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Dress Code For Shower Gifts

A friend of mine was invited to a co-workers baby shower and this was included in the invitation along with blank gift tags. I don’t know anything about the personality of this co-worker but to say the least my friend was a bit taken aback by the request. The baby showers I’ve been to, including my own, maintained a designated time to which the mother-to-be would ceremoniously open her gifts and all would ooh and aah at the goods. Is this something new that is surfacing? I would really like to know your thoughts and well as fellow e-hellions. Does this break some sort of etiquette rule? Would you abide by the request or “forget” that part of the invite? 0910-14


While it has noble intentions of increasing socializing time, one cannot dictate to guests bearing gifts just what those are to be and how you expect them to be wrapped.  It’s like having a dress code for gifts with admittance only given to those who conform to the dress code.

Every shower I’ve ever been to had social time during refreshments and most of us chatted with our seat neighbor during the gift opening section of the event as well, stopping at appropriate times to ohh over the newest cute thing that was unwrapped.  I have never felt under socialized at a shower.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • lakey September 17, 2014, 4:36 pm

    What bothers me about many of these stories is that it is becoming more and more commonplace to make demands on gift givers and guests. I see this in a wide array of these threads from children’s birthday parties, to weddings, to baby showers.

    Some people are completely losing the concept of what gift giving is. They want to control what is given, or how it is given, or how much is given. They’re draining all the fun out of it. The way I was raised, be thankful for whatever gift is given to you , because you aren’t entitled to ANYTHING.

    • PYES September 18, 2014, 4:59 pm

      “more commonplace to make demands on gift givers and guests”

      But isn’t being required to wrap a gift a demand that we’ve all just begun to accept?

      Maybe because I grew up with “display” showers (I’m in my late 40’s) I don’t find them unusual at all. I’d much rather spend my time doing something else at a party then passing around a onesie or a immersion blender.

    • Sara September 22, 2014, 12:32 pm

      How do you feel about registries in general? By registering and saying what you want, that’s also placing a demand on gift givers.

  • Lady Catford September 17, 2014, 5:05 pm

    I was one of those who is embarrassed to be the centre of attention, unwrapping gifts that are given to me by my friends and family. Then I realised that it was not ‘all about me’. It was all about the very kind and caring people who had taken their time and money to do something for me. These gift givers deserved to see the smile on my face when I opened their gift, to hear me exclaim my pleasure, and to have others see and touch their precious gift. With that thought, I feel that it would be incredibly rude to deny the gift givers my recognition of their kindness. Then I would make sure my Thank you notes reflected that as well.

    • Kimstu September 17, 2014, 7:57 pm

      Well said, @Lady C!

    • JuneFirst September 17, 2014, 8:22 pm

      Yes, this.

  • mark September 17, 2014, 5:22 pm

    Is this really etiquette or personal preference? I really don’t see what is particularly onerous or rude about the invitation. Just because it’s different than the way you are use to doesn’t make it wrong.

    • Kimstu September 19, 2014, 6:56 pm

      Yes, to answer your question, it’s really etiquette. And yes, it is wrong.

      And here’s why: The customary definition of a “shower” means that the guests are expected to provide gifts, and the recipient is expected to respond immediately with individual appreciation and gratitude for each of the gifts. That reciprocity is an implied “etiquette contract”, not just a “personal preference”.

      If you try to cancel the recipient’s obligations in that contract by abandoning the present-opening rituals, while still maintaining the guests’ obligations to bring gifts by calling the party a “shower”, THAT IS RUDE.

      As I pointed out to a previous poster: Suppose it was the GUESTS in this situation who were deciding to selectively rewrite the rules for their own selfish convenience? If your shower guests decided not to bother bringing any presents but just show up anyway for the refreshments and the socializing, would you consider that just a “personal preference” rather than an etiquette issue? I don’t think so.

      • Kali September 20, 2014, 3:59 pm

        Yes, you would. No one is entitled to gifts, no matter what the occasion is called.

