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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.



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  • just4kicks September 17, 2014, 6:12 am

    Seriously?!? Come on, people! The first thing that struck me was that could not have been cheap to print up. Secondly, cello or clear wrapping??? I haven’t been to a baby shower in years, and, maybe I’m wrong here because of that, but isn’t watching the mommy to be opening gifts the focal point of the whole gathering?? Passing around cute outfits and toys and “ooohing and aahhhing” over the gifts?
    In my book, that takes laziness and tacky to a whole new level.
    The last baby shower I was to was a lovely luncheon for my cousin and her first child. After lunch, we all turned our chairs toward the new mommy to be and had a great time watching her open all the presents.
    I guess my question is, what the heck do you DO for the time you’re there? Hopefully not those gross “guess what’s in the diaper” games!

    • Jen September 17, 2014, 10:15 am

      “I haven’t been to a baby shower in years, and, maybe I’m wrong here because of that, but isn’t watching the mommy to be opening gifts the focal point of the whole gathering??

      That’s been the point of any shower I’ve ever been to. I agree with you, this smacks of tacky and laziness.

  • Dominic September 17, 2014, 6:30 am

    Providing blank gift tags in the invite sounds like a cute idea, in a way, except that many gift-givers like to dress up their packages as they desire with coordinated paper, ribbon, and tags. And cellophane? Please, imagine all the noise from crinkling cellophane—that alone would kill conversations. Nope, there is no dictating how presents will be wrapped.

    Anyway, if I’m at a baby shower (and even though I’m a guy, I’ve been to several), I want to have those cute baby clothes and soft little stuffed toys passed around to be held up and oohed and aahed over. They shouldn’t sit on a gift table unadmired and ignored.

    • A different Tracy September 17, 2014, 9:25 am

      I think you missed the point. There wouldn’t be any noise from crinkling cellophane because the plan is to display the unwrapped/clearwrapped gifts rather than open them and pass them around. (And no, I’m not a fan either.)

      • Dominic September 17, 2014, 1:52 pm

        No, I did understand that, which is clear from my last sentence. It was merely a rhetorical device—pardon my inaccurate hyperbolism.

  • Charliesmum September 17, 2014, 6:50 am

    More than the fact this sounds like the presents are like admission fees, to be uncermoniously handed over and then ignored, I hate bad poetry on invitations.

    • Dominic September 17, 2014, 8:06 am

      Hilarious—I didn’t even notice it was supposed to be a poem! I see it now; previously I just thought it was awkwardly worded.

      • just4kicks September 17, 2014, 10:16 am

        Me too….didn’t catch that either! 😉

    • Wild Irish Rose September 17, 2014, 8:58 am

      Right there with you. I hate bad poetry on cards of any kind. Especially invitations and sympathy cards. Ugh.

      • Lady Macbeth September 17, 2014, 10:13 pm

        Though I have heard of and seen many an example here on E-hell of rhyming notes, never have I experience a rhyming sympathy card. That disturbs me more than I think it should.

        • Wild Irish Rose September 18, 2014, 11:35 am

          Oh, they’re out there, and it can’t possibly disturb you more than it should! 🙂

    • PhDeath September 18, 2014, 12:14 pm

      Just what I wanted to post!

      Why, oh WHY do people think making a potentially-touchy request through dreadful poetry makes the situation better?

  • NostalgicGal September 17, 2014, 6:54 am

    Strange, but I’ll give it a pass. Just make sure to fasten the to/from tag onto the gift so the givers can be logged for the thankyou cards. Unless you also get a stack of postcards to pick one up on your way out that say Thank You on them. That hits the height of tack-ee.

  • Cat September 17, 2014, 6:59 am

    Talk about a micro-manager! Some folks want to tell you what to buy and this one wants to tell you how it is to be wrapped-or not. Why not just slap a twenty dollar bill down in front of the mommy-to-be and be done with it?
    These folks need to be ignored and, if questioned about it, told, “I am not going to do that. You may do as you wish with your gift.”

