A toddler in North Carolina opened all his family’s presents before they woke up

I think every family has that one adorable but mischievous kid. Not a ‘bad’ kid or anything like that, but just a headstrong child who keeps their parents on their toes. In my family, this child is my younger son. He’s a decisive old soul who has always acted much older than his age. For example, back in mid-2020, when he was just two-and-a-half-years-old, we awoke one morning at 7am to him riding a tricycle out on the back deck. He figured out how to unlock the sliding glass door and wanted to ride, so he did.

A three-year-old in North Carolina must have that same mischievous gene. He woke his parents up at 3:00 a.m. on Christmas morning, asking for scissors to help finish opening some of his Christmas presents. Yup, this spirited child woke up in the middle of the night to check out what Santa brought him, and once he saw the presents underneath the tree, he just went for broke and opened up everything. Amazing.

A North Carolina couple woke up on Christmas morning to what they described as a “terrifying” scene: their 3-year-old loudly requesting a pair of scissors. Scott and Katie’s Reintgen’s toddler secured an early preview to Christmas by waking up at 3 a.m. to unwrap his entire family’s presents.

“The 3-year-old had found his Spider-Man web shooters, and so he wanted scissors to cut them out,” Scott Reintgen, who works as a science fiction and fantasy author, said in a phone interview Tuesday morning.

The couple has three children, ages 6, 3 and 1, and Katie Reintgen said her 3-year-old son had unwrapped “literally everything, from the tiniest eraser to the biggest box.” The gifts had taken hours to wrap the night before, the couple said. The 3-year-old, whom Scott and Katie lovingly refer to as “the midnight perpetrator,” explained to them that he unwrapped the presents because he didn’t want his family to be confused.

“He wanted us to be able to see our presents so we knew what they were,” Scott Reintgen said. “I think he legitimately just felt that he was doing a service to everyone. He will not do it again next year, we hope.”

Katie Reintgen added, “Showing no remorse.”

The morning then became a mission for the Reintgens to save Christmas for their 6-year-old son.

“The 6-year-old is very much the rule-follower so the idea that someone would just go down and open all the presents would just be unthinkable to him,” said Scott Reintgen. “But our middle child is very much the adventurous, ridiculous, no-rules, have-fun kind of kid.”

While Scott put the children back to bed, Katie painstakingly taped the ripped-up wrapping paper back together, having run out of fresh wrapping paper. She said she was careful to put the presents up high on the mantle so their 3-year-old couldn’t reach them. Scott shared photos of the moment on X, and received an outpouring of support from parents telling him their child tried the exact same stunt.

“Luckily my wife repackaged enough of the presents to stop the villain origin story for the 6 year old,” he wrote in a post on X. “We, on the other hand, are sipping coffee and plotting to tell this story at his wedding.”

[From NBC News]

I. Love. This. Story. That three-year-old had no Fs to give when it came to opening those Christmas presents. He was not scared of being caught by Santa, the Grinch, or his parents. December 24 is practically the only night of the year that our kids stay quietly in their rooms, lol. I bet some of you know what I’m talking about. So yeah, this kid cracks me up, even though I feel for his poor parents! What else can you do at 3:00 a.m. but put your child back to bed, take pictures for social media/future stories, and try to salvage Christmas for the rest of your children? This story is going to lovingly follow that kid for the rest of his life.

Frontpage photo credit: Eli Pluma on Pexels. Other photos via Twitter and Instagram/Scott Reintgen

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24 Responses to “A toddler in North Carolina opened all his family’s presents before they woke up”

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  1. Cessily says:

    I always had at least one adult sleep near the tree, because I had a child that I spent years trying to anticipate and outsmart 😉.. He sure brought out my creativity, and also a lot of laughter.

  2. Caplan says:

    He asked for scissors at 3am, they gave them to him then made a sm post planning for it to go viral with their fake shock? OK, sure.

    • SAS says:

      My understanding was he unwrapped all the presents without scissors, but asked them for scissors to get through the cable-tie keeping his toy in the packaging.

      They didn’t give him scissors but went with him to see what he was talking about and discovered the carnage, then sent him to bed. I mean, can people share a funny holiday moment?

    • Nancy says:

      He didn’t need scissors to unwrap the gifts. He needed them to get a toy out of the packaging it came in. 🙄

    • manda says:

      maybe read the story next time

  3. JanetDR says:

    My brother and I did that one year, or so I’m told. Too young to remember so it couldn’t have been my fault!

  4. K says:

    We never did that but you best believe we hunted through closets, basement and attics til my poor parents had to take everything to my grandparents. Lol good times.

  5. ML says:

    It is sort of a funny story, but I don’t love the fact that I know this toddler’s name or what he and his siblings look like. His parents will not need to wait until their kid gets married (if he even chooses to do so), because the internet lives forever.

  6. Concern Fae says:

    I’m named after my grandmother, so there would be packages with the same name. She always gave them to me to open and was amused at my disappointment when a box contained an old lady nightgown.

  7. butterflystella says:

    Cute story! One year, my (older) brother talked me into opening a few gifts to see what we were getting. We neatly wrapped them back up & our parents never knew until we told the story as adults! Mom cracked up, Lol

  8. Harla A Brazen Hussy says:

    Have kids, they said! It’ll be fun, they said!

    I admit that I had fun on Christmas morning reading on sm, about others Christmas morning and what the kids got up to.

  9. Nanea says:

    I never unwrapped Christmas gifts, but as a three year old I located *all* Easter eggs at my great-aunt’s house, and I really mean all those that were hidden for us five cousins by Dad and my uncles the night before Easter Sunday morning. It was a lot, and I was the youngest, and I really didn’t get why I had to share.

    Our twins though did unwrap everything for everyone too at Christmas – grandparents included, with a wall of wrapping paper around the tree – when they were four ½, and to this day we still have no idea why the dog didn’t ‘say’ anything. He was sound asleep in his bed near the tree the next morning when we came down.

  10. Ale says:

    As a former rule following kid i’m horrified by this whole thing.
    That poor brother…thankfully the parents wrapped everything back up, just imagine discover that your little brother has been very naughty and he still got presents from Santa 😀

  11. Athena says:

    How and Why is this national news?

  12. BeanieBean says:

    Looks like the kid drank the milk & ate one of the cookies left for Santa, too.

  13. manda says:

    my parents were the type that wrapped gifts from them, and then santa’s gifts were unwrapped, so I am thinking if I had ever done this, I would have been happy to play with the stuff left from santa. Not sure though

    I love the comment the dad made about telling that story at his wedding. My dad told a pretty funny story about how my first word was no at our wedding, and it was so sweet. Just came here to say I miss my dad <3

  14. Berkeleyfarm says:

    I woke up several times before my parents at oh crap thirty (my dad is a very early riser so this took some doing, but presumably he was up late doing dad stuff). We were allowed to do our stockings before everyone showed up so I did. Then I went back to bed. I don’t remember if this was discovered because I didn’t put it back, or when everyone else was up I said that I had done it earlier (it would have been no punishment so no reason for me to fib). I am in my sixties and my mom re-told this story on me this year.

  15. Gabby says:

    Nothing will keep you on the edge of your seat like a 3 year old. The “terrible twos” get all the publicity, but 3 is the year I almost changed my name to Rosemary, because sometimes it seemed like that’s whose baby I had.

    • Lucky Charm says:

      The terrible twos have nothing on the terrible twelves! I was positive an evil alien snuck in during the night and replaced my sweet daughter with a poltergeist that only looked like her, lol.

  16. B says:

    My little read the headline and laughed and said “oh that’s satisfying!”