        • Anonymous September 22, 2014, 12:42 am

          Sometimes, it’s not “rewriting the rules for one’s own convenience.” Take my friend’s baby shower–I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, even if I hadn’t been able to give her a gift (store-bought, handmade, or whatever), she would have wanted me there. His first birthday is coming up in November, and again, if she has a birthday party for him, I know she’s probably going to want me there too, gift or not. When we were kids, I would have wanted her presence more than presents at my birthday parties, and vice versa. She wasn’t poor growing up, but her parents were somewhat scatterbrained, and said “yes” to too many people, and therefore, taking their daughter birthday-gift shopping might not have happened. That shouldn’t matter, if you like someone enough to invite them to one of your major life milestones, it should be because you want to see them. I don’t remember exactly what we got each other each year for our childhood birthdays–the Barbie dolls and My Little Ponies have all been played with and worn out, the art supplies have been used up, the Nerf footballs have been accidentally thrown into far corners of the backyard, never to be seen again, all the loot-bag candy has long since been scarfed down in a post-party sugar coma, and yet, we’re still friends. Now, most “adult” gifts last longer than that, but even the best toaster or blender or Exersaucer or whatever is eventually going to break down. Not every friendship is forever either, but friendships shouldn’t end over gifts, or lack thereof. Arriving at a party for someone, even a gift-oriented party, isn’t necessarily a snub. Sometimes, it’s just “I couldn’t afford it, but I wanted to be there,” or “I don’t live locally, and the travel expenses wiped out my budget,” or another similar instance where real life supersedes perfect adherence to social convention.

          • Kimstu September 24, 2014, 9:25 pm

            The rather exaggerated position you’re objecting to is not what I actually said. All I noted was that there is a well-established customary etiquette expectation that shower guests are supposed to bring presents for the shower guest of honor, and it would be contrary to etiquette for guests just to ignore that custom because they didn’t want to bother with it.

            That’s got nothing to do with extraordinary circumstances sometimes preventing a well-meaning guest from bringing a present to a shower. Nor (@Kali) did I suggest that shower guests of honor should behave as though they’re “entitled to gifts”, much less “end friendships” over not getting them.

  • MM September 17, 2014, 5:30 pm

    I’ve never been a fan of opening gifts at a party. It just seems too, I don’t know, materialistic? And what if mom to be or bride to be is not a good actress? You’re bound to dislike at least a few presents and acting grateful can seem pretty obvious. While I’m not crazy about being told how to present my gift, I can appreciate the thought behind it. For me, as a guy, a party should be about celebrating and socializing not fake oohing and aahing over some gifts.

    • Steve September 17, 2014, 9:07 pm

      Then don’t have a shower.

      • Lera99 September 18, 2014, 7:09 am

        I second Steve’s comment.

    • Danielle September 18, 2014, 11:33 am

      Everyone knows when you go to a shower that it is a gift giving occasion, and presents are going to be part of the focus of the party. Those of us who enjoy giving gifts want to see the recipient’s face when they open their gift; that is how the giver gets their joy out of the gift. To deprive them of that experience is to show lack of appreciation to the gift giver, and the whole thing turns into an impersonal transaction when it was meant to be a heartfelt show of love and generosity. The way to handle a gift that you don’t like as well as the others is to focus on the thought behind them, and you can still respond appropriately.

      • Surianne September 18, 2014, 7:34 pm

        Not all gift-givers are alike so I think you’re over generalizing.

        Seeing the recipient’s face as they open the gift isn’t particularly interesting or joyful to me, and I don’t think that missing that means the recipient doesn’t appreciate my gift.

        I’m more than happy to hear a thank you or receive a card/note afterward if the parents-to-be prefer to forego opening presents at the party. Your personal preference is fine for you, but not everyone feels the same way.

        • Steve September 18, 2014, 10:43 pm

          Then don’t go to showers. Problem solved.

