The etiquette of opening presents

I like following rules of etiquette. Well, many of them. They set a prescribed order that can actually facilitate social interactions and gatherings. Many see etiquette as old, antiquated norms. Yet, isn’t lovely to know that your bread at the dinner table is the one to your left? That provides me with some comfort.

It’s not like I grew up with such rules. I learned them along the way as I attended more and more business dinners and the like. I would, at times scoff, at these norms passed down from decades ago. Then I started thinking about their usefulness.

Fast forward to gift giving times. The holidays. Birthdays. Anniversaries. Of particular concern is whether to open gifts in front of the gift-giver. Ostensibly, it is polite (and maybe even gracious) to open presents in front of the giver. I know I am often excited to see the person (hopefully) squeal in delight. Yet, there’s always that little worry that lingers inside you that the person may not like it. And, they may for a millisecond show it. Ouch.

For me, I actually don’t like opening gifts in front of the giver. I feel it invasive. And, yes I get that is odd. But it just feels like such a private moment. I have to note, that no matter what, I never return gifts. Never have. Never will. I appreciate the gifts. I think that is why I shy away from opening them in front of others.

1 reply »

  1. Interesting you say that you feel the moment of opening a gift is a private moment. Up until I read that sentence, I was always the type of person who opens gifts in front of the gift giver, and I like people to open their gifts in front of me. But now you say that it’s PRIVATE, it does make sense to me. I don’t understand why it makes sense, and this is something I want to ponder. Thank you!


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