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poll about opening Christmas presents

How did your family open presents when you were a kid?  Did your DH's family have a different method?

I ask b/c at Thanksgiving it came up that my family passes out one present to each person (somebody plays Santa each "round") and then we alternate who opens first in each round and generally we all comment on and admire each person's gift, unless its something very boring like socks, etc.  We sometimes get up and personally kiss and thank the person that gave us a particularly thoughtful or expensive gift.  It takes awhile to open presents this way, but its the way we've always done it.

DH's family is basically in a rush to open all the presents as quickly as possibly.  So, you can freqently miss someone opening your gift or you really have to get someone's attention to thank them, etc.  Each person goes and finds a gift to give someone and if you don't give them your gift, its rare that anyone else will.  At the end, everyone sort of says a general thank you and "wow, this is all great, thanks so much, etc."

DH thought his family's way is the more common and was kind of laughing at my family for being so slow and formal, but then my BIL (who has a much larger family) told us that his family did it the same way and when he first started dating SIL, he was really surprised at how quickly they raced through opening presents. 

How does your family open presents and has it changed alot over the years?  Do you do differently in your own home now?

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Re: poll about opening Christmas presents

  • I could've written this post. In our family, we take our time and pass out a present at a time so everyone can see what you're opening. In DH's family, everyone's usually spread out in different rooms, gifts are flung at you and no one really pays attention to anyone opening anything.
  • Pretty much the same response as Gracie above.  My family, we pass out a present at a time and all watch each other. But I am an only child so our Christmases were much more low key.  My husband's family is huge and it's all a big blur.
  • image gracie2762:
    I could've written this post. In our family, we take our time and pass out a present at a time so everyone can see what you're opening. In DH's family, everyone's usually spread out in different rooms, gifts are flung at you and no one really pays attention to anyone opening anything.

    This exactly. I like seeing what everyone gets, it's not a race, it should be a relaxing time and I like thanking everyone for what they got me. 

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  • When we were younger my sister and I would open our together first, not very quickly, so my parents always saw what we were each opening so we could say thank you properly.  Then when we got a bit older, and less self absorbed, we had my mom/dad open all their gifts first, then we would.  DH's family is kind of crazy, everyone opens them at once and thank-you's are shouted all over the place. Although the little kids always go first, then when they are done and entertained the adults all open at the same time. But it's never felt like a race or anything, we each take our time.
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  • Honestly, I can't remember.  Part of me thinks we ripped and roared through the gifts as kids, but part of me remembers one at a time (still ripping as fast as possible). 

    In my family at my parents house (sisters and families), the kids just rip rip rip.  It actually sort of drives me nuts.  From what i've seen, I thought that was normal.  I just get irritated at the flying paper, the screams of excitement but the more more more.  I get even more agitated at the "anymore/that's all" comments.  Again, i'm SURE it's the age but still.

     At my extended family, when we were kids, we'd all just open once given to us.  However, you're talking a huge family so much more craziness.  If the grandkids exchange (which they usually do), they also just rip open once they are given a gift.  Though, it's typically only one gift from the secret santa partner.

    I *hope* to teach DD to open and "enjoy" the gift before ripping the next one open.  I'm not saying open and play with and then get the next gift.  I'm talking open, actually see what it is, thank the giver (if applicable in that setting), and then go to the next gift.  However, I'm sure that will come with age.  I can't really expect a 2-6yr old (or whatever) to really "relish" and "enjoy" each gift.  They love to open open open.

    At the in laws we open a gift at a time and go around in the circle.  Typically since most gifts are from in laws, we don't thank them every single time.  If it's a special gift, we will get up and hug them and thank them, but usually our thanks is at the end to them.  If I open something from SIL or BIL, yes we immediately thank and also thank at the end.  I actually enjoy this.  It takes FOREVER but it really does make it fun and it extends the time and allows everyone to see the fun gifts.  The kids/grandkids go first and then at the end, in laws exchange with each other while we watch. 

  • Growing up, my sister and I were allowed to open one gift each on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning, we had to wait for everyone to wake up naturally before we could start opening presents. This was never before 10am! We would go around the room, with one person (or pet!) opening a gift at a time. It was very time consuming but fun.

    I plan to do it the same way when we have kids. DH and I haven't had a "real" Christmas since getting married so it has not been an issue. I know his family didn't really celebrate Christmas growing up so I'm sure he won't care how we handle Christmas once we have kids.
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  • My family still opens presents the same way to this day.

    Stockings first, we all open at the same time
    Oldest sister opens a gift, we all ohhh and ahhhh
    I open a gift, more ohhh'ing and ahhh'ing
    Younger sister opens, ohhh ahhh
    Younest sister, ohhhh ahhhh

    After that it's sort of a free for all.  There are 6 people in my family and my mom always goes all out at Christmas so it would take FOREVER to open all of them.  It's not that we don't care or are tearing through the gifts, we just don't continue to rotate.  While we're opening, we're all aware of what the other people are opening so it's not like we're just driving through gifts with no idea what everyone is doing.

    After we open gifts from Santa/my parents we then open gifts from each other and the finally my parents open their gifts.  When everyone is done we all get up and share hugs and kisses and say how much we loved everything.

    DH's family likes to take turns and stare at you while you open gifts and I find the whole thing incredibly awkward.  I'm very thankful, but I just hate having everyone stop and stare at me because I'm nervous about having the appropriate reaction and being sure to show enough gratitude. 