          • Jo September 19, 2014, 10:05 am

            @Steve – “Don’t go” isn’t exactly a practical solution in many cases. What if the shower is for a relative, a close friend, a co-worker that you’ll have to keep seeing every day after the event? Of course it shouldn’t boil down to the “politics” surrounding the relationships, but IRL it often is. I’m sure many women don’t want to attend, but feel they have no choice if they want to maintain a good relationship.

          • Steve September 19, 2014, 3:21 pm

            Then go to the shower for the sake of the guest of honor and the other guests. And pretend to enjoy yourself like an adult, even if “seeing the recipient’s face as they open the gift isn’t particularly interesting or joyful.” We don’t rewrite the rules of etiquette for an event just to cater to one guest’s personal tastes and idiosyncrasies.

            All of these repeated attempts to make this complicated are failing completely. It’s all very simple.

            You don’t ever dictate the terms of someone else’s generosity.

            You always personally thank face-to-face anyone who is giving you a gift in person.

            Them’s the rules. Like it or lump it.

          • imc September 21, 2014, 5:35 am

            So not being interested in wanting to see the receiver’s face when they open the gift is an irrelevant personal preference, while wanting to see that face is an irrevocable right of shower-goers??
            If you don’t particularly care about the gift-opening charade, suck it up and be an adult about it, but if the person actually throwing the shower is averse to spending the best part of the shower opening gifts, rather than enjoying the company of their friends and family, the participants have every right to feel insulted??

            What if the person throwing the shower knows for a fact that the best part of her (do men even have showers??!!) guests prefer display showers?? Should they still conform to social norms dictating how a shower should traditionally be run, in case even one guest cannot possibly find any enjoyment in giving a gift without having his or her 40 seconds of fame as everyone swoons over their perfect gift choice??

            I’d say that the advice Steve gave Surianne can go both ways. If you don’t like traditional showers, don’t go. If you don’t like display showers, don’t go.
            In the first case, if you want to give a gift, have it delivered. In the second case, visit in person a few days earlier or later so that you can have a few minutes alone with the mother or bride to be, while they open the present in front of you.

          • Surianne September 22, 2014, 11:12 am

            There’s no “problem” that needs solving, Steve, I was simply offering my personal perspective, as is reasonable in the comments section.

            Most of the showers I go to don’t have present-opening as the focus, and I quite enjoy those showers, so I do attend them.

    • Kerree October 30, 2014, 9:19 pm

      Maybe instead of trying to ‘act’ grateful you should concentrate on actually being grateful! These people have spent time and money to buy you a gift and that should make you feel grateful whether you dislike the gift or not.

  • Tara September 17, 2014, 7:44 pm

    It doesn’t seem rude to me. If anything, it sounds really nice. It’s not like they’re going to turn someone away who decides to wrap the gift. It’s taking the focus of the party off the gifts and on to the socializing, since now there’s no need for everyone to gather around and see what everyone brought. I dunno, it makes it seem like the gifts are less important, an after-thought the party organizer threw in since she knew that everyone expects to bring a gift to a shower, but she really wants to just throw a party for everyone socializing and having fun.

    Kinda like “Well, if you INSIST on bringing a gift, don’t put in the extra effort of wrapping it, that way we can spend more time playing games and having fun!”

    But that’s just my opinion.

    • nk September 18, 2014, 12:13 pm

      To me, it sounds more like “Please bring a gift, but don’t expect to see me open it or express any appreciation for it.”

      • Steve September 20, 2014, 9:56 am

        Exactly this.

      • Sura September 30, 2014, 1:08 pm

        I agree with this too, this my thought exactly. My own sister wanted her bridal shower guests to be told to wrap in cellophane so that she didn’t have to open the gifts–she wanted to socialize the whole time and not have any obligations, because in her mind, a bridal shower is just another in a series of celebrations of the bride-to-be that, as the Star of the show, she is entitled to sign off on, rather than a voluntary show of generosity of one’s loved ones on *their* terms, which is really what a shower originally was and is supposed to be (hence the etiquette proscription against brides and their families throwing the shower themselves). It is this misunderstanding, brought on by the preponderance of “gimme” behavior and increasingly extravagant celebrations in our culture, that causes people to argue that showers aren’t purely gift-giving occasions. (imho).

