We’ve done the “who” (see here) and the “what” (see here) of Christmas gift giving. That means it’s time to address the “when”!

The outfits changed, but the couches didn’t!


Growing up, we always spent Christmas Eve at my dad’s parents’ home, enjoying a special dinner and opening “cousin” gifts. Then we did the same thing at my mom’s parents’ home the next night, after opening presents from Santa, Mom & Dad, and siblings at home in the morning.

Some families have a tradition of opening one gift (often pajamas) on Christmas Eve. We decided that in our family we would save everything for Christmas Day itself, and, just to make it more fun and memorable, everyone has to be dressed first, and we make beds, eat breakfast and do the dishes before opening a single gift. (This was a great deterrent to super early morning wake-up calls.) Then gifts are opened one at a time to make it a more meaningful experience.

Can you tell Christmas was on a Sunday this year? We opened gifts after attending church. We also weren’t at home this particular year. However, we still opened gifts sitting on couches next to the Christmas tree. Traditions can be flexible!


There’s probably not a lot of discussion that ever takes place on where to open gifts, mainly because it’s most likely tied to when gifts are opened and how they’re presented. I would imagine the majority of gifts are opened while sitting around the Christmas tree, either at your own home or at a relative’s home. However, some could be opened at a friend, neighborhood, church or work party; others could be opened at the mailbox, on the doorstep or in a kitchen. Occasionally there may be a gift you want to open privately in your bedroom or closet. Maybe you’re on vacation, so you might open gifts in a ski lodge, hotel room, or on a cruise ship.

What’s the most unusual place you’ve ever experienced your Christmas gift-giving?