Baby Showers

To open or not to open gifts at the baby shower?

In etiquette rules "You shouldn't open gifts in parties" is a private thing, and in my friend's organizing shower and my cultural backgrounds (2 different cultures), to do so, it's no well seen. We are both in the same page on the topic and that's why she organized the shower as a Ladies Party on a restaurant, I'm having 40 guests, and few activities, more as a celebration of my 1st baby, so I don't want to spend the 3 hours she is paying for on the restaurant, just opening gifts, I went to my friend's shower and the whole party was just opening the gifts, no games or anything else, I was extremely bored to be honest.

The problem, my MIL and some of my friends, which are Americans, and I know here is a traditional thing to open the gifts, are so shock and completely against my decision. Is there a way I can have a middle term solution, having someone else unwrapping for me to save time, is not an option, is my favorite part of opening gifts, and I don't want to open the gifts on a hurry, I really appreciate the time my guests will put in picking a gift and I want to dedicate each one time. Someone mentioned to me just to open a few by doing a gifts bingo game and just to open random gifts until the game is over, any other solutions?

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Re: To open or not to open gifts at the baby shower?

  • I personally do not like the "no opening gifts" deal. If I spend a lot of thought nd time picking out a nice gift and cute wrapping paper, I'd be offended if it wasn't opened in front of me. It does take some of the joy out of gift-giving.

    Anyway, I hosted a bridal shower at a restaurant where we only had 3 hours. Thre were over 100 gifts. The bridesmaids and I arranged beforehand to keep the gifts moving. We opened the envelopes for her and set them on top of the presents, then put them in her lap. After minimal Oooohing and Ahhing we would do the same with the rest of the gifts. With 3 bridesmaids we created this very efficient assembly line type thing and it did not take long at all. She even admitted that she appreciated us opening all the envelopes for her because she just had her nails done that morning.

    Anyway, it worked, and over 80 guests got to see their gifts opened.

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  • I want my shower to be a party, no just me sitting for 3 hours opening gifts, I don't think you show appreciation just because you're opening the gift in front of the person, after 20 gifts you are not even paying much attention, I prefer to open most of them at home where I can have time to appreciate the wrapping paper and the gift, and my guests know I really appreciated any of their gifts, I'm the type of person that sends handmade cards and envelopes to say Thank You for gifts and invitations.

    But I know many people feel like you about it so I want to find a middle point.

  • In America, the point of having a shower is to open the gifts in front of the givers.  It's not going to take  you the entire 3 hours to open 40 gifts.  Since your American MIL is hosting and American guests are attending, your best bet is to go with the tradition of American showers.  If you don't want to, decline the shower.
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  • My MIL is not hosting, my European friend which is in the same page as me in the gifts topic is the one hosting, and only half of the guests are american, my MIL is just making her point that I should because that's what people do here, at the end of the day is my shower and I can decide to do whatever I want, I'm not going to cancel just because some people needs their gifts to be open in front of them,  but I want to have a middle of the way solution.
  • Have a host sit with you and cut any ribbons and open any cards for you. I had about fifty people at my shower and it only took 20 minutes when we did this. We did it during dessert and it was fast and everyone got to see their gift opened.  I don't think there is really any other way... either open the gifts or don't  open them.  You will still go home and have fun going through all them again.
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  • image sramosg:
    My MIL is not hosting, my European friend which is in the same page as me in the gifts topic is the one hosting, and only half of the guests are american, my MIL is just making her point that I should because that's what people do here, at the end of the day is my shower and I can decide to do whatever I want, I'm not going to cancel just because some people needs their gifts to be open in front of them,  but I want to have a middle of the way solution.

    Sorry that I mixed up the information about the hosting. As far as declining goes, it was just a suggestion of an option.  I never said you had to cancel.

    I don't know of a compromise short of having people help you open gifts which I thought you said you weren't interested in doing. 

    Whether it's your intention or not, when you say things like "It's my shower and I can decide to do whatever I want" you come across very entitled and unappreciative.

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  • There is no middle road, you either open them or not. You got a couple good ideas, don't know what eles you expect us to say.