    • Surianne September 18, 2014, 7:34 pm

      I agree on all points — I much prefer showers where the guests get more time to interact. I don’t get anything enjoyable out of watching someone open presents.

  • Barbarian September 17, 2014, 8:15 pm

    If I received that invitation, I would decline. If the guest of honor is getting so many gifts that she needs an expedited ritual to open them, then she does not need anything from me.

  • Danielle September 17, 2014, 9:26 pm

    The reason these sort of tacky things keep popping up is because people forget that guests do not buy gifts solely because it is expected of them. People buy gifts because they ENJOY giving gifts, and the way they get the feeling of joy is by seeing the look on the gift recipient’s face when they open the gift. To deprive the giver of that joy is to turn the whole exchange into a heartless cold transaction, and shows a lack of appreciation toward the giver. It’s just as bad as not thanking the gift giver.

    • admin September 18, 2014, 6:24 am

      The last baby shower I went to my gifts were a handmade Spock monkey and two children’s books about Darth Vader’s son and daughter. Mom to be is a Science fiction geek and the gales of laughter when she opened my gift was exactly the effect I was hoping for. Wrapping it in cellophane and putting it on display would be a killjoy.

      • Danielle September 18, 2014, 11:38 am

        That is a great gift. I’m the same way with giving gifts, sometimes I spend days and days just thinking about the person and the things they like and experiences we’ve shared before I even go shopping. I love giving gifts, and seeing that sort of joy on someone’s face is so important to me. I would feel really cheated if I didn’t get that moment.

        • admin September 18, 2014, 12:56 pm

          I found a pattern for a Dr. Who onesie too late to give it. 🙁

          • Anonymous September 19, 2014, 9:28 am

            Well, Jeanne, maybe you were too late to make THAT baby a Dr. Who onesie, but in another sense, you’re extremely early for the next baby to be born into your family or your social circle.

  • Weaver September 18, 2014, 1:51 am

    This is one tacky invitation. Unless this was a close relative, I wouldn’t go at all.

    The thing that bugs me most about it, though, is that horrible comma.

  • Annamontana September 18, 2014, 2:26 am

    I just had a baby. The week before my due date, I had a small
    Informal gathering of friends and family at my home. I refused to call it a baby shower and specifically told guests if they asked, that i neither wanted nor needed gifts and that I just wanted a day to say thank you to everyone who had been three for me throughout my very rough pregnancy. A few friends did bring a little something but they were unwrapped in baby’s nursery with the gift giver there, in a private little moment for the two of us. Mostly people chatted, laughed, ate tonnes of cake and wrote advice for us as ftps. I sent thank out cards to everyone who came.
    Just the inclusion of this in the invites seems grabby!

  • Helena September 18, 2014, 6:34 am

    Wow, that is weird…shame on them.

  • just4kicks September 18, 2014, 7:11 am

    Someone upthread brought a point to the discussion that I have to admit I did not think about, and is a very good point. Putting all the gifts on a table and not opening them individually is a good way not to embarrass someone who may not have had a lot of money to spend on a present. While I was raised that it’s the thought that counts (thanks Mom!), That doesn’t necessarily stop someone from feeling maybe their gift isn’t expensive enough.
    One of my aunt’s who was going through a rough divorce told my mom she wasn’t coming to my baby shower because she didn’t have any money for a present and would be horribly ashamed showing up without one. My mom said that she had better be there, gift or not, because we all want HER to share in the happy moment, not her gift. She did come and had a lovely time!

    • Jo September 19, 2014, 10:09 am

      Money isn’t the be-all end-all where gifts are concerned…if the person has ten dollars to spend, she can easily use that to craft something, for example (and there are many types of projects that don’t take all that much time or talent, in case that’s an excuse). I’m sure the new mom would be touched by a personalized scrapbook, just waiting for her to start putting mementoes in. But I think a lot of people forget this…they think that unless they spent X dollars, it’s not a “real” gift.