  • Kara September 17, 2014, 7:00 am

    This feels … off … and very off-putting to me. Less like I am giving the mom-to-be a gift and more like I am just doing her shopping for her.

    If I got a shower invite like this, I would decline the shower.

  • Joni September 17, 2014, 7:34 am

    I could understand a request to leave off wrapping paper since it all ends up in a landfill. But this seems to be less of an environmental concern and more of an aesthetic one.

    Also, the cutesy little poem makes my teeth ache. What is it about baby showers that brings out the bad Dr. Seuss in everyone?

  • sio8bhan September 17, 2014, 7:47 am

    Maybe it’s a time-saving convenience for the mom-to-be. She can start a separate pile of things she knows she wants to return, because some annoying guests got her gifts she doesn’t want/need.
    After the shower she can rip off the cellophane and return them to the store for a refund or exchange.
    People are brilliant in thinking up ways to be rude and tacky.

    • Lady Catford September 17, 2014, 11:37 am

      I thought that the cellophane or unwrapped gift request was just an excuse not to waste time having to unwrap all those pesky gifts, appear properly pleased, and note who gave what so to send thank you cards. It didn’t occur to me that ‘After the shower she can rip off the cellophane and return them to the store for a refund or exchange.’ Of course the blank gift tags would be useful when writing thank you cards perhaps with a cutsey generic poem. I would not go to that shower.

  • Willynilly September 17, 2014, 7:53 am

    Three of the last four showers I’ve been to have been “display showers” as these are called. They are so common themed cellophane wrap is now pretty standard in the gift wrap section of stores.
    As for more time to socialize, all three of the showers I attended had assigned table seating and 2 had plated meals served (one was buffet) so really the majority of the socializing one was doing was simply with the folks at the table you were seated at. The guest of honor in each case did of course make the rounds, as well as her mother (separately) stopping by each table to chat.
    I think its much more to do with time/guest ratio management – these were showers with 40+ attending guests. Opening that many presents publicly would take too long.

    • Wild Irish Rose September 17, 2014, 9:02 am

      Opening that many presents publicly would take too long? Then have a smaller shower. Seriously, the point of a shower is to “shower” the bride- or mom-to-be with gifts. I would be terribly offended if I attended a shower at which the guest of honor refused to open her gifts. I’ve been to large showers before, and while it does take some time to open things up, so what? THAT’S THE POINT. If a guest really can’t stay, then she should either send her gift with someone else and not attend at all, or offer profuse apologies to the guest of honor and make a graceful exit. However, I submit that if you are invited to a shower and you plan to attend, you should be prepared to sacrifice two or three hours of your day. As for the plated meal versus buffet, that’s tacky too. ALL guests should be treated the same when it comes to the refreshments.

      • Jen September 17, 2014, 12:06 pm

        You took the words right out of my mouth. 🙂

      • Willynilly September 17, 2014, 3:17 pm

        I think you misunderstood about the meals, I simply meant of the three, two showers had plated meals (for everyone) and one had a buffet (for everyone). That was not the tacky bit at all.

        As for the showers being too big, I agree the point is to watch the GOH open gifts. I simply believe size was the reasoning, because as I pointed out, there really was no excessive socializing. I really don’t know for sure as I didn’t plan any of them. I have hosted a few showers and opening gifts was always a key part. And at my own two showers (one bridal, one baby) I certainly opened my gifts as part of the party. (I also insisted on keeping the guest lists small, although I left the rest of the planning up to the hosts.)

        • Wild Irish Rose September 18, 2014, 11:36 am

          Oh, okay, I did misunderstand about the meals. My bad. 🙂

      • another Laura September 17, 2014, 3:32 pm

        I believe that plated meals were at two different showers and the buffet was a third. The guests at at shower 1 were all treated the same, though not necessarily the same way they were treated at shower 2. I don’t think I have ever been to a shower with a full meal, although sometimes the “snack” was almost enough to count as one.

