We’ve corrupted the Brits. Thanks Jennifer Aniston.

by admin on August 24, 2010

Blooming cheek? Two-thirds of mothers-to-be are stocking up for their newborns with American-style baby showers

By Daily Mail Reporter (Read more here)
10th August 2010

They were once seen as an American tradition but the popularity of baby showers is soaring in Britain, according to a poll.

Two thirds of expectant mothers now plan to treat themselves to a pre-birth party.

The average mother-to-be can expect to receive gifts worth £150, according to the study by gift company Me to You.

These Brit mommies “plan to*treat* themselves” to a shower?  Good heavens, ladies, if you are going to assimilate an American custom, at least eat the meat and spit out the bad etiquette bones.

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Elliot August 24, 2010 at 6:43 am

I know lots of women who are pregnant or have had kids recently and none of them has had a baby shower or even been thrown one by a friend, so I don’t know where this has come from cos it certainly isn’t happening round my way.

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Bint August 24, 2010 at 6:51 am

I would curl up and die if anyone gave me a baby shower. In Britain, within a British culture, I think they’re horrible. I’d politely but firmly refuse to have one if asked. Brits seldom give presents to unborn babies – you buy something once the baby is safely born, and some people send flowers. Many people are very generous. You might receive things from neighbours, people who’ve never met you, ladies in my dad’s church group etc. People might cook you food, or come to offer help.

The point? We don’t need showers. We don’t have the sweet American traditions that make them fun and meaningful – they’re just a gift grab here, and they trample all over the existing culture because some people are just too damn greedy to take a chance on spontaneous generosity. Or they think it’s cute – the way making up poems asking for money at your wedding is cute.

I know someone who threw herself a baby shower. When most of the (few) guests didn’t bring a present and explained they were uncomfortable with it, she threw herself a ‘meet the baby’ party afterwards so they could safely hand their presents over then. The result was a lot of people looking at her in a very different way, and ironically less generosity than she would have had had she not had the shower in the first place.

£150 compared to the support and affection a new baby brings out in people is nothing. Nothing at all.

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Katie August 24, 2010 at 6:54 am

I really hope this doesn’t come the norm here in the UK. I think Americans are expected to buy a lot more presents than we are – we don’t have bridal showers either for example. Giving a present is a lovely, kind and voluntary thought – and I hope it remains that way!

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Katie August 24, 2010 at 6:54 am

I really hope this doesn’t become the norm here in the UK. I think Americans are expected to buy a lot more presents than we are – we don’t have bridal showers either for example. Giving a present is a lovely, kind and voluntary thought – and I hope it remains that way!

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Clare August 24, 2010 at 7:15 am

The Daily Mail isn’t exactly the most accurate of papers.

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Mrs Boo August 24, 2010 at 7:20 am

I think the line *treat themselves* may be sloppy reporting.

I have only ever been invited to one baby shower here in the UK, which was a surprise shower thrown by the mum-to-be’s sister and mum.

Most first-time parents I know would not dream of holding their own baby shower. They tend to find going out to shop for baby things themselves far more exciting than having things bought for them.

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Lambzig August 24, 2010 at 7:21 am

I have recently had a baby myself and as a consequence know a lot of pregnant or new mums here in London. None of them have had a baby shower. The only one I have attended was for an american lady I worked with, living over here and thrown by her friend (also an american). Agree with Elliot, dont know where this story has come from.

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Ann August 24, 2010 at 7:45 am

I’m an American who has lived in the UK for nearly eight years, and I certainly haven’t seen this trend. Most of my British friends find the bridal shower to be a “custom” they want nothing to do with.

Really, don’t believe everything (or frankly, much) that you read in the Mail.

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Xtina August 24, 2010 at 8:03 am

Hee hee hee. I read the full article and it was sort of funny how they were explaining the concept of the baby shower as if it had never been heard of before–but obviously it must be alien enough a concept in the U.K. that it needed explaining.

