Legacy Of Fun

An End to Birthday Present Mayhem

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I can’t bear to watch presents being opened at kids’ birthday parties anymore.

If you can, then I don’t think we can be friends.

I mean, have you really watched what goes on?

Insidious Infliction of Gifts

There’s the obvious infliction of selfishness upon our youth…

“Hey friends, you should all gather around and celebrate me and give me stuff!!”

But this level of selfishness is a time honored tradition in our culture.

However, opening gifts at the party opens a dark can of insidiousness that I can no longer ignore.

You can hear it dripping in the repeated attempts of parents to ask…

“Who’s it from?”

“How do you show your appreciation?”

“Read the card!”

Kids don’t give a crap about that card… they just want their stuff!

And we feed these animals by giving it to them!

The next time you’re at a kids party, look into the eyes of the kids and parents who brought the gifts.

The kid who’s gift gets tossed idly aside or even worse, gets some disparaging comments.

The soul-crushing of the kid who brought a duplicate gift and theirs is opened SECOND.

That one parent who thought you were serious when you said presents weren’t required…

Nothing but pain and misery awaits when this is part of your birthday party.

Why It Matters to Me

This all weighs heavily on my mind since my own angel is celebrating number 6 this weekend.

As compassionate and loving as I know her to be, the truth is, the only thing on her mind right now is:

  • Gimme Hello Kitty
  • Gimme cake
  • Gimme STUFF!

So we’re trying an experiment this year…

My Birthday Gift Experiment

There will be no carnage. We’re not opening gifts at the party.

At all.

Presents are optional. If you bring one, we will quickly whisk it off to the back room where no one will see.

You won’t see the gears spinning as other parents try to calculate who brought gifts and who didn’t.

There will be no time for focusing on “stuff” – just spending time celebrating life and the friends accumulated so far along the way.

And… in our case… painting nails.

The next day, when all the friends are gone, she will get to open ONE gift.


She will pay attention to who it is from.

She will acknowledge what it is.

And she will have a day to enjoy and focus on that gift and decide what words of thanks she wants to send in return.

The following day, she will get to open another gift. Again, acknowledging who it is from and spending time with that gift.

And so on until they’ve all been opened.

No mayhem. No carnage. No scrambling to scrawl out thank you’s and forcing them to sound authentic while staring at a huge pile of stuff.

Her birthday celebration will last longer this year… but at a slower pace.

God knows we could use some slower pacing up in here.

What will we learn from this experience? Hell if I know.

Probably that Daddy shouldn’t mess with tradition.

But I’ll let you know how it goes in the comments…

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