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  • We used to open gifts one at a time and go in a circle. But that took FOREVER so we changed to everyone opening one together, collective ohhing and ahhing, then opening another one together. We do this Christmas morning. Oh and when we used to get stockings (which I think stopped when I was 22 and my sis was 19) we'd open those first.

    In DH's family, we open gifts one at a time in a circle, but there are fewer people and fewer gifts, so it doesn't take that long.

    As kids, my mom wrote down every gift we got and who it was from so we could write TY cards later. We never did the furious ripping into gifts because of that (which is fine with me and I think was a good idea).

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  • image camdenfaithful:

    DH's family likes to take turns and stare at you while you open gifts and I find the whole thing incredibly awkward.  I'm very thankful, but I just hate having everyone stop and stare at me because I'm nervous about having the appropriate reaction and being sure to show enough gratitude. 

    I understand about appropriate reactions. Thankfully, i'm close enough to inlaws that I don't have to worry too much anymore.  Their own kids act like brats sometimes about items so i'm allowed to every now and then, HA!

     

  • image camdenfaithful:

    DH's family likes to take turns and stare at you while you open gifts and I find the whole thing incredibly awkward.  I'm very thankful, but I just hate having everyone stop and stare at me because I'm nervous about having the appropriate reaction and being sure to show enough gratitude. 

    DH's family does this and with 8+ people it takes HOURS.

    With my family, we don't take turns but there are only 4 (now 5 with DH) of us so we can still kind of see what other people are opening, pause when someone is opening something special from you, spend more time on the memento than the socks, etc. We never really ripped them open like crazy people.

    Side note: my mom has a friend who never wrapped her kids gifts from Santa... it was just piles of toys sitting under the tree.

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  • image Bailey1806:
    image camdenfaithful:

    DH's family likes to take turns and stare at you while you open gifts and I find the whole thing incredibly awkward.  I'm very thankful, but I just hate having everyone stop and stare at me because I'm nervous about having the appropriate reaction and being sure to show enough gratitude. 

    DH's family does this and with 8+ people it takes HOURS.

    With my family, we don't take turns but there are only 4 (now 5 with DH) of us so we can still kind of see what other people are opening, pause when someone is opening something special from you, spend more time on the memento than the socks, etc. We never really ripped them open like crazy people.

    Side note: my mom has a friend who never wrapped her kids gifts from Santa... it was just piles of toys sitting under the tree.

    my parents did this - it was awesome, so you could immediately play w/ whatever Santa got you.

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  • Our gifts from Santa were never wrapped either. The toys were all just siting out, already assembled if necessary. I love it this way.

    My family opens gifts like Kathryn's : slow and methodical with appropriate thank you's, kisses and hugs.

    DH's family is one big free for all everyone gets a stack of gifts and you open at the same time as everyone else. The first time I did Christmas with his family, I just sat there, staring at them all in disbelief, while they tore through their gifts. My pile sat untouched until my MIL urged me to start opening them.
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  • DH and I are both only children and we came from families where you open each gift one at a time and ooh & aah so we kept the tradition when we got married.  The only difference being with my family, someone would play "Santa" (usually me) and hunt for a gift under the tree to pass out to each person and in DH's family, my MIL will pile presents in front of each person to open.  Personally, I like my way better!

    This year will be different because it'll be very kid-focused, DH and I aren't even exchanging and the adults are getting smallish-presents or gift cards.  And we'll be up late the night before putting toys together too but it'll be SO worth it in the morning, I'm sure! 

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  • At home with my family on Christmas morning, I always was the one to hand out the gifts.  We open one at a time so everyone gets to see everything and we go pretty slowly.  I try to make sure that we spread out the gifts so everyone gets to open one every so often.  I've always liked that way.  We used to do the same with my grandparents.

    On the other hand, at my aunt's house for extended family, it's crazy and they pass out everything at once and people just rip in.  I don't like it at all because you don't really get to see anything.

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  • My family always went around and took turns.  The little kids would open first, then the adults would take turns.

    DH's family is a free for all.  There's no order and it drives me nuts!

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  • My mother organizes all the presents, so each person has their own row with their stocking at the beginning of it. My sister, brother and I would all open our presents at the same time, stopping to thank each other as we went along. My parents would open their presents one at a time at the end. 

    Last Christmas, was a little crazy, because there were so many more of us, but we still did it about the same way

     

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  • I celebrated Channukah with my family growing up so it was one present each night for the 8 nights. Since marrying DH, we've celebrated both holidays so I've only seen how his family opens Christmas gifts. When we are with my IL's we each take turns opening gifts and commenting on them/thanking the gift giver. When we go to my BIL/SIL's house, the kids just tear through the gifts all at once with wrapping paper everywhere and minimal thank you's. I do not like the way they do it and when we have kids it will not be like that. 
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  • I have never been @ DH's family's house for Christmas- so I really have no idea how they do it, but at this point I would probably disagree w/ it because I just would want to rebel against anything my MIL suggests.

    My mom's family and therefore in my family growning up the youngest person opened all of his or her presents first. Stockings in the family room where the fireplace is. Then move to the living room where the tree is and proceed again starting w/ the youngest.

    Also Santa is too busy to wrap - and Santa almost always only gives toys and stockings, so no unwrapping there.

     

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