Yes, they do have it wrong–certainly it is a huge faux pas (even over here in the “trashy”–see the comments after the article–United States) not to throw oneself a party of this type.

When conducted correctly, with proper etiquette, and without greed, I really don’t see why a baby shower would be a bad thing. If a person’s family and friends truly want to shower an expectant mother with gifts for her baby to help her out, why should that be regarded as greedy or tacky? Obviously some people have taken the idea of the kind gesture behind showers and turned it into a rude and tacky “me-me-me” gift-grab, and maybe this is where the tone of the article came from.

I was given a baby shower by both my co-workers and my mother’s kind friends, and I could not have been more appreciative and surprised at their generosity –and you know, the advice and kinship I received was far more vaulable than any of the gifts. Know what else? Those ladies who had children already knew what I needed far better than I did! :-)

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Rumi August 24, 2010 at 8:20 am

This is such a weird custom. What if, God forbid, something happens to the baby after the shower?

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Gena August 24, 2010 at 8:28 am

I don’t understand the backlash against baby showers. I certainly want to welcome the babies of my friends and relatives into the world, as well as help the new mother out with all the necessary items needed for a happy and healthy baby. The amount of money I spend depends on my relationship with the family of the baby, and I’ve never felt pressured to buy more than I wanted.

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DGS August 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

I have no problem with anyone throwing their friend a baby shower (for a first baby or for a baby who is significantly younger than his or her older siblings – see the many previous second baby shower debate) or a celebration for a friend’s upcoming baby sans gifts. A party to honor and celebrate a dear friend’s milestone is always a nice tradition. However, the expectation of a particular monetary value’s worth of gifts repulses me…the gimme-gimme epidemic has to be stopped.

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gramma dishes August 24, 2010 at 8:59 am

I have never heard of a pregnant woman in the U.S. giving herself a baby shower, so I’m like Elliot. I don’t know where this came from!

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Amazed August 24, 2010 at 9:19 am

That is the ONLY episode of “Friends” that I ever watched. I was bored, one night, in a hotel on a business trip so channel-hopped around and found “Friends”.

Correct me if I am wrong, Friends-Fans, but as I recollect the person played by Jennifer Aniston opened one gift, found a breast pump, then got all moody and asked the guests to go home. She would open their presents “later”.

Am I mistaken? Do I have that mixed up, in my fallible memory, with some other sitcom? If not, wouldn’t that be an incredible Faux Pas?

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TychaBrahe August 24, 2010 at 9:55 am

It’s entirely possible that it isn’t a trend, but those who market baby gear would really LIKE it to be a trend.

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Lizajane August 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

I am American and have nothing against baby showers for the first child or MAYBE under some circumstances for subsequent children. That is not what this post is about.

People need to understand that the origin of baby showers is at least in part because when what is now the US was being settled, manufactured goods were not readily available . People lived in rural areas and made their own clothes from homespun, built their own furniture,etc. Hand made clothing, diapers quilts were still prevalent in the rural areas, at least as late as the 1940s. My mother made even the diapers for her older children.

Now, think about trying to accomplish all of this in 7 months, while you were also required to get wood and water, build and tend the fire, milk the cow, feed the livestock, cook and everything else. Women co-opped with each other, in a way. If everyone in the community made one or two items for every baby, the baby had what they needed. It was also a chance to get together, it was a lonely life.

How we got from this to women planning their own showers and all the other gauche things I hear about is a mystery to me.

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Kitty_ev August 24, 2010 at 11:02 am

I think this is slightly difficult etiquette in the UK. Showers aren’t something we’re accustomed to having here, so there’s no celebration to compare it to. However, it’s not rude here to host one’s own birthday party. This unfortunate trend for baby showers here seems to have taken the British attitude that it’s acceptable to plan and host an event in one’s own honour, but that it’s also acceptable to have a gathering solely for the purpose of giving gifts to the guest of honour. No wonder this leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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RE August 24, 2010 at 11:04 am

I don’t get the whole thing. Where I come from in India, the mother always hosts baby showers, and no one showers the bride with any gifts except the MTB’s mother. It is just a social event to welcome the young woman into motherhood and accept the newborn. Lot of MTB’s favorite food items are cooked and she is dressed up pretty. Pregnancy is a stressful time, and it is nice for the mother to be pampered, and made to feel beautiful again. All the older women offered their advices to the MTB. The culture probably dates back to the time when women often died at child birth, and this was one opportunity to make her happy incase she doesn’t make it past childbirth. Ever since I moved to USA, I never understood why we are supposed to presume that an invitation for baby shower is solely to grab gifts. Is there any way to invite people to baby shower without any such presumptions?

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Caitlin August 24, 2010 at 11:06 am

a girl at work had a baby shower, thrown by friends. The friend kept saying ‘They do it in America! IT’S THE NEXT BIG THING!” Everyone felt a bit weird about it. I obviously don’t speak for all Brits, but I know my social circle gets a bit embarrassed about giving gifts. We like giving them, but we don’t like people watching the unwrapping, or doing a big ceremony about the gifting. Gifts in my social circle are usually only between really close friends, so I think we all felt a bit odd about a big party thrown to give this girl presents.

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Xtina August 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Oops! I re-read what I wrote in my earlier post. I meant to say that it is incorrect to throw oneself a shower (not the other way around).

LizaJane, thanks for the historical illustration. I can imagine that any baby gifts a mother-to-be might receive when life was like that would be very welcomed and it’s too bad that such a kind tradition has gotten turned into a grab-fest by greedy people in this day and age.

Oh, I can understand how come people might be weirded out by being the center of attention whilst opening a lot of gifts–all eyes on the receiver–that’s something I am not comfortable with, either, and I can see how come if THAT was the perception of a baby shower–that that was all that went on; a gift-grab where everyone is more or less forced to “donate” and then the mom-to-be flaunts everyone’s gifts at a huge party–then no wonder they might think it is in bad taste.

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RP August 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm

@Rumi: I’m betting that’s why the gifts come after the birth in Britain. Am I right? Any British commentors here who can confirm?

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Anonymous August 24, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Amazed, I believe that, in that episode, Rachel was upset because she didn’t know what any of the gifts were supposed to be for, and felt like an overwhelmingly bad mother-to-be. It really didn’t have much to do with an actual baby shower.

A French teacher told us that, in France, it is common to have a shower, but that it’s done after the baby is born, in case something happens. So it’s not entirely an American thing.

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WasabiWithYou August 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm

@gramma dishes: I’m in the Unites States and I hadn’t heard of a women throwing herself her own baby shower… until one of my best friends did it recently. It was a huge co-ed catered affair with DJ dancing, etc. Apparently “that’s how they’ve always done it in Fiance’s family;” but I really thought she would have known better. She and her DF are getting married sometime next year… I really hope that she doesn’t decide to host her own bridal shower…

Regating the OP, I (speaking as an American woman) personally don’t see anything inherently wrong with baby showers so long as they’re done “traditionally” (i.e.: hosted by someone outside the mom-to-be’s immediate family with guest list limited to close friends and relatives…no cattle calls). Obviously a shower is a gift-centric occasion, but it should be a nice social occasion for guests, too.

