I recently attended the baby shower of a friend I’ll call Marcie. Her sister (who lives in a city about an hour away) hosted the shower but it was held at Marcie’s house. I know it’s usually considered tacky for a family member to host the shower–but whatever. (As a side note, Marcie and her boyfriend have a lot of friends and I’m certain someone would have hosted a shower for her if she hasn’t thrown her own.)
I searched high and low for baby items I thought Marcie and her boyfriend would like and would be useful to the baby too. The day of the shower when everyone arrived, gifts were piled into a corner, and people began eating and chatting with each other. About an hour into the shower I began wondering when she would open her gifts. Soon others and I began asking each other, “So, when is she going to open the gifts?” About an hour and 45 minutes into it I realized she WASN’T going to open them and left when others started to leave too. I was so disappointed!
I have 2 thoughts on this–first, when I give a gift to someone, it is theirs, and they should be able to open it whenever they please. However…in the context of a baby shower, it just smacked of “gimme gimme.” All the presents were stacked high into the corner at her house and it just seemed greedy. I had been so excited to see Marcie open the gifts I’d picked out and was incredibly disappointed she chose not to do so. Not only because I had spent a lot of time shopping for her, but because seeing what the mother-to-be receives is the highlight of a shower. It’s just so fun to see all the little clothes and things!
Later Marcie posted pictures of herself, boyfriend, and older daughter from a previous relationship opening the gifts on Facebook.
Was my disappointment an overreaction? Have you ever heard of the guest of honor at a shower NOT opening her gifts in front of the guests? Everything just felt very “stack your gift in the corner with the others and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out” to me. Would love your thoughts! 0923-13
Basically you and others were invited to a party celebrating the impending arrival of a baby and the entrance “fee” to this party was a gift. Not opening gifts at a shower relieves the mother-to-be of having to express any face-to-face gratitude to specific individuals and further relieves her of the obligation to feign gratitude for items she would have preferred to have not received. She opened her bounty of gifts in private where her disdain for the choices some gift givers made would not be seen. The all important question now is whether she will write sincere thank you notes to all who gave generously to her.
Now you know the score on this particular “friend” so that you are prepared for the next event that has some implied expectation of gift giving.