I am not sure if this is a breach of etiquette and am hoping your readers can advise me if you publish this one.
I recently attended a baby shower without the shower.
My cousin threw herself a shower and invited everyone with a mass text message, but this passed without comment (until now!) as she is a lovely person.
We all thought long and hard and shopped extensively to get her items we thought she’d like for her baby. I was looking forward to seeing the gifts opened and exclaimed over, and her reaction to my gift which I knew she really wanted.
The afternoon tea wore on, and eventually my cousin decided it was time to go. We must have looked a bit bemused, as she indicated the big pile of gifts and said, “I will take these home so Hubby can enjoy opening them too.”
We were disappointed as the gift-opening is the most fun and exciting part as you experience joy from watching the present received and the excitement of “talking babies” and imagining the little one to come in all the items. Anyway, being Australian, we are not all familiar with the idea of baby showers, being an Americanism that has lately caught on here.
Am I missing something, or did this shower miss the point? I was also embarrassed as I did not put Hubby’s name on the card, believing that the shower was for Cousin and the gift on baby’s arrival would be the one I addressed to both parents. When we all received a generic thank you for gifts via text message on our mobiles, it was signed from both and I felt bad for excluding Hubby. This was only because I thought the shower was exclusively for mum, as the ones who carries and gives birth to baby.
Grateful for any explanation from my etiquette-aware friends across the seas! 0307-11
It sounds like this lovely woman has some issues with being an opportunist by assimilating all that is bad about USA baby showers. I hesitate to even call what she hosted a “shower” since in the USA it would be viewed as very odd for someone to postpone opening the gifts rained upon them by guests to another time and place.
When we apply the question, “Who is being served?”, to this situation, the answer is obvious. She is. It benefits her to host her own shower because she gains in material possessions. One would think people would have more dignity than to solicit gifts by hosting a party in which they are the guest of honor and main recipient of their friends’ generosity. In essence, self-hosting a shower is a statement by the mother/hostess that she cannot trust her friends to step up to the plate to provide her with the needed items to care for a new baby so she must manipulate hospitality into a perverse form to extract what she could not freely receive otherwise.
As for the generic, mass-blasted thank you, it benefits the soon-to-be mom to be lazy in her gratitude. God forbid she should have to actually work to express her thankfulness in personal terms. Mom eschewed her right to be exempt from writing thank you notes when she declined to open gifts and thank each giver personally to her face. You and every other guest were nothing more than a vehicle to transfer the asset of your money spent on a gift to her. (To avoid this in the future, note that mass-blasted invitations lack that personal “I want *YOU* to come…” touch and this is a harbinger of worse things to come.)