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Ken August 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I’m from America, and yes, I am a guy, as my name suggests. While I have never attended a baby shower, I have been involved in the planning of two. One was a large, elegant affair given by my boss for her daughter, and the other was a small, imtimate gathering planned by my sister for the first in her group of friends to concieve.
The first one, for my bosses’ daughter, was held in a large banquet hall, to accomodate the large Italian-American family on her side, the father-to-be’s family, and the close friends of the mother-to-be. Long before the shower was planned, my boss, upon hearing she was becoming a grandmother, went out and bought, with her daughter, baby furniture, carseats, swings, etc. So there was no registry for the baby, as I’ve read in a few horror stories, and the participants were invited to come and celebrate another generation being added to the family. I know of only a few gifts that were given, because they were handmade by the mother-to-be’s great aunts, or family heirlooms that were passed on. Never once did I hear about how generous or cheap a guest was. Thank you cards were sent out to everyone for coming. One woman who attended is a part-time photographer, and made a beautiful book of photos for mother-to-be, both grandma-to-be’s, and the great-grandparents. In it, there were no photos of the gift table, gifts, or even a hint of wrapping paper. It was a collection showing the mother-to-be surrounded by the women who love and care for her the most. Her beautiful little girl is now 6 months old.
The second shower, given by my sister to one of her friends, consisted of only five guests, including the guest of honor, and my sister. They had dinner at the mother-to-be’s favorite restaurant, and had dessert around my sister’s kitchen table, and gave her gifts. In the same instance, it was the baby’s grandmothers who went out and bought just about everything the baby would need. My sister and her friends bought only practical gifts, that a new mother would appreciate. My sister bought one outfit she thought was cute, found a pastel yellow clothes-basket, and filled it with diapers, bottles, wipes, etc. After the baby was born, each girl in the group recieved an 8×10 framed photo of the little boy, in the outfit they picked out.
In my personal experience, I don’t think showers are bad, or a gift-grab. I think the problem has to do with how people were raised. I once dated someone for 4 months, who expected me to hand over my bank card at their beck and call, and who came out and told me they wanted an expensive outfit for Christmas. Needless to say, we didn’t last until Christmas. My friend’s birthday was last December. A few of us at work got together, and we just bought a cake, a few balloons, and surprised him after work. He was amazed that anyone would go through that much trouble for him. He was so happy, all for just a few balloons and a little cake for the six of us. It makes me thankful for my friends and family, and reading this site makes me appreciate them more and more.

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geekgirl August 24, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I’m British, and the only baby shower I’ve been to was a surprise one, thrown at work – everyone was slightly embarrassed by the entire thing, including the mum-to-be. We sort of gave her the presents (which was awkward, as like usually presents here are only given between close friends and relatives, and this woman was a stranger to most of us), and then everyone milled around aimlessly before going home. It didn’t really work at all.

The tradition here is more to visit to the mother soon after the birth, with presents, which makes more sense as it gives everyone a chance to actually meet the baby, and also does away with the huge stress and work that baby showers seems to cause (judging by what I’ve read on here).

I wouldn’t believe anything the Daily Mail writes, by the way. They tend to exaggerate hugely.

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Oh Joy August 24, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I’m one of those midwestern folks who’s uncomfortable with an event based on giving me presents. We navigated it gently through my wedding this spring with ladies’ celebrations based on things other than gifts, and I’m not sure yet what we’ll do with our first baby arriving in late winter – I look forward to the wisdom and love of the family’s women and want them to mark the occasion in the way they choose, but again don’t want a present-based event.

But the point of my post was to answer Amazed’s question…some people do behave atrociously upon receiving gifts, but I remember that episode of Friends – “Rachel” did break down during her baby shower; she was opening unfamiliar gifts and receiving advice that made her realize she was totally unprepared to be a single mother to the impending little one. I believe her reaction had nothing to do with the gifts and, in sitcom-land context, did not greatly breach etiquette. Hope that helps.

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SHOEGAL August 24, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Well – here is my take on this. I’m American – and the baby shower or bridal shower concept has been around since I was a child, since my mother was a child – well, for a long, long time. In fact, I looked forward to my own bridal shower for years. I just assumed someone would want to throw me one and I never for a moment thought it was a “gift grab” – it was a really nice party that included well wishes and all the items a new bride would need to set up housekeeping or prepare for a baby which can be quite expensive. I never for a moment thought that there was anything wrong with it. It is what we do here in America and I don’t believe we are forcing that on other countries. Now that I am older – I do realize that a shower is a party where the sole purpose is to have the guests “shower” the bride or mother to be with gifts but. frankly, no one is disguising that fact. It is what it is. Don’t attend a shower if it makes you uncomfortable, don’t throw one for a friend -I think it is okay if it doesn’t fit in with the UK’s way of doing things.