      • JO September 17, 2014, 6:39 pm

        I must admit, I get a *little* annoyed when I hear “have a smaller shower” thrown out. On the surface, yes, that seems logical, but it isn’t always an easy option. Take my family; my sister is expecting and friends inquired about throwing a shower. They positively blanched when they learned about our 15 aunts, 5 sisters and sisters in law, 3 grandmothers, 2 great grandmothers…don’t even get me started on cousins. Then there’s got to be room for friends. And that doesn’t even include the father’s side.

        • Steve September 17, 2014, 9:24 pm

          Your shower hosts are not required to replicate your wedding reception for you.

          Guest list decisions are hard. Adults are capable of making hard decisions. If they’re adults.

        • Wild Irish Rose September 18, 2014, 11:38 am

          In my opinion (and please remember that this just my opinion), this would call for more than one shower. The problem is time–you’re either taking forever at one shower with fifteen squillion attendees, or you’re taking time out of several days with multiple showers. I honestly don’t know the answer to this, except to have more than one shower. But of course, the bride- or mother-to-be can’t throw the shower herself, and family members aren’t supposed to. What’s a girl to do? 🙂

    • sillyme September 17, 2014, 11:44 am

      Another good point!

    • jazzgirl205 September 17, 2014, 2:01 pm

      It doesn’t take that long. My SIL gave me a baby shower with at least that many guests. This was the shower to which all the cousins, in-laws, great aunts, WW2 buddies, and siblings’ best friends who remembered my own birth were invited. Hey, if an 83 yo woman crochets you a baby blanket, you darn sure better open it then and there and be appropriately astounded.

  • CW September 17, 2014, 7:55 am

    I’ll have to fly to my baby shower so for practical purposes any gifts are requested to be shipped to my home address. I know the fun part of opening them at the party is lost but I can’t very well fly home with packages and boxes. The shower is really more of a time for me to see my friends and family that live “back home” that I haven’t seen in months. However, I think it’s rather silly to suggest exactly how gifts should be wrapped.

    • Angel September 17, 2014, 9:55 am

      CW in your situation it is practical to have the gifts shipped directly to you. But in most cases where the MTB is local–a big part of the shower is the gift opening. If you are worried about time for socializing, add an hour to the festivities and that’s plenty of time. To me it’s the height of tackiness to dictate the terms of the gift. It’s a shame. If I were the mother-to-be I wouldn’t like this included with my baby shower invite. But something tells me this was her idea.

      • CW September 17, 2014, 12:35 pm

        Plus, how fun is opening a gift when you can already see it? Where’s the surprise?

      • Dee September 17, 2014, 12:49 pm

        But one way or another the gifts need to be shipped, so why shouldn’t they be opened first at the party? Why couldn’t a person fly back home with packages and boxes? Because it would be too expensive? But the cost being placed on the gift givers isn’t an issue? And what happens if a gift giver does not ship the gift and presents it in person – is it rejected? Putting restrictions and conditions on gifts feels like a gift grab or angling for money only. Really, there doesn’t have to be a shower at all for one to plan a visit with friends and family, or has that changed now, too? Whatever happened to just accepting what others are planning to do and give, and not trying to control others’ actions, especially the generous ones?

        • shh its me September 18, 2014, 6:36 am

          I would guess the guests would ship the items because its possible if not likely for the gifts to be bought with a free shipping option.

          • Dee September 18, 2014, 12:45 pm

            Ah, silly me, I had forgotten that a good guest would only purchase off the registry, with an option to ship. Or just send cash.

        • CW September 18, 2014, 10:07 am

          Like I had actually stated, it was a REQUEST, a suggestion, not a demand. It was actually pointed out to me by the hostess that it might be difficult for me to be flying alone, while 6 months pregnant and trying to finagle extra objects. Obviously, if I have to take a few things home on the plane or ship them myself, I’ll figure it out. I plan to ship a few of the baby things my family has been storing for me while I’m there anyway. I’ve checked with websites and several of them have free shipping for small as well as large orders. I mean, if you’d like to volunteer to be my extra set of hands at the airport, that’s cool.

          The reason the shower got planned in the first place was I had mentioned wanting to visit before the birth of my child and someