Husband's Boss Throwing Us A Baby Shower Etiquette?
January 9, 2017 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Yay, we are expecting twins in a few weeks! My wonderful husband's wonderful boss/coworkers want to throw us a small baby shower. I have questions.

I've only been to one baby shower in my life and Google is sort of failing me on the expected etiquette of this exact situation.

My husband works with a large group of IT Techs, Engineers, and Admin workers. His boss wants to throw us a co-ed-work-baby-shower during office hours at a local restaurant. I have never met any of his coworkers (they don't do holiday parties and we are always out of town for the annual company picnic), but by all accounts they are wonderful, lovely people. His boss especially has been incredibly kind and very accommodating in orchestrating semi-paid paternal leave for him, despite it not being company policy.

My main question is, should I bring favors to give? If so, what? I don't want to do anything that would exclude the men, so I was thinking maybe a little box of chocolates from the fancy place downtown? Or would edibles be off the table considering this will be taking place at a restaurant?

The shower is such a kind and thoughtful gesture (it will be the only shower we have) but I'm a bit clueless what to expect. I don't want to step on anyone's toes (especially his boss's), and I understand this shower is for -him- (he's adored at work), but I know I'm required to attend and I'm not sure what is expected of me? Would it be a faux pas to show up empty-handed? Would it be insulting to the people planning it to bring small favors? I'm not involved with any step of the organization here, his boss was pushing for a surprise shower but he wisely clued me in.

I'd like to be gracious, but I'm a socially inept homebody with limited experience in the baby shower arena. What are your opinions, Metafilter?
posted by Syllables to Human Relations (13 answers total)
You don't have to bring anything for anyone. Your company, and finally meeting you, will be a favor enough. Write a lovely thank-you note to the team after it's all over.
posted by theraflu at 9:49 AM on January 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

This sort of baby shower is routine at my office and no spouse/partner being celebrated has ever brought a gift for the office. We'd find it lovely but totally unnecessary since we're all there to celebrate your baby. I agree that a thank you note after the shower is all you need.
posted by snaw at 9:56 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

The honoree should not bring anything. If you want, after the shower is over, send a box of treats/fruit arrangement/baked goods of your choosing with your note of overwhelming gratitude.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:57 AM on January 9, 2017 [23 favorites]

I'm not an etiquette expert, but if this were happening in my workplace, I would not expect favors from the expecting parents. I do think writing a PAPER thank you to the team is important, as well as individual thank yous if anyone gives you an individual gift. (I was rather bothered when I bought a nice gift for a coworker's wedding shower and got a one-line email in response! I still like her and we are friendly, but to me that was a little weird.)

If you do want to give favors, I think the chocolates are a nice idea. I think they are fine for a restaurant because the expectation would be that you take them with you, not that you eat them right there (like, say, a cake or cookies that are already out of a package). If someone does get offended/insulted by free chocolates, then I think the problem lies with them. :) But again, totally not necessary!
posted by rainbowbrite at 10:00 AM on January 9, 2017

No favors, just thank you notes after, and maybe a special thank you card to the Boss saying that you guys really appreciate the extra effort Boss made to get the leave for your husband.
Then when babies are born, Husband should email Boss at least 2 cute pics.
posted by rmless at 10:00 AM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been a participant of many (and recipient of several) work baby showers from both my and my husband's work places and there have never been favors involved in any of them, regardless of location. The showers where favors are given are the ones thrown by family or friends and even then, the person throwing the shower would supply the favors. I agree if you want to you could send an edible treat with a thank you card, but totally not necessary or expected. Congrats on the twins!!
posted by LKWorking at 10:05 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been involved in a few office baby showers. nthing that you don't need to bring favors, just yourself. Definitely write out thank you notes after the shower. And, yes, email everyone around when the babies are born. That was standard at my last workplace.
posted by FireFountain at 10:06 AM on January 9, 2017

You wouldn't have brought favors if it had been a surprise party anyway; definitely nobody's expecting it. You will be expected to provide pictures later, though.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:09 AM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

nthing that you aren't expected to bring anything.

If you want to go above and beyond, you can get your husband to ask the co-workers who are doing the planning to confirm ("Hey, Syllables is wondering if there's anything she can do to help out"), but the answer will, of course, be: "Just show up, we're excited to meet her finally!!"

You'll need to do thank you notes, and sending something yummy to the office (breakfast treats FTW) a week or so later would be awesome.

You will be expected to provide pictures later, though.

Pictures are nice and all, but a visit to the office (in a few months, when mom and dad are less tired and baby is less wrinkly and more vaccinated) so that people who are so inclined might get their baby snorgling on is better.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:25 AM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Nthing everyone else about no favors, just thank you cards and an e-mail about the kid being born.

Does your husband work at a place where people give short speeches during events that shade between family and work? Even if not, it might be nice unless it's a total no-no if at some point during the shower, you or your husband got up to give a short speech thanking everyone and calling out his boss for being awesome, particularly if it's generally known that he helped your husband get that semi-paid paternal leave.
posted by joyceanmachine at 10:26 AM on January 9, 2017

Baby shower pro trip! Gifts will be coming fast and furious, many without cards or with easily misplaced cards. Ideally, there will be a scribe writing down who gives you what to help with drafting thank you notes. This is a total North America baby/wedding shower *thing*. If not, you might need to start taking notes yourself ("Oh! I just don't want to forget who got us this lovely onesie...") and hopefully someone will take over.
posted by whitewall at 11:51 AM on January 9, 2017 [6 favorites]

A mother of twins here who had 3 workplace showers thrown for us. The best "favor" you can give is show up and just enjoy the moment!

After the showers, I would suggest handwritten thank you notes to the entire office as well as separate ones for individuals who went above and beyond or who gave a separate present.
posted by jraz at 12:36 PM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

Since I'm sure you'll make a list of the gifts you receive as you receive them (for thank-you-note-writing purposes!), it's super-extra-nice if you stick that on your bulletin board after you write the notes, and try to take a picture of the baby with various people's gifts as time goes by. People love it if you're like, "Here's Baby Syllables in the outfit you gave her!" or "Look, it's the spoons you picked full of mashed peas!" Your husband can e-mail those pics to his coworkers or whatever.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:23 PM on January 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

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