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Enna August 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Baby Showers are an American tradition – we don’t do them in the UK (no offence Americans are nice) you tend to bring a gift if you want to in the UK. The Mail are silly ppl apparently we are under threat from Islam (which we aren’t)

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Kelly August 24, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I’m curious about that myself, RE. If we were theoretically to have a second child, I think it would be lovely to have some sort of celebration to mark the event and to thank all of our friends for their presence in our lives. However, we wouldn’t want to get gifts, but is there any way to indicate this without being rude? Is it OK to say “No gifts please” if the invitees might be confused as to whether or not they are being asked to a shower?

This is all highly theoretical for me, but I just thought I’d ask :)

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Sharon August 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm

I absolutely HATE bridal showers. Baby showers I do not mind as much, the innocent little baby cannot help it. Although, the scenario described by Bint do sound so much better. To give and receive gifts because of genuine affection??? What a novelty! To risk allowing friends and family to CHOOSE for themselves what to give and not send them a list of a dozen registries??? What a risk!
Somehow brides and new mommies in the U.K. manage to survive and even thrive without gift grabs.
There is no way in “Hades” that American will ever let go of these “traditions”… **sigh**

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anon August 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

I have been to a few showers in the past few years and only once have I seen one that I would consider a gift grab, I am in America and I am used to sending gifts for weddings and babies. But in the past year I attended a baby shower, baptism celebration, bridal shower and wedding all for one couple, at all events it was clear gifts were expected. While the invitations did not come right out and say bring gifts, it was constantly stressed that this young couple who unexpectedly got pregnant needed gifts to start a family and a home. The couple went out and registered for thousands of dollars worth of items. I know this is a baby shower story but I need to get this off my chest. This couple still lives with one set of parents, they are not looking for apartments or houses but everything they registered for is for a home they do not have, and it may seem vengeful but I was secretly glad they got so many sets of mismatched towels.

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lkb August 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Kelly, IMHO, I think for a second (or subsequent child), such an event would be nice but do not in any way call it a shower. It seems to that the event your describing would be perfect for the baby’s christening/baptism/homecoming — whatever you and your culture call that particular event. As I understand it, a shower means “to shower one with gifts” and presumably having gone through it once, the parents have most everything they need (except diapers and glurp-free clothing).

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Me August 24, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I don’t mind baby showers, but I hope and pray that bridal showers don’t make their way over here to Australia.

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*Caitlin* August 24, 2010 at 6:07 pm

It’s definitely an upper North American tradition for sure. It is absolutely normal and expected to throw baby showers here in Canada. I can’t wait, it’s such a blast. I think it’s very unique, the British way, though I’ve never been to Europe I’d love to experience the difference.

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teegiee August 24, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Its also spreading to Australia. Recently 4 of my friends became pregnant ( all due within 2 weeks of each other) so there was lots of baby talk. One of the girls was chating to another about buying baby things to which to other replied ” dont worry, you’ll get heaps of stuff from your baby shower” I was disgusted that she assumed people would provide her with everything needed for a baby. I attended one shower ( not the greedy’s one) and can honestly say it was a gift grab- no food or drink, no games, just hand over the gift and what the mum to be open everything. No thank yous either. I will not be having a baby shower when i’m pregnant.

