When Gifts Should be Opened

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[edit] Gift Opening Etiquette


Whether or not to open gifts in front of the gift giver depends on situation. It is a commonly accepted custom in the US that a gift should be opened in front the gift giver(s) when in small groups. This shows that you appreciate their gift and can express your gratitude for their gift in person. It also allows the gift giver the satisfaction of watching you open your gift and seeing your expression. Below are some occasions when to unwrap gifts and when not to unwrap gifts.

It is customary in the US to have a gift opening ceremony for bridal showers, baby showers, and for bachelor and bachelorette parties; though, not for weddings, graduation celebrations, housewarming parties and as host of an event. Before opening gifts in these situations give one of your guests a pad of paper and a pen and ask them to write down the gift received and who it was from. This way, it will be easy to remember when it is time to write the thank you cards.

It is generally best to not open gifts during housewarmings or children's birthday parties involving friends rather than family members. One reason is that depending on the amount of presents, it can take a lot time to open all of the presents and this can be considered boring for many of the people attending the event. Secondly, this can make people feel awkward if they ended up spending significantly more or less than the others spent. Third, any gift duplicates will be immediately obvious and can cause gift giver to feel awkward. It is common for people attending the event to call for a public opening of the gifts, though, this request should be politely declined. Fourth, if the gift recipient is from a different culture you will want to be familiar with their cultures gift opening customs. For example in Russia gifts for children are opened in private, while gifts for adults are opened in the presence of others. In China and Morocca, gifts are usually not opened in front of the gift giver, whereas in Italy, Greece, or Spain gifts are opened immediately upon receiving them.

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