Should You Open Presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?

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Christmas morning. Oh — I mean, should you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? It’s an interesting question. There is some debate around it every year, generally instigated (at least in my experience) by the Christmas Eve–choosing outliers. (“Maybe we should open our presents on Christmas Eve this year…?” they wonder aloud, as if the question had just occurred to them.) (We know they’ve been planning on asking since last year.)

And, well, now that it is the Friday afternoon before the Christmas-and-New-Year holiday block, why not think about our desires and peccadilloes regarding holiday gift-giving instead of anything particularly work-related? That sounds good to me. I’ll start.

Presents should be opened on Christmas morning. This is obvious. You don’t wait around all year just to undercut the the gift-giving portion of Christmas. Why have it a few hours early? Relax …

Gabriella Paiella, senior writer here at the Cut, agrees. “Christmas Eve is absolutely not for opening presents, it’s for eating a ton of appetizers at Grandma’s house,” she said. “But most importantly, it’s for building up the anticipation to unwrap your gifts on Christmas morning. It’s like edging, but for presents.”

Indeed. But not so fast. Writer Claire Lampen says, “Coming from a family of avid sleepers, I think opening presents on Christmas Eve makes the most sense. The nicest gift anyone could give me would be more sleeping.” Hmm. She notes that if there were Santa-believing children around, she would open presents Christmas morning, but there simply are not. “So, I’ll be sleeping until noon on Tuesday,” she said. Sleeping away the peak moments of Christmas cheer? An interesting choice …

Jen Gann, the Cut’s essays editor, says she is partial to neither. “In a perfect world, you eat food on Christmas Eve,” she said. “And on Christmas morning, you eat more food.” I must say, I am hungry.

Writer Ella Cerón expressed her longing for a specific present-opening time, in general. “I don’t often go home for the holidays, so I get my presents either mailed to me at odd days or randomly get cash dropped into my account,” she said. “I miss having a day!!” We should all count our gift of having a day as a gift … to be opened on Christmas morning!

But what does senior writer Lisa Ryan think? I’m so glad you asked. “I welcome presents literally any day of the year,” she said. “A Monday? Gift me! Arbor Day? Present me with a picture of a tree you planted in my honor! But when it comes to Christmas gifts, I prefer to open them on Christmas day.” Ahh … yes, yes. Here’s what else she said:

“I just think it’s a nice thing to do in the morning, before you have to go off to see your extended family. However, I do open some gifts on Christmas Eve as well, since we do dinner with my dad’s side of the family that night. In fairness, though, I don’t really get gifts from that side of the family any more as I am now ‘old’ and related to ‘children’ who benefit greater from presents. So yes, Christmas day is gift time for me.”

Hmm, interesting! Melissa Dahl, senior editor, came in at the last minute with what I think is a very polite compromise. She says, “Everybody gets to choose ONE present to open on Christmas Eve.” Okay. That’s pretty good. I will allow it although it is not the technical correct answer.

What do you think? Christmas Eve, or the right answer: Christmas morning? Please think about it and then whisper your answer to Santa. Amen!

Do You Open Presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?