Do You Have to Open Gifts at a Baby Shower?


The purpose of a baby shower is to shower the mom-to-be with gifts for the baby, so you usually expect her to open the presents. But if you're hosting a shower, don't feel obligated to schedule a gift-opening. Actually, in some cultures around the world it's considered impolite to open gifts in front of the giver. This probably isn't a factor at your party. Maybe the time is tight, or the guest of honor just wants to open the gifts after she goes home. Whatever the reason, do what seems best for the mom-to-be and the party itself.


  • Traditionally, the hostess sets aside a time for opening the gifts. All guests sit around the mom-to-be and watch her open each one, cooing over the tiny clothes and cute toys. In some cases, the mom-to-be may pass the gifts around the circle after opening so that everyone can get a close look.

Why Postpone the Gift Opening

  • If you have a large number of guests, it may take too much time to open all of the presents. Younger guests may prefer socializing. Additionally, there may be a large income disparity among your guests, and you may want to avoid any embarrassment someone might feel about giving a less-extravagant present.

Mom Rules

  • Ultimately, the mom-to-be should make the decision about opening the presents at the shower. She knows her guests and what they would like -- as well as what she would like. Consult with the mom-to-be, and if necessary, plan alternative actives during the time when she would have opened the gifts.


  • You don't have to make a big deal about opening the gifts. Parenting website Lil Sugar, for example, suggests passing the gifts out to all the guests. Each guest opens a gift that's not hers and shows it off. "Pregnancy Today" magazine, meanwhile, says that open-house-style baby showers are becoming popular. In this type of party, guests can drop in during the specified time but don't need to stay the whole time. In this case, the mom-to-be can open gifts as the guests arrive."

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