July 21, 2009,
E.M. asks from Chicago, IL on July 20, 2009
Should Gifts Be Opened at Baptism Party?
My husband and I are having our daughter baptized in the next month or two (Catholic). After the service, we will have guests to our home for a meal and cake. I want to keep it simple, so we are only inviting close family. We did the same thing 2 years ago when my son was baptized and I thought it went well. However, I heard later that some of my husband’s relatives were unhappy that we didn’t open gifts during the party. I don’t think people (especially the guys) like to sit around and watch someone else open gifts. I was not raised with much religion and have only attended one other baptism/party, at which no gifts were opened. I should mention that when my son was baptized, I was very prompt about sending out thank-you notes to acknowledge the gifts he received. So…is it okay if I don’t open gifts at my daughter’s baptism party? Are these parties different for Catholics vs. Protestants or Orthodox religions?
1 mom found this helpful
N.Z. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
My daughter was just baptised this past weekend. I was asked if I was going to open gifts by a family member...I quickly replied no. I said what if a gift is a private matter or what if someone couldn't afford to give much. I made it more that it was a private matter. This person brought something she was very proud of, so at the end of the night, I ended up opening the gift, just so she could see how happy I was, but I didn't open anyone elses. Also, someone else said this, but most gifts are monetary regardless
M.J. answers from Chicago on July 20, 2009
There is no "official" thing to do. We've always opened them before having the cake. Our parties have just had family (about 30 people, only my husband's family) and it wasn't any big deal. We just started opening them, not making any announcement and then told the person thank you. Sometimes people would stop and watch, other times they just kept on talking.
In our case, lots of the gifts were savings bonds or cash, so there really wasn't much to open.
It's really up to you to deal with it. If it were me, I would do it just to get them off my case and because it's really not a big deal. Now if they were demanding that I keep my kid awake to do it, that would be another story!
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E.P. answers from Chicago on July 20, 2009
I've been a practicing Catholic all my life. Both of my children were baptized. People were generous with gifts, however, I DID NOT open gifts at the Baptism for the same reason you didn't open them at your first child's baptism. I guess some people like seeing someone open presents - personally, I would rather spend my (limited) time at the party, enjoying my guests and, later, I would rather sit down and enjoy the present- opening experience with my husband and kids.
It's lovely that you were prompt in sending out thank-you's. Honestly, you CAN do everything perfect and there still will be someone to find fault in you! The present-opening thing is NOT a Catholic-thing. There probably was a guest or two who wanted to see their present opened. And they probably didn't take into consideration that you were juggling a new baby and hosting a party. Depending on the reason of the party, I think it can be boring to watch people open gifts. That doesn't mean that I am any less gracious in receiving gifts. Personally, I love to savor the present-opening moment. If there is a relative who you know, who really wants you to open up their gift, I would do it discreetly, during the party. Only open up presents if YOU want to open them. You won't always please everyone at your parties!
Good luck and congratulations on the Baptism.
J.S. answers from Chicago on July 20, 2009
Both of my children were baptized Lutheran. At both baptizms we waited to open gifts. In my experience, the majority of the gifts turn out to be money, bonds, etc. Nothing really interesting. It's not like a birthday party where the child is anxiously waiting to open his or her gifts, this is more of an intimate gathering...Kind of like a wedding--you celebrate this moment together, but wait until later to open gifts & cards.
There really is no wrong or right way of doing this, it's just been the same way in all experiences for my kids & family members.
By the way...congrats on the baby girl!!
E.S. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
I agree that it's not a catholic thing, it's just a gift-giver thing. With my family, we all like to see gifts being opened whether it is a birthday party or an anniversary or a baptism. Seems like your family is the same way. At all my baptisms, I opened the gifts only. Some people gave cute religious engraved things that they wanted passed around. I find it's usually the older people who are miffed when presents aren't opened, and the younger ones don't even watch. I try to appease every guest by opening them. I'm not offended if people don't watch, the ones that don't watch aren't offended if I'm opening things and the ones that wanted them opened are happy as a clam so it's a win/win. I don't open any cards that are just cards by themselves - I don't think it's anyone's business who gave cash or a bond or how much or anything like that. But I'm guessing it took 10 minutes tops to get through the actual gifts and make the "elders" happy and I am always happy to oblige.
L.K. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
You don't need to open the gifts. If someone wants you to open their gift , you should to be polite. I have never been to a baptism that gifts were opened. I am Catholic and my husband Orthodox. the gifts are usually monetary with a few keepsakes or jewelry . Either way is fine so don't worry just do what feels right at the time . Have a good time :)
S.S. answers from Chicago on July 21, 2009
No. Most baptism gifts are monetary anyway.