    If it's a hassle you can always donate the gifts to homeless shelter. I bet they'd love to have your problem Huh?

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  • image Corts:

    There is no middle road, you either open them or not. You got a couple good ideas, don't know what eles you expect us to say.

    If it's a hassle you can always donate the gifts to homeless shelter. I bet they'd love to have your problem Huh?

     

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  • If I was unappreciative, I'll just do whatever I really want, not open any gifts and I won't be asking for suggestions, I don't want to offend my guests, but I don't want to have my shower in a specific way just to please other people and then not be happy about my 1st baby shower.

    Thanks pam1005, I might use the gifts bingo game option to make it less boring and have someone at least cut the ribbons and open the cards to save some time, definitely do that over dessert.

  • If you don't want to take the time to open gifts, you could ask the hostess to put "No gifts, please" on the invitation.  :)
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  • I understand that your culture is different, but "when in Rome...". I would be very unhappy to attend a shower where the guest of honor did not open my gift. It does not take more than a minute or two to open a single gift, and if it's at a restaurant, you will have some time waiting for your food.
  • It's not that I don't want to open the gifts, I love opening gifts, but personally if I go to someone's shower and they don't open the gifts and instead do games or other activities I'll be fine, I get bored and tired of just watching opening 40 gifts.

    I don't want to bored my guests and in the same way that many of my friends are like most of you ladies that really need your presents to be open, a lot of my guests are like me and don't care much about it, it is a 50/50 situation, that's why I was trying to get ideas for a middle point.

  • You could open a few waiting for food after ordering, after eating, in between games.  That way you get to open them, and it isn't all at once causing bored guests.  I do, however, agree to the "when in Rome" comment.  Or, as a compromise, open the gifts from the people who's tradition it is to open them at the party, and wait on the presents for the guests who hold the same tradition and would understand

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  • image sramosg:

    It's not that I don't want to open the gifts, I love opening gifts, but personally if I go to someone's shower and they don't open the gifts and instead do games or other activities I'll be fine, I get bored and tired of just watching opening 40 gifts.

    I don't want to bored my guests and in the same way that many of my friends are like most of you ladies that really need your presents to be open, a lot of my guests are like me and don't care much about it, it is a 50/50 situation, that's why I was trying to get ideas for a middle point.

    Well, then do them all a favor and buy your own sh**. I can't believe you are still rambling about this so called problem and find most of your comments rude toward americans. Sheesh.

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  • I am not really sure why you asked this question because it is apparent from your replies that you don't want to open the gifts and want to argue your point. 

    I think it is rude and a little ungrateful to not open someone's gift in front of them and acknowledge their kindness/thoughtfulness, it't mostly the point of the shower.  The fact of the matter is for better or worse you live in the US and are inviting other people that live in the US (some who may or may not be originally from here) but all of your guests, even those who were born or lived abroad, have probably all been to showers where gifts are opened at the shower, because like you said it is customary here.  You're going to do what you want to do, but opening the gifts is customary and people will think it is odd or be disappointed if you don't do it.

    FWIW, I have never been to a shower where it took 3 hrs to open gifts.  The largest shower I have attended/thrown had 50 ppl and it took less than an hour to open gifts and she was not rushed.  If you're using the time as a basis for why you shouldn't do it you are really over inflating it.

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  • What's your problem Corts, that you are the type that need for everyone to see what you purchased for someone else is not my concern, I haven't make any rude comments towards americans, I'm sorry your self-appreciation is so low.

    Thankfully I can buy everything I need on my own, and thankfully I have friends that want to spend the time and money to make a beautiful shower for me, what I meant by "many of my friends are like most of you ladies that really need your presents to be open" was that they enjoy the gifts opening and if you read the sentence following that comment said: some part of my friends don't, and that's why I was looking for a in between situation, please if you don't have any positive/useful to post about other people's comments please don't waste your time.

    Thanks to the rest that actually gave me some useful information.

  • image sramosg:

    What's your problem Corts, that you are the type that need for everyone to see what you purchased for someone else is not my concern, I haven't make any rude comments towards americans, I'm sorry your self-appreciation is so low.