      • just4kicks September 20, 2014, 4:49 am

        Very true, Jo. Our youngest is ten now, and all the blankets, onsies etc. are long gone, but still hanging on her bedroom wall is a beautiful “shadow box” someone made for her with her tiny hospital hat, newborn diaper, and her bracelet from the hospital.
        Expensive? Not at all. Priceless? Absolutely!!!

    • Steve September 19, 2014, 10:44 am

      Right. Because it’s much less embarrassing to have my $25 salad forks sitting next to an Orrefors crystal bowl for four hours.

      • just4kicks September 20, 2014, 4:44 am

        No, but it IS less embarrassing than opening salad forks, passing them around, and saying loudly to all in attendance “thanks for the forks, Steve!!!”….then opening the expensive crystal next.

      • Anonymous September 21, 2014, 6:51 am

        Actually, looking at this from the recipient’s point of view, I think I’d actually prefer a set of salad forks over a crystal bowl, because I really don’t have any use for a crystal bowl. If I had one, then it’d sit and gather dust. I know this because I grew up in a house full of expensive knickknacks that were “for looking at, not for touching.” So, I can see myself sincerely thanking the giver of the salad forks, and knowing that I’d be using them very soon (probably the next time I made salad), and also thanking the giver of the crystal bowl, but not really knowing what I’d do with such an expensive and fragile item, and feeling guilty for feeling that way, and trying not to be too transparent about it.

    • kingsrings September 19, 2014, 3:47 pm

      I can totally understand that. My mom and I once went to a wedding shower where our $15-20 can opener thingy held court with a few gifts that were of the approximately $150 variety. We were embarrassed and also shocked that such expensive items could be at a wedding shower, which should only be inexpensive gifts.

      • WillyNilly September 20, 2014, 1:33 pm

        “…at a wedding shower, which should only be inexpensive gifts.”
        There are many factors that should determine ones gift budget: relationship, affordability, culture, etc, but since when is there any rule shower gifts “should only be inexpensive”? What an interesting assumption on your part. At every shower I have ever been to there has been a range is cost values, with gifts in the few hundred dollar range not at all uncommon, as well as the under $20 range.

        On your specific example though I will say I got at my wedding shower both a Kitchen Aide manual can opener, cost value approx. $12 and a Kitchen Aide mixer, cost value approx. $250. While I adore my mixer and am very grateful for it, I use it about 10-12 times a year. My can opener on the other hand I use 15-20 times a month. While it may have cost less, it is more practically valuable to me. Both were wonderful things to receive and I thought no better or worse towards either giver.

  • Anonymous September 18, 2014, 7:54 am

    Okay, I just read through everything, and here are my thoughts:

    1. Steve’s “If you don’t want to do the regular gift-opening ritual, don’t have a shower, or decline having one thrown for you” advice is pretty good, but it leaves out the issue of surprise showers. There’s really no good way to decline any kind of surprise party, because by the time the GOH finds out about it, it’s already happening.

    2. As an addendum to #1, I like the “Welcome Baby party” idea, where gifts aren’t the focus, but some people think those are just a euphemism for a self-hosted baby shower after the baby is born, because of COURSE gifts are expected there.

    3. The “guess what’s in the diaper” game is gross, but I don’t think ALL shower games should be eliminated. I went to the baby shower of a longtime friend last year, and we played the clothespin game (everyone gets a clothespin, and if someone catches you saying “baby,” they can take it away, and the person with the most clothespins at the end wins), and “name that tune” with a baby theme, and we wrote a book of advice for the baby, where we were each given a list of prompts such as “I hope you learn__________,” and “I hope you love__________,” and “I hope you remember_______,” and so on. Seeing the range of answers was fun. I wrote “I hope you learn as much as possible about everything you’re interested in,” and the stepsister-to-be (seven at the time) wrote “I hope you learn to spell.” So, not all baby shower games are tacky.

