When I just barely bring up this topic of baby shower etiquette among my friends or family, it always sparks a large conversation filled with everyone’s anecdotes on something that happened to them, or some shower protocol (or lack thereof…) they weren’t quite sure how to handle.
With so many generations involved, as is often the case, with baby (and wedding) showers, it’s no wonder differing opinions or traditions come up. And with the addition of “sprinkles” and “sip n see’s” into the modern mix, it can just add to the protocol confusion.
I’ve taken the most talked about baby shower etiquette questions straight to the top of the pile, and here they are in no certain order:
Baby Shower Tricky Questions and Simple Answers!
Q. I’ve been invited to more than one baby shower for my friend who is having her first child. Do I need to take a present to both showers?
A. No, you are definitely not on the hook for multiple presents. The best solution here is to take your present to the first shower you attend, and for any subsequent showers after that feel free to take a nice card or some other small, sweet expression for the mother-to-be, like a small bouquet of flowers. Duplicate shower invitations sometimes happens among friends who are involved in multiple friend groups, and of course among family members too. You should absolutely attend, but never feel as though you should have a gift for each shower.
Q. I’ve been invited to a baby shower where a group gift is encouraged. Do I have to participate in the group gift, or can I get a gift of my own choosing? If I participate, how much should I give toward it?
A. The simple answer to both is, you should always do what you are most comfortable with, and what fits within your budget!
Sometimes those hosting a shower use it as an opportunity to fulfill a more expensive registry item, like a baby stroller or car seat, and a group contribution can be a great way to do that. An appropriate contribution, should you choose to participate, is in the $20 to $25 range per person. If you are contributing as a couple, you might choose to do more – or less – again keeping your overall budget in mind. There should be no price point expectations for group gift contributions. And anyone hosting the shower should always convey the gift they are hoping to purchase so guests have a better understanding of how much they might want to contribute.
In any event, you should always feel free to go on your own and get a gift of your own choosing if you prefer not to participate in a group gift.
Q. My family is having a large baby shower for me, and the thought of opening gifts in front of all those people makes me nervous. I don’t like all the attention. Do I have to open them during the shower, or can I do it later on at home?
A. This is a difficult one to be sure, but as etiquette is all about trying to do the most gracious thing, the answer is to do everything you can to open the presents during the baby shower. This goes for any shower of any size, baby or wedding.
Here’s why – typically people really go out of their way to pick that special gift off the registry, or even give something that is personalized or an heirloom. They love and want to be able to share in that moment with you when opening. So if you’re nervous, pull in a friend, family member or the father-to-be to help take some of the spotlight off of you if you can.
Q. I’m co-hosting a shower with some friends for a very good friend of mine. The problem is, I can’t afford to spend a lot of money on the shower. I want to participate, but I don’t want to break the bank doing it. What should I do?
A. So many of us have been in this situation. Do not fear, there is a solution! It’s an honor to be a host, and your friend who is the mother-to-be is going to be thrilled with what you are planning, and not for the amount of money spent on it.
Co-hosting with others is a great way to share costs in a resourceful way. The key is to set expectations from the beginning. For instance, you might each agree to contribute $100 toward any shower costs, and not exceed that. With that in mind, you can develop a plan and stay on track. There may be instances where others want to take on a larger piece of the cost. If so, it’s okay to be upfront and honest with your limits, you don’t owe any explanations about it. Conversely, if others wish to contribute more – or less – be gracious and okay with that too.
Q. I’m having my third child, and some friends want to throw a shower for me because it will be my first son. I feel silly doing it though since it is my third child. Is it appropriate to have a shower?
A. These days, there aren’t many “rules” as it relates to showers for multiple children. People love an excuse to get together and celebrate a baby!
If you’re uncomfortable with another shower, consider a “sprinkle”, which is a smaller, more intimate gathering of close friends and/or family with a smaller amount of gifts.
Or, you could ask your friends if they might consider a “sip n see” once the beloved baby has arrived. A “sip n see” is a chance for people to gather to “sip” on something (punch, champagne, etc.) and “see” the new arrival. Presents may or may not be involved, depending upon the preference of the mom-to-be.
Now Go and Be Gracious!