Grandkids opening your gifts on Skype or Facetime? My best tips …

It can be chaos or comforting … a free-for-all … or a relaxing, fun visit, as grandkids unwrap the presents you have shipped. We’ve had a mixture of all that, since our grandkids have been thousands of miles away almost every Christmas since 2012.

But we have achieved some smoothness — and fun! — as we open our Christmas gifts to each other. I’m happy to share my tips for those of you using FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, Goggle Duo, etc. to see your grands unwrap Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa gifts.

Handling the gifts

  • Ask your child or his/her spouse to be the “Elf” at the grandchild’s house, and ask in advance if they would be in charge of the gifts you’re sending. (Our daughter-in-love does a heroic job at this, with cheerfulness — God love her!)
  • Don’t have the gifts sent with the kids’ name on it. Address it to the Elf, so she/he can set them aside.
  • Let the Elf know what you’re sending, by sending one complete list — not a whole bunch of texts and phone calls! That makes it easy on the Elf.
  • Our “Elf” takes the items out of shipping boxes and puts them in gift bags for us. This makes the present more fun and appealing!

Before the “event”…

  • Arrange a date and time in advance, so everybody is ready.
  • Pick a day and time that works best for your grandkids. We’ve always said it doesn’t have to be Christmas Day! We’ve opened gifts on Christmas Eve, the day after Christmas, and even farther away from December 25. That can work out better than trying to do everything on Christmas Day. Trust me, the kids are excited whenever you do it!
  • Have your devices (phone, iPad, etc.) charged.
  • Having your device on a stand really helps you relax.
  • Your Elf should pick out the best place for the kids to be during the video chat. For a few years, our grandkids were sitting around the dining room table to open the gifts and that went well. Other years as they have been older, they’ve been sitting on the floor of the living room.

At the event …

  • Dress in Christmas colors! Have eggnog or wine to enjoy as your watch the grands unwrap. Make it an event!
  • Some people don’t mind commotion but we really like having one present opened at a time.
  • Have someone at the grandkids’ house be in charge of positioning the camera on their device so you can see the gift-opener. In the excitement, sometimes it’s hard to remember that their device probably should move around during present opening.
  • We let the kids open their presents first before the adults do.
  • Thank your Elf for making all this work. In the middle of the busiest season of the year, we appreciate our Elf who gives us a wonderful time on our Christmas video chat!

Do you have any tips for present opening? Please share in the Comments section below.

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4 thoughts on “Grandkids opening your gifts on Skype or Facetime? My best tips …”

  1. After our daughter and her kids moved away, the first Christmas was so difficult. Then present opening was hard because we couldn’t see the kids well, we couldn’t hear, it was a mess. Before the next Christmas we talked to our daughter and figured out how to make it better. Wish I would have had your tips then! 🙂

    I do have a tip to offer: while watching kids open presents on Facetime, the grandparents should not do much talking. The kids aren’t listening anyway. Just sit back and relax and watch the fun unfold!

    Love this blog!

    • Thanks, Kathy!

      I love your tip. As a matter of fact, I think I talk too much during present opening! Maybe I describe why I chose this gift or tell a feature I like about the item — and I really should just be quiet and watch the fun, as you say. Thanks for the tip. None of us is as smart as all of us!


  2. I also think that if there’s more than one set (or other configuration) of grandparents, perhaps it might be easier on everyone if the children/child open(s) gifts from each set (or whatever) of grands at separate times. That might help avoid any hurt feelings (for the adults!) in case a little person is more interested or seems to like one gift more than another……


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