    4. A child’s birthday party isn’t necessarily “all about gifts.” When I was a kid, gifts were opened as the very last thing, because the party was about the party activities, and the guests, and not about “gimme.” It wasn’t even that hard for me to wait, because I was having fun with my friends. Anyway, nowadays, this is especially true, with the increasing number of “venue” parties, where gift-opening at the venue may be inconvenient, or just not allowed, either explicitly, or because of time constraints. So, kids’ parties CAN be “all about gifts,” or they could be about swimming, or rock-climbing, or skating, or bowling, or Build-A-Bear, or any number of things.

    5. Despite all of this, the organizers of the baby shower in the OP were still rude. It’s rude to dictate the terms of a gift, unless it’s a matter of a medical issue, or a religious or ethical belief (so, no Honey-Baked Ham for the vegetarian or vegan, or peanut brittle for the allergic person, or Precious Moments figurines for the atheist, etc.) There might possibly be another exception for parents who don’t allow their kids to play with certain toys (for example, toy guns), but even that has its limits–you can’t have parents banning multiple different kinds of gifts, or entire categories of gifts (for example, if they banned everything made of plastic). Most of the time, if you know someone well enough to want to give them a gift, then you have some idea what to get them. It’s not perfect, but that’s where graciousness comes into play. When I went to my friend’s baby shower last year, I made the baby-to-be a wall hanging, because I didn’t have a lot of money to buy something. Nobody made me feel embarrassed, and actually, my friend has since told me that the bags and bags of expensive outfits that “everyone else” brought, have long since been outgrown. But anyway, my point is, gift registries aren’t necessarily rude (although including them in the invitation is), but making people feel bad or rude for going off-registry definitely IS rude, because a gift is something that someone wants to give you. Sometimes people prefer to have a registry, in order to avoid a scenario where the GOH gets multiples of the same thing, but it should only ever be a guideline, and not a mandatory thing.

  • Roselin September 18, 2014, 9:01 am

    The one suggestion I can come up for why this is a thing is – being a shower for a co-worker, perhaps this was a shower at the office with a very, very short amount of time allowed for these types of things? I am lucky to work in an office where everyone’s birthdays, babies, weddings, etc. are recognized with some sort of celebration, but typically the time allotted is about 1/2 hour. Just enough time for congratulations, a little bit of socializing, and cake. On birthdays, obviously gifts are not customary (typically the department head will give their employee a gift privately), so the entire time is spent socializing. For the showers, however, individuals will typically bring a small gift between $5-20, or departments will pool for a large gift for the expecting parent or soon-to-be-wed employee. And when they are wrapped, they do tend to take up the entire allotted time. Since these events are allowed to be celebrated on company time, it’s not as though we really can or should extend the event.
    So if this is the case, I kind of applaud the recipient’s wish to socialize, rather than open gifts, but understanding that people still want to see them receive the gift. Still dictates the behavior of the giver, which rubs people the wrong way. But OP didn’t mention anything about registries, tacky cash-grab poetry, etc. It sounds like the “offenders” really had their hearts in the right place.

  • Lorelai September 18, 2014, 10:24 am

    I just received a wedding shower invitation with a very similar request: “Please bring gifts unwrapped so they can be lovingly displayed.” I’ve never seen that before and it immediately turned me off to the party. While I don’t love the part of the party that involves watching someone open gifts, having guests just come in with an unwrapped box and plunking it down on the table seems so tacky. I spent my time and money getting you something and coming to your party and you can’t even be bothered to take some decorative paper off of my gifts? It seems so greedy to me.

    • Cora September 19, 2014, 10:14 am

      Of course it seems greedy, because of the first part of the sentence: “Please bring gifts.” ARGH!

  • Wild Irish Rose September 18, 2014, 12:22 pm

    Okay, another opinion: If you hate the idea of sitting around watching MTB or BTB open gifts, then stay home. Do NOT accept a shower invitation. Don’t flatter yourself into thinking that your attitude doesn’t convey itself to the other guests who are there to enjoy themselves and watch the gift-opening ritual. Try to remember the purpose of a shower. Just because you’re invited doesn’t mean you have to go. Send a gift and your regrets, and stay home doing something you really would rather do. You’ll be doing everyone a favor.

