, we make compromises, go back on our principles. As long as all the kids behave reasonably well and they have a lovely time, then I don't mind. Now back to Anno Zero.

PippiTheWarGoddess Tue 03-Nov-09 21:45:21

yes the healthy food never goes down well. I keep putting bowls of cherry tomatoes cucumbers and carrots and get only eaten by the ravenous mothers, or me, at the end of the party. All kids want is party food and for a day I think: who cares. Your idea of making DS choose was quite good actually.

In my days the parties I went to had: pizza, sandwiches, crisps, popcorn, tarts donought and similar, birthday cake.

yes we do start with best intentions and Annabel Karmel party food only to end up to Tesco party isle grin.


JavierBardem Tue 03-Nov-09 21:49:27

Oh, no, too good the food from Tesco for my ungrateful lot. Ds shopped at Lidl! I could not believe the rubbish he wanted, but it was his party.

islandofsodor Tue 03-Nov-09 22:09:08

The first time dd had a party I didn;t know anmy better and attempted to open the presents there and then. It was utter chaos and I ended up with no idea who had bought what.

Now we save them for later, especially if the party is somewhere other than at home.

stealthsquiggle Tue 03-Nov-09 22:18:36

I think it is more 'usual' to do presents later at anything more than a small party at home - just because it would be pandemonium otherwise. I do it because I don't trust the little sods my DS's friends not to snatch and break his newly acquired toys, leaving him in tears, and/or to open presents themselves (shock, I know, but I have seen it happen) so that neither I nor DS would have any idea what came from whom. Nowadays I do it because DS is used to it, and also because I have 'old-fashioned' parties full of games and activities and the party would be half over by the time DS had finished opening presents and admiring the contents hmm

Joint presents are hard to organise, IME, although with good friends I do ask parents for guidance - otherwise I leave it to DS to come up with ideas.

I don't honestly remember what the norm was when I was a child as the last party I had was my 6th Birthday.

Ivykaty44 Tue 03-Nov-09 22:25:07

We never had present opening at party, for the reason I wanted to know that everyone felt comfortable with everything they had brought and not have gushing over one persesnt and moving on quickly from another - or that it may seems

So presents after party when everyone almost has gone and pen and paper for list of people and present to thank everyone for the actual present they gave rather than a round robin thank you.

What everyone else does I have no idea or worry over

Bumblingbovine Wed 04-Nov-09 19:08:25

A bit l ate I know but we don't open presents because

1 -With younger children (under 4) the other children get upset and often want to play with the presents themselves, then the party host gets upset and pandemonium ensues

2 It is a nightmare to make sure I remember who gave what do I can send a thank you note - much easier to do in peace at home

3 There are often duplicate presents and sometimes things ds already has. I prefer to
keep these and recycle - It avoids embarassment

Now ds is older he will open them at the next he has party but 3 still applies and can be difficult

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