Baby Shower etiquette for men/dummies
June 11, 2006 2:43 PM   Subscribe

If my wife hosts a baby shower, fairly large (30+ people) for her friend (with all the expense, labour and effort that requires) would she still be expected to give a present to her friend on top of this?
posted by iTristan to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it depends on the person she's throwing the shower for, and I'm sure you'll get answers on both sides.

In my opinion, though - any decent person worth their salt, however, would appreciate the planning/effort that went into the event and consider it gift enough. Besides, from a materialistic standpoint: The rest of the gifts wouldn't have come at all if not for the organizer/host holding the event.
posted by twiggy at 2:47 PM on June 11, 2006

Yes, I think she would. If she doesn't, the recipient might wonder, "My goodness. My friend went to so much trouble and expense that she couldn't afford to buy me a gift." That's guilt-inducing, isn't it - the opposite of your intent.
posted by ikkyu2 at 2:52 PM on June 11, 2006

If she knows the friend well enough to be throwing the baby shower, surely they can have a conversation about it? I really don't think your wife should feel obligated to buy a gift; maybe she could buy something in the baby's second or third month when the expense of the shower has passed.
posted by ceri richard at 2:57 PM on June 11, 2006

Yes. Or at least that's what has been the norm at every baby shower I've attended. It's usually a smaller gift -- a baby outfit or a blanket or something -- as opposed to, say, a cradle or something.
posted by macadamiaranch at 2:58 PM on June 11, 2006

posted by shifafa at 3:22 PM on June 11, 2006

I think so too, but I also agree that under the circumstances it would be fine to get a more modest gift (say, a cute outfit and blanket) rather than shelling out for the stroller or the diaper genie.
posted by scody at 3:29 PM on June 11, 2006

If she's spending significant money of her own on the shower, I think she can get by with a nice card with some heartfelt sentiments written inside about how honored she is to have hosted the shower.
posted by desuetude at 4:29 PM on June 11, 2006

Strictly speaking -- from an etiquette standpoint -- gifts are never "expected," only appreciated. The only correct real world answer lies in how (or if) the party recipient values your wife's services.
posted by majick at 5:05 PM on June 11, 2006

I think something inexpensive but meaningful would be appropriate, like a copy of your wife's favorite childhood book with a nice inscription on the inside.
posted by jrossi4r at 5:20 PM on June 11, 2006

I would say yes, mainly for all the reasons already listed, but also because hosting a party and giving a baby gift seem like different things -- you throw a party to help the mother out, you give a gift to celebrate the new baby. I feel like saying, "Well, I hosted the party so I don' t have to give a gift" is like saying, "Well, I helped drive you to your doctor's appointments, so I don't have to give a gift."
posted by occhiblu at 5:21 PM on June 11, 2006

The only parties where gifts are always expected are children's birthday parties and showers. However, at showers the gifts were originally supposed to be small, cute tokens, not big expensive things. Showers are events where friends and family "shower" a new bride or mother with encouragement and the items she probably doesn't have yet and will need in her new life, because they recognize how overwhelming a change it can be. It would be good if people could continue doing it this way. This is straight from the horse's (Miss Manners) mouth. I can lug out my book if you have any more questions.

It doesn't seem too difficult to work $15-20 for something cute for the baby into the party budget. Even if you have to cut back on the decorations, or something.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 5:36 PM on June 11, 2006

I think a sweet card would suffice.
posted by GIRLesq at 5:56 PM on June 11, 2006

I say "yes." But it should be a modest gift, and perhaps practical. Nipple chafe cream, perhaps. Bottle warmer. Bottle of Port.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:05 PM on June 11, 2006

Bottle of Port to put down for the child's High School graduation would be kind of cool. It's traditional for the host/ess to get a gift. She could organize donations for a stroller or something, and her contribution can be the legwork. Another nice gift is a health care kit with digital thermometer, tylenol drops, teething gel, etc.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 PM on June 11, 2006

posted by Count Ziggurat at 7:36 PM on June 11, 2006

Every baby shower I've been to, the hostess gave a gift. The shower is for the mom, the gift is for the baby.
posted by gokart4xmas at 7:51 PM on June 11, 2006

Yes. Though not an extravagant one.
posted by meerkatty at 7:54 PM on June 11, 2006

posted by The Monkey at 10:39 PM on June 11, 2006

Response by poster: Great insight thank you all! You've been a big help.

I like the port suggestion too (maybe that's the testosterone speaking).
posted by iTristan at 5:34 AM on June 12, 2006

my wife has had two showers for our recent arrival. One from her sister and one from her boss. Both spent a good amount of money and time on the shower, and both still got her gifts.

I would personally mark gokart4xmas's answer as best.
posted by skrike at 9:53 AM on June 13, 2006

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