Baby Shower Gift Etiquette
Baby shower gift etiquette celebrates the happy event with gifts and traditions that family, friends, and parents-to-be will remember for years to come.
Guidelines of baby shower etiquette help you create wonderful party memories and send off the parents-to-be with a treasure trove of useful and appropriate gifts for their new bundle of joy.
Let the New Parents Be Your Guide
It is entirely appropriate gift etiquette for moms-to-be to have gift registries available. Gift registries help you to match up your budget with the exact needs of the new parents, so take advantage of that and search the new parents' gift registry for a gift that you'd like to give. It is appropriate baby shower etiquette to include a registry card in the invitation if the new mom has registered, and many stores will provide them.
If your new mom does not have a gift registry, you may ask the shower host for gift suggestions. And if you're the shower host, ask the mom-to-be for a list of items she needs or wants to have on hand for exactly these questions!
In our parents' generation, it wasn't common for a new mother-to-be to have a baby shower if she was expecting a child after the first baby, but times have changed, and baby shower etiquette has loosened in this respect. If your guest of honor is already a parent, their needs will be different than a first time parent's in some cases, and universal in others (hey, who doesn't love those tiny little booties?). Most multiple parents do re-use many baby items for subsequent children, so if you're the guest of honor or the shower host, make sure you know which items you won't need and which ones you'll need to replace. In the case of safety items like car seats and high chairs, recall notices and new safety guidelines are issued all the time.
What Should I Gift, Going In Halfsies, and Non-Traditional Gifts: Appropriate Gift Giving Etiquette
If you are not close to the mom-to-be, you may not be privy to her intended parenting style, or all the nuances of her expectations about expecting. Baby shower gift etiquette says that gift cards are very appropriate, as are cash gifts or layette sets in non-gender specific colors. Handmade or handcrafted items like baby blankets and baskets are always appropriate. Very personal items--in this case, such as stretch mark cream or nursing pads--should be chosen with mindfulness to the new mom's sensitivity, and your relationship to her.
Oftentimes, groups of friends or family members will contribute towards a big-ticket item like a crib, a stroller, or a car seat. In the case of these large or costly items, it is most important that you all know the model and style the mom-to-be wants. Baby items can be complicated things--they snap together, convert into something else, and perform dual- or sometimes even triple-duty...but only with other, compatible set-pieces. It is critical that you defer to the new mom's selections on these large items.
If you pitch in with a group to provide a gift, it is always good gift giving etiquette to include a card signed by everyone.
In recent times, more people are aware that the most help a new parent needs is after the baby is born, and baby shower gift etiquette is moving to reflect that. Don't be surprised if you receive an invitation to a "Casserole shower" --where your gift assignment is to bring a freezable casserole dish for the new parents to use after the baby is born. Or a "Calendar shower" where the host asks different guests to limit their gift ideas to a specific time of the baby's first year (and the mom-to-be isn't overloaded with size 0-3 month rompers when the new baby arrives ready for size 6 months!). Dads, too, have recently been participating in this traditionally female-dominated area. More couples are hosting couples-oriented showers, and dads are even getting their own father-to-be showers.
The most important thing to remember in baby shower gift etiquette is that the idea is to share your joy with the expectant parents, and present them with something that is useful and shows your wish for their new baby to be loved and well cared for.
Ideas for Baby Shower Gifts
Below you will find some ideas for baby shower gifts. Again, baby shower gift etiquette suggests that you let the parents be your guide. If you do not find exactly what you are looking for, click on the store name to go directly to the store's website to search more easily.
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