    Thankfully I can buy everything I need on my own, and thankfully I have friends that want to spend the time and money to make a beautiful shower for me, what I meant by "many of my friends are like most of you ladies that really need your presents to be open" was that they enjoy the gifts opening and if you read the sentence following that comment said: some part of my friends don't, and that's why I was looking for a in between situation, please if you don't have any positive/useful to post about other people's comments please don't waste your time.

    Thanks to the rest that actually gave me some useful information.

    You do kind of come off derogatory towards Americans, whether you mean to or not you just do (it's more implied by your tone than directly said).  I think people have very nicely tried to explain to you that there really is no in between.

    There are always people that like and those that don't like the opening gifts part of showers, I don't think that is cultural as much as personal opinion.  The problem is that like it or not, it is expected.  People will think it's rude if you don't, you can't change that and they will never say it to your face, but trust me it will be said.  

    Do what you want, but I think the advice of "when in Rome..." is solid and a good approach.

    FWIW, I hate opening gifts in front of people, it makes me very nervous, but I do it because it makes the gift givers who took the time to shop for me, spent their hard earned money on me and took time to come to my shower feel good.  Sometimes it just isn't about you or me, you just do things because you know it makes other people feel appreciated/good/etc.

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  • Yellow_Daisy, Sorry if I sounded derogatory, it wasn't my intention and by any way is the way I feel, my husband and many of my great friends are Americans, the point I was making was that the part of my guests that like gifts opening part is american.

    I appreciate the helpful comments and in an early post I said: I was going to do the Bingo gifts game and have someone help opening cards and cutting ribbons like someone suggested to save time. I don't think people have very nicely tried to explain to you that there really is no in between. A lot of comments have been more "That's what you have to do, that is the way is done"

    My main reason to post the question it was because I want my guests to feel apreciated, all of them the ones that like to see the gits being open and the ones that found that part of a shower boring, and because I know is not just about me, I'm going to do the Bingo Gifts game and have some of the gifts open that way, which I think will be more interactive and the rest with dessert like someone mentioned.

    Thanks.

  • image sramosg:

    Yellow_Daisy, Sorry if I sounded derogatory, it wasn't my intention and by any way is the way I feel, my husband and many of my great friends are Americans, the point I was making was that the part of my guests that like gifts opening part is american.

    I appreciate the helpful comments and in an early post I said: I was going to do the Bingo gifts game and have someone help opening cards and cutting ribbons like someone suggested to save time. I don't think people have very nicely tried to explain to you that there really is no in between. A lot of comments have been more "That's what you have to do, that is the way is done"

    My main reason to post the question it was because I want my guests to feel apreciated, all of them the ones that like to see the gits being open and the ones that found that part of a shower boring, and because I know is not just about me, I'm going to do the Bingo Gifts game and have some of the gifts open that way, which I think will be more interactive and the rest with dessert like someone mentioned.

    Thanks.

    LOL!  Ok maybe everyone wasn't nice, but I really don't think people know how to respond to this question.  It is so ingrained in our culture that this is what's done, that to not do it comes off badly, whether meaning to or not.  KWIM?

    The gift bingo game is a great way to entertain the guests that are just not into gift opening.  I have done it at several showers, especially the big ones where opening seems to run longer.  

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  • As people come in, put the gifts in two piles. Those from your American friends and those that aren't. Just open the gifts from your American friends. 20 gifts seriously shouldn't take more than 15 mins to open.
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  • image sramosg:

    If I was unappreciative, I'll just do whatever I really want, not open any gifts and I won't be asking for suggestions, I don't want to offend my guests, but I don't want to have my shower in a specific way just to please other people and then not be happy about my 1st baby shower.

    Thanks pam1005, I might use the gifts bingo game option to make it less boring and have someone at least cut the ribbons and open the cards to save some time, definitely do that over dessert.

     

    So you're having another one? Why not do the non-gift opening there? Or invite the non-gift-openers to that one and the gift-openers to the first one?