    Few things irritate me more than a GUEST complaining about the party. If you don’t want to be there, simply don’t go. It’s not rocket surgery.

    • just4kicks September 19, 2014, 3:27 am

      My MIL and SIL to be complained about EVERYTHING at my wedding shower. It created a very awkward and uncomfortable atmosphere to say the least. And my mom, (who was my matron of honor) was so angry. We (about 20 guests) could not wait until they left! …..with copious amounts of food and baked goods “for later.” Sheesh.

  • Laura September 18, 2014, 1:05 pm

    I’m actually kind of torn!
    On one hand I kind of appreciate the idea of no wrapping and also giving us tags to put on gifts:
    1. Wrapping, ribbons, bows, and cards can get expensive! It can easily add another $5-10 to your gift.
    2. I appreciate the greenness of not using/throwing out a ton of wrapping paper.
    3. Watching the guest of honor unwrap presents can take hours!
    4. Many baby showers I’ve attended are co-ed events-more like a bbq-focus isn’t all about the gifts.
    5. No mess for people to clean up afterwards!

    on the other hand, I can understand where it could appear to be a little gift-grubby or impersonal. Like they wouldn’t appreciate your carefully picked out card with your sentiments written in it. Or they’re more concerned with getting your gift than taking the time to interact with you by opening it and thanking you for it, etc.

    I get uncomfortable during the gift opening and showing off portion of showers. Sometimes people feel obligated to spend more than they comfortably can because they know their gift is going to be held up and pass around. Or the person who cold only afford a couple bibs is quickly thanked while everyone gushes over the generosity of the stroller giver. There’s just an awkward dynamic to me. I’d much rather gifts be on a table that people can walk up to, ohhh and ahhh over, and not put people on the spot!

  • GrizzMagoo September 18, 2014, 2:33 pm

    To be the devil’s advocate – I get really nervous when I’m the center of attention. I don’t like it, and big gift gatherings always cause anxiety because I worry that I won’t react the right way about a gift, or thank that person enough, or look grateful or pleased enough. Also – when your gigantically pregnant, as most women are during their baby showers, the last thing you really want (or I wanted) was a bunch of my thin friends staring at me.

    It did help that my husband was there with me.

  • shimmer September 19, 2014, 9:21 am

    I could see putting qualifiers on presents. For example, since people are living together for a few years before marriage, I could understand if in conversation (not on thr invitation, but if anyone asks) they mention having enough housewares, but their washing machine is busted or something. Or parents requesting that all toys have an off switch/removable batteries/ are age appropriate… But requesting that any presents are wrapped a certain way on the invite is not right. If it’s a work shower or there is such an abundance of presents that they can’t all be opened at once, I’d try to see if anyone was super excited about seeing the opening of their present, open those there, and open the rest at home, and sending thank you notes within a couple days…

  • Jillian November 1, 2014, 9:58 pm

    Like some of the others have mentioned, I too get great joy not only in seeing the recipient unwrap my gift, but in actually wrapping it. I love pretty papers, ribbons and bows. I often add fun embellishments to the wrapping (a rattle in the ribbon, a bow made out of baby socks, etc.), and would find this approach to take a lot of my enjoyment out of the gift giving process.

    I recall a wedding shower I went to where I carefully wrapped the gift, with a wonderful flower bow that I had created in complimentary colors to the ribbon and paper, only to watch in horror from the table closest to the “passing” area where the bridesmaids were handing off the gifts to the B2B as they ripped off every ribbon and bow, and gave the unwrapping process a start before passing it to her to “open”. I was heartbroken to see the carefully chosen and hand-crafted embellishments I had added to my gift tossed in a trash bag with no regard and without my friend, the guest of honor, having ever laid eyes on them.