It’s the age-old question when it comes to baby showers. Should Mom-to-Be open her gifts in front of everyone at the shower or should she and Dad-to-Be open the gifts when they are alone? 

Etiquette expert Julie Rottenberg says,  “No-opening-gifts-in-public policy. It’s a bore to watch someone else open presents, and it’s just as agonizing for the recipient, who has to ooh and aah at the right decibel over and over again. And then there’s always someone who is going to feel self-conscious about what she brought once she sees everyone else’s offerings. Who needs it? A personalized thank-you note will tell the gift giver everything she needs to know.” 

That’s what the expert says. What does the average baby-shower attendee think? I reached out to a group of women I know and asked them the same question. In my unscientific survey of 28 women, only five said “no, don’t open the gifts at the shower.” 

I was surprised because even those that said presents should be opened at a baby shower also commented about how boring it is to watch the Mom-to-Be open the gifts.  “I prefer NOT to watch people open gifts. I’d rather spend time socializing and talking than watching someone open stuff for an hour.”

Another mom offered a suggestion as to how to make it more engaging to watch the Mom-to-Be open the gifts. “I liked what my mom and aunt planned for my shower. They made bingo cards off of the registry list and it kept people engaged during the gift opening and some were really into it. There were little prizes for when people got a bingo.” 

Representing the “no” votes, my friend Brooke said, “I say no. At our bridal shower and baby shower we didn’t and also when I plan showers I don’t expect them to. People should know they are grateful for the gifts. And honestly how do you act excited about 5 bottle brushes….but in all seriousness, I say skip it.” 

It looks like there’s no right or wrong answer. However for many showers, the end of the gift opening is the indication that the shower is over. If you are not going to open the gifts in front of guests, it’s important the guests know this. 

If you don’t open gifts at the baby shower, 

  • Tell the guests prior to the baby shower that gifts won’t be opened 
  • Place a nicely-written note/plaque on the gift table saying gifts won’t be opened at the shower
  • Have someone greet the guests at the door to accept the gifts. When receiving the gift, tell the guest that the Mom-to-Be will be opening the gifts after the shower.