Christmas presents

When Do You Open Christmas Presents?

Posted by Michael Stone on

I didn’t even think this was a question for debate, but “When do you open Christmas presents” crops up a surprising amount! For me - it’s a no-brainer - presents should be opened on Christmas Day morning of course!

After researching, reading, and discussing with others, however, I have been humbled and have found that different families have different traditions and indeed many open gifts on Christmas Eve! Below, I delve into this question in greater detail and find out exactly when you should open Christmas presents!

Christmas Eve. vs Christmas Day

The main argument I have found is opening gifts on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve. I am firmly in the Christmas Day camp and I don’t ever see myself breaking this tradition unless I’m getting a gift like a new house or something!

But plenty of people open gifts on Christmas Eve and I guess this is OK. Seriously - some families do this out of necessity as we have to remember that many people work on Christmas Day. Therefore, Christmas Eve could be the only time they can open presents together.

Other families like to let their children open one or two gifts on Christmas Eve to temper their excitement and make sure they at least get a few hours of sleep before the big day!

This can work fantastically and it helps build the excitement too. You let them open a relatively small present on Christmas Eve so that their brain is satiated a little, but they still maintain their excitement for the big presents still to come!

Maintaining the Magic for Children

As we get older the magic of Christmas often fades and instead of being excited for Santa coming with presents, we get excited to spend time with our family and see the sheer joy and excitement our children have during this season.

This is why when looking at when do you open Christmas presents, put your children first! Go the extra mile to make sure the magic is maintained for them, and they get to enjoy a memorable Christmas each year. Get kids Christmas wrapping paper, dress up as Santa, and put a plate of mince pies and carrots on your dining table!

Part of this is often waiting to open gifts until Christmas Day (Because this is the only time gifts should be opened!) so that their excitement can build up. Kids know that Santa comes on Christmas Eve and delivers presents while they are asleep, so try to go along with that and maintain the illusion.

The look on their faces and the excitement they have will be worth it even if they do wake up at 4am!

Setting Family Expectations and Rules

a person opening up a Christmas present

All families approach Christmas differently! What I do could seem strange and alien to another family and one of the main things to remember is to make sure everyone in your family is on the same page.

Respect what members of your family want to do and allow them to continue their Christmas traditions! In the same manner, make sure that your family understands your expectations, and how you will approach gift-giving and opening during the festive season.

Doing this is the best way to avoid any arguments, misunderstandings, and disappointed children!

Tips for a Memorable Gift-Opening Experience

So, when do you open Christmas presents? Anytime you like that suits your family traditions and gives everyone the best experience! Which means… on Christmas Day morning! Ahem… I really need to stop that…

Anyway, when you have the timing right, how else can you make a Christmas gift-opening session memorable? From experience, I have found the following tips always work!

  • Stack the gifts in no particular order and don’t put all one person’s gifts together.
  • Under the Christmas Tree is THE only place to open gifts!
  • Make sure you have a tin of biscuits open to munch on.
  • Get into the festive theme and play some carols or Christmas music.


Placing the gifts in a big pile with no particular order means there is an element of excitement when you pick a gift up and check the tag to see if it’s yours or not!

If you have a Christmas Tree, of course, you have to sit around it and open your gifts there… unless your tree is in the hallway or on a particularly cold floor!

Without fail, every Christmas, my family always open presents while stuffing our faces with a tin or box of special biscuits instead of breakfast! Don’t forget some festive music too as this adds to the atmosphere and brings everything together perfectly.

Open Christmas Gifts at a Time That’s Right for You!

I hope you have had fun reading this article - I certainly did write it! I joke about Christmas Day being the ONLY time to open presents, but I want to finish by saying you should do whatever is best for your family whether this is Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, or a week before the big day!

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