When to Give Christmas Gifts?

When to give Christmas gifts?

This might sound like an odd question, and possibly is. I mean we all have our traditions and so most people just know when to give Christmas gifts, (after lunch on Christmas day right?) until that is you have a partner or friends whose traditions are different.

In my house growing up we found our Christmas stockings at the end of the bed on Christmas morning (a tradition which continued long after childhood), these were from Santa and could be opened immediately. Then you could choose 1 gift from under the tree to open in the morning (usually chosen very strategically) and the rest would be left till after lunch.

If we saw family and friends before Christmas sometimes we could open gifts we were given there and then, but for grandparents or any gifts that were given when we weren't there they were placed under the tree to be opened Christmas afternoon.


My husbands family, however, opened all their presents Christmas morning with the slight distinction of stockings before breakfast and presents after.

Different Traditions

These two traditions were pretty easy to meld together. But what if your partners family gave gifts on Christmas eve? This is common in many countries and apparently practised by the royal family. And there are plenty of families who allow for one gift to be opened on Christmas eve whether it’s a special Christmas eve box, festive pyjamas or a gift from someone you’re not going to see on the day.

Some people save gift giving until the 12th day of Christmas, (or even spread it out for 12 days) while other traditions have gifts given as early as the 5th of December when children leave their boots or shoes out for St Nicholas.

And while some families will open gifts from other people as and when they are received others are pretty strict about saving them for the big day.

How early can you give out gifts?

Regardless of when you choose to open gifts as a family there are also likely to be people you will give gifts to that you don’t see on Christmas day.

You might give gifts to teachers at school, should you leave it till the last day of the term or just the last week?

Do you give gifts to colleagues at the office Christmas party or just before you all head home for the holidays? For secret Santa gifts, a date is normally given well in advance. 

Is November too early to hand over a gift if you’re not sure you’ll see them in person before the big day. Or is it better to wait till after Christmas if you are planning to see them between Christmas and new year?

While you ponder these questions check out our gift wrapping tips and how to wrap your presents waste-free.

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