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  • At my shower 1 person opened the card for me, another cut the ribbon or started to open the wrapping.  It was pretty quick and I had about 40-50 people and there were alot of presents, I have an amazing family. 
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  • I just had my shower on Sunday and can tell you that I had about 40 guests/gifts. It did not take a full hour to open everything. To be honest, most people use gift bags nowadays. It literally takes a minute to pull the tissue paper out of the way, lift up the outfits (or 2 or 3), ooh and ahh, put it back and do the next. We also had dessert served while I was opening.

     

    When you say gift bingo, are you referring to the game where guests check off the item on a card for a prize? Or are you saying you will only open a certain number of gifts chosen randomly? If it's the latter, please don't do that. If I was a guest and someone did that, I would think it was really tacky.

     

    Honestly, people are watching you open gifts, but they are also talking to the people around them and eating/drinking something. If they are bored, it's only for a little while and it won't kill them (it's not like they're at the RMV). I'd be more concerned about offending half of my guests than the other half just being bored. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  • image EastCoastBride:
    As people come in, put the gifts in two piles. Those from your American friends and those that aren't. Just open the gifts from your American friends. 20 gifts seriously shouldn't take more than 15 mins to open.

    That does seem the obvious solution. Why open random gifts (implied by bingo idea) when you already know which guests do and do not want to watch you open them? 

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  • open presents as you get them, as each person walks in, then set them out on a gift table for others to see. it'll cut down on your gift-opening time and your mil will be happy. done. 
  • image kristennd:

    That does seem the obvious solution. Why open random gifts (implied by bingo idea) when you already know which guests do and do not want to watch you open them? 

    At all the showers I have been to where gift bingo is played it is a bingo card with baby items written in the squares, rather than numbers.  When a present gets opened, it's just like drawing a number for bingo, if you have it then you mark the box, the first person to complete a line wins the game. Just like bingo.

    I have never heard of the random pulling gifts which a couple people have mentioned.  I don't think that is what the person who suggested the game meant.

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  • image globetrotting7:
    open presents as you get them, as each person walks in, then set them out on a gift table for others to see. it'll cut down on your gift-opening time and your mil will be happy. done. 

    I like this idea.  If the gift is from an American guest, open it right away as the guest comes in and display it.  If it's from a non-American, set it aside for later.  If a lot of people come at once and you're getting backed up, put some aside and open in between courses.  I love pretty wrapping paper and really taking my time with gifts too, but for Americans, the whole point of a shower is to watch you open the gifts.  Are showers a tradition in the cultures of you or your friend who's hosting?  How are they done there?  I'm now curious about other cultural shower traditions!

  • I agree with those that say "open the gifts" since you are conducting the shower in the USA and at least half of your guests are US.  Did you invite 40 or do you know for a fact 40 are attending?  Either way, the suggestion of having someone (friend/relative) open the card and hand you the gift to open will save time.  Like someone mentioned so many people use gift bags these days that the gift opening really does go pretty fast.  I've been to showers that consisted of about 80 or more guests and gift opening was less than an hour.  Obviously you won't have time to really "examine" the gift but you'll have plenty of time to do that at home.  Those in your culture that do not open gifts at showers (do they have showers in your culture?) perhaps might enjoy seeing the things you open.  3 hours at a restaurant is quite a long time but then I'm not sure how long your hostess is planning for ordering and eating.  Perhaps you could open gifts while cake is being served and eaten.  The only other option I see is to put aside those gifts you know are from the people in your culture and open them later at home.

    Even though gift bingo is played the mom-to-be still opens all of the gifts.

  • would there maybe be an option where ur DH could come and help you open them?  it would be quicker and mayber easier all around.
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  • I think most people here anyways like to see the gifts you get at a shower , Its kind of expected that you will open the gifts and people will see your reaction,. how would it possibly take you 3 hours to open 40 gifts? you would pretty much have to spend 5 minutes on each and every gift, and how do you even know at least one person isn't just going to get you a gift card,

    I say eat ,play a few games and do the gifts at the end spend the last half hour toward gift opening while people are having cake, have all 40 people for sure even said they were attending yet?

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