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librarianinhell August 24, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I work for a dept. in the city gov’t (one of the largest cities in the US). We throw retirement parties and baby showers constantly. I think mostly to get out of doing work. Today, one person had a baby shower, and I don’t even know the person so I didn’t go.
Years ago, a woman started to work at our library, in a low-rung area. She already had 5 or 6 kids. When she got pregnant again, the people in her area decided to throw her a baby shower. This woman kept on getting pregnant and showers were always given to her. Though at one time we understood she was going to be out for a while because she was going to get a hysterectomy or her tubes tied. But either it was wishful thinking or just rumor but she was pregnant again. I think for the last kid no one gave her a party.
In general, this woman was a user. She would normally take the bus (the city would pay for it-in fact, the city has wonderful health benefits for it’s workers and family) but she would get someone to give her a ride. She was always moving, though. So one night I offered her a ride (at no point did she ever thank me). She was telling me how she worked in fast food restaurants and would work hard, which entitled her to eat the food without paying (with the boss’s acknowledgement is the question). I’m glad she is gone.

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Amazed August 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Various people asked, rhetorically, “What do you do with the gifts if something happens to the baby, God forbid?”.

Here’s one story. Friend got pregnant, had a shower, then had a beautiful baby girl. Friend got pregnant again, this time it’s a boy and she threw herself (yes, threw herself) a shower because she needed all BOY things. People came, gave gifts, beautiful baby boy was born and then, very sadly, died a month later. (He had a fatal birth defect.) A few years later, she got pregnant again, with another boy, and threw herself a third shower. Why couldn’t she use the stuff she got for the first little boy? Because it made her so sad to see all those boy things that she gave them to Goodwill, but now needs a whole _new_ set of boy baby things for the new baby. (New baby boy doing great, by the way, free of the birth defect that took his brother.)

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jenna August 24, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I like showers for others – if I am close to the person I am happy to go and bring them something they may need (this being for wedding and for babies).

I don’t really care for “Bridal Showers” with a Capital B.S. with fairy princess decorations, kitchen / home goods for the Bride (with a capital B like a horror movie: “Bela Lugosi in: The BRIDE!”) who will of course cook and clean happily after she gets married because that’s what wives do, and silly games (I didn’t have a B.S. because we live abroad and honestly don’t want one, and while I’ll play the silly games for friends to be a good sport, I’ll be long in the cold, cold grave before someone hits ME with Bridal Bingo). Wedding showers: the co-ed kind that are more a party and less about the gifts (even though gifts are given) are fine.

As for baby showers, yeah, they’re fine as long as they’re in the traditional style – friend of family hosts, or honestly I am OK with immediate family hosting, close friends and family invited rather than everyone you’ve ever met, focus as much on community as gifts, and everybody’s gift is thanked with nobody made to feel bad for giving less or giving a non-registry item. I still hate the games, but the idea is fine.

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Lambzig August 25, 2010 at 4:44 am

@RP yes thats definitely why the presents are given after here and a lot of mums to be are quite uncomfortable with gifts before (and I am someone who couldnt face buying anything before the birth of my daughter and finally got persuaded to buy a cot and a pushchair the day before she arrived and hide it in our loft). Gifts after are usually on a one to one basis with no obligation and no formal party. Obviously a lot of people have a christening sometime after that too where a formal party is usual.

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Katherine August 25, 2010 at 6:10 am

As a 21 year-old Brit who has many friends and relatives with young children I can agree with the comments of other posters and say that baby showers are not at all common in Britain. The Daily Mail does not have a reputation for accurate stories! There are many traditions in England which do not happen in the USA and vice versa, but I hope that bridal showers and baby showers do not become the norm over here. I think this is more of a case of wishful thinking by companies who design baby items, as well as a way of persuading people that they “need” to celebrate yet another occasion by giving gifts to all and sundry.

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Pat in France August 25, 2010 at 7:16 am

@Anonymous: I’m sorry, but your French teacher was wrong. No such thing as baby showers here, not before and not after the baby is born. The young mother will invite her friends to meet the baby, and the friends will bring gifts for the baby, but she will only invite a few at a time and there’s nothing formal about it.

