Etiquette for opening baby shower gifts

When it comes to the etiquette of opening gifts at a baby shower it’s a divisive topic. Some people love the idea while it makes others stressed and uncomfortable. In the end, it’s your baby shower, so do what’s best for you. You won’t be able to please everyone all the time.

Below we’ve provided ideas to guide you on your choice, how to spice up the gift opening or avoid it altogether. 

Should you open gifts at the baby shower?

Tradition would have you open all the gifts in front of the guests. But, times have changed and it’s more common not to. Below we outline the positives and negatives.

Positives

  • Some guests will have put a lot of effort into finding the perfect baby shower present. And they want the mum to be to acknowledge this in front of all the guests.
  • Giving is fun and rewarding. Lots of people love watching the enjoyment of people giving gifts and receiving them.
  • You are able to see the reaction on the recipient’s face. Especially if it’s a gift no one has thought of.
  • The recipient can thank the giver on the spot and in person. And offer their gratitude at the time.
Cardboard gift box with mint colour ribbon and baby shower card

Negatives

  • It can be very boring for the guests to sit through the opening of every present. And if it is a large baby shower with many guests it can take a long time.
  • If there was a baby shower register, then most people know what presents have been requested. So there won’t be too many surprises.
  • Some people are uncomfortable being the centre of attention. This goes for both the gift giver and receiver. 
  • It can be awkward for everyone if 2 different people give the same gift.
  • Everybody’s personal finances are different. While one person can afford an expensive gift others may have financial constraints. The party shouldn’t be about how much you have spent. But if you are wondering, this guide gives an idea of how much you should spend on a baby shower present.
  • You may have limited time at your venue. So you don’t want to waste this by having everyone sitting down and watching you open presents. You would much rather they are having a good time, catching up with people and playing baby shower games.
  • By the end of the party, you are tired and want to relax. Not have to pretend you like every gift that has been given.

Based on the above, the feeling is not to open the gifts at the baby shower. There are exceptions to the rules. And if one of your guests asks you to open theirs, there is no harm in accommodating their request. But if you feel obliged to open all the presents, there are a few ways to make it easier for everyone.

Alternatives to open gifts at a baby shower

People don’t want to sit around watching you open presents. They want to be celebrating the upcoming birth of the baby.
But, if you do want to open gifts at the baby shower. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to do it.

  • You can put a note on the gift table saying “gifts will be opened at XX time”. The time should be at the end of the party. This way, those who don’t want to watch can keep on mingling or leave before it starts.
  • The host of the baby shower could include on the invite that gifts will be opened at a certain time or straight after the party. So if the guests want to watch they can stay around and join in. The invite could read something like “We want you to mingle and have a good time, to catch up with old friends and new. We will be opening the presents straight after the baby shower and you are welcome to stay around and join in”.
  • A fun way to open gifts is to make a game of it. A popular baby shower game is bingo. You can incorporate this into the gift opening of the party. Here everyone can be a part of it and have a chance to win some prizes. To play it’s like normal bingo except the words are the presents from the baby registery. To play, make one bingo card full of words and make enough copies for all the guests. Make sure they all have different words otherwise everyone will win at the same time. As the mum to be opens the gifts she yells out what it is. And once a guest has completed their sheet they yell out bingo. This will make opening the presents fun for guests and the host alike.
Gender Reveal Party

Alternatives to opening gifts at the party

You may not want to open gifts in front of everyone at the party. And there are ways to keep everyone’s expectations in check. Here are some ideas.

  • Specify on the invite that gifts won’t be opened at the shower. You could word the invite “I can’t wait to see you. Gifts arent necessary but any that are received will be opened the next day”.
  • You may not want to receive any gifts at all. This is common for a baby sprinkle, the celebration for the second or third baby. To do this it’s best to add a note on the invite. Be very specific and word it like this “We are fortunate to have everything for the baby that we need. So, please don’t bring a gift. We can’t wait to see and celebrate with you.
  • One way of not opening presents at the party is by having a “display shower”. This has become more popular and has many benefits. The person giving the present doesn’t have to waste money on gift wrapping. Also, it reduced waste and is more environmentally friendly. People are able to view the presents at their own leisure. This can be added to the invite. You can write something like “Keep the environment in mind and reduce waste, please don’t wrap your gift. We will have a gift table for you to leave it on and to view at your leisure”.
Image Credit: Catch My Party
  • If you want to still receive gifts but don’t want the hassle of taking them home or opening them at the party. You could ask them to have them delivered to your home. This is not the best option as it looks like you are having a party for the gifts. The only exception would be if you are holding a virtual baby shower. Having the gift sent to their house adds the extra expense of a delivery charge. And their time dropping it off at the post office or house. If you decide to do this add it to the invite but word it carefully. Write something like “We want to spend the time with you at the party rather than opening presents. If you want to give something please send it to our home”. 

Virtual baby shower gift-giving and opening

With the onset of COVID-19 having a virtual baby shower has become common. A virtual baby shower is a party to celebrate the pregnancy and is conducted online from your own home. 

For the gift-giving process, you should state on the invite to send your gift to the mum before the party. Like the baby showers above you have to decide if you will open them on the virtual call, before or after.

Everyone has different options yet we believe it’s best to open the gifts before the virtual baby shower. And when it comes time to go on the call you can thank everyone and show the gifts. This will speed up the process but everyone will still be able to see the presents you received.

One nice gesture is to send a personalized thank you card a few days later. And even better, a photo of the practical baby shower present being used after the baby has been born.

We hope the above has helped you decide if you will be opening the presents on the day or not. 

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This article was written by Luisa Figueroa. She is the owner, designer and maker of the My Little Love Heart range of baby gifts and accessories. She has been working within the fashion industry for over 15 years and specialising in baby accessories for the last 7. Her love of fashion has enabled her to work and study around the world.

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