Gifting Tip: Open Presents Later

Precious Present Box

Precious Present Box

You’ve been there, right? At a four-year-old’s birthday party, when the presents get opened as the partygoers sit around and watch? It never fails—minutes later at least half of the room is in tears, kids fighting over gifts and parents apologizing for the bad behavior.

If you’re hosting a party that involves gift-giving, do yourself and your guests a favor and open the presents later, after all of the guests are gone. It is good etiquette for young and old alike and for a few reasons. First of all, it keeps the focus on the actual party and the guests. Second, it avoids any awkward moments for your guests if there are duplicate gifts, or if there is a wide range in size or value. Nobody should ever feel bad about the gift they brought, especially as it compares to others. And finally, opening gifts later allows the recipient to enjoy receiving each gift individually with no time constraint, no moving quickly to the next gift and the next in order to have time for cake and ice cream and pinatas and karaoke.

Think about it—gifting is a very personal tradition. A gift is selected personally and should be received personally. During the party, have a table set up to collect the gifts as guests arrive and then leave them put until everyone is gone and the guest of honor has a chance to take a breath and focus on each gifts individually and at her own pace. Acknowledge each gift later with a thank you note.

It’s a good idea whether you’re four or forty. No more party tears or awkward apologies. Trust me, you’ll never regret adopting this practice.

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8 responses to “Gifting Tip: Open Presents Later

  1. I absolutely agree with this. and I love that I now have proof online that someone else thinks the same. great tip!

  2. Stefanie

    Great advice!

  3. Great advice as I am having a party next week!

  4. Sharon

    Awesome advice – well written and thoroughly explained — I totally agree! Might I make a suggestion though (it’s totally unrelated to this particular post)?
    I happened to stumble onto the blog because i was looking for the origins of the white chocolate macadamia cookie. Then, I went directly to the mrsfields.com website. Sadly, I couldn’t find any info on history of cookies, or information about production. Perhaps I did not search the sites thoroughly enough. More of that type of info is not only interesting trivia, but also presents a much more “home-made” and personal image of the brand. Would love to find out about the white choco macadamia nut cookie if you know!

  5. We take it a step further and save some of the presents for MUCH later. Rewards for especially good days, treats to take on a trip, or simply to brighten a rainy day. And we always pack up old toys to give away.

  6. Your post is spot-on! Waiting to open gifts later makes for much better parties – for both the hosts and the guests. I hope everyone who reads this post implements your advice immediately. :)

  7. I love this idea and it’s a thought I’ve had for years… I dreaded my bridal & baby shower b/c I KNEW nobody was interested in watching me open 5 boxes of the same dish set or another package of baby towels. But… how can this tactfully be done? People sort of “expect” you to open the presents at the party… in fact a lot of people stay only until their present is opened and then they leave (which is rude, in my opinion!). I would love it if this became a trend in our society, and if you have ideas for how to politely introduce this concept to guests, please let me know! :)

  8. Pingback: Gifting Tip Follow-Up

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