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DGS August 25, 2010 at 9:37 am

Re: baby loss. My husband and I recently lost our twins due to pre-term labor secondary to an incompetent cervix at 23w5d gestation. It was heartbreaking, and one of the few things I was grateful for is that we didn’t have a shower (we’re Jewish, and most Jews don’t have baby showers due to traditional superstitions about having a party for a baby before the baby comes home safely from the hospital), so I didn’t have to come home with aching, empty arms and a broken heart to a houseful of baby stuff. We did order cribs and a double stroller but one phone call to the store, and the order was quietly cancelled. While we are hopeful about a future pregnancy, there is no way I would ever have a baby shower, especially after what happened. With a bris or a naming ceremony, there’s plenty of time to introduce baby to family and friends after he/she safely arrives, and we are perfectly capable of purchasing our own baby stuff and don’t need to gift-grab.

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L. August 25, 2010 at 10:27 am

I’ve finally figured out the best way to deal with baby showers for second etc. children. Since the women throwing/receiving such showers like to claim the shower is actually for the baby, I’m going to start giving gifts to the purported honoree: a savings bond to mature when he or she turns 18.

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Michelle Prieur August 25, 2010 at 10:56 am

I didn’t have a bridal shower or baby shower, and my life didn’t end. I cannot stand the attitude that others need to provide me with what I “need” when I chose to get married and then chose to get pregnant. If you can’t afford a wedding or a baby, don’t have one!

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Lizajane August 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

“I was secretly glad they got so many sets of mismatched towels.” – anon

Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (gaaaaassssssp) ha ha ha ha ha ha

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Ells August 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

The Daily Mail isn’t a good place to get a story that is anywhere near accurate! There is a Facebook page which lists, alphabetically, all the things which the DM has said will give you cancer. Currently there are about 100 items on that list.

I’m 24, so not really at an age where loads of my friends are having kids, but I have been to one baby shower and I know another girl my age who has been to one too, but I definitely wouldn’t say they are popular here (UK). The one I went to was more of a party than a shower. There weren’t really gifts, and any were just little things like baby clothes. We mainly spent the whole time chatting and making a little motivational book for the mother-to-be. Nice, but really not my scene!

I wouldn’t necessarily just blame Friends, it certainly isn’t the only high-profile American TV show to have an episode with a baby shower. Any Sex And The City fans will remember Miranda’s baby shower where she didn’t want anything cutsie and demanded they eat fried chicken. If I ever go to another baby shower I hope it’s like that.

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Me August 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm

L., that is a great idea!

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WrenskiBaby August 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm

When I was married 27 years ago, I requested no wedding shower. When my first child was born, I requested no baby shower. Showers seemed like excuses to get gifts, in my opinion. Most of my friends and relatives were surprised and a few were offended, but they honored my requests and I had no showers. Now that I’m over 50 and have seen a bit more of life and the world, I’m glad I had some sense when I was young.

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nkkingston August 26, 2010 at 4:12 am

I know it’s bad etiquette in the US to host your own parties, including showers, but in the UK it’s bad etiquette to expect other people to host them for you (it’s seen as demanding and entitled). Hence people hosting their own showers – they’re trying to reconcile two conflicting etiquette traditions. It’s also why the vast majority of the British look down on the tradition of showers, since if you’re not aware of the history behind them or the significance of someone else arranging them they do look pretty gift-grabby.

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carotte August 26, 2010 at 5:01 am

@ anonymous, I need to second Pat in saying that your teacher was wrong or (very) missinformed. I have never heard of any kind of baby shower in France and my mother either. A new baby (first, second..) is usualy acknowledged by family friends with (almost always from what I know) a cute outfitt or maybe some soft toy . You wouldn’t expect for exemple a coworker giving baby bottles or any kind of furniture.
Of course some friends or family will give more or bigger things sometimes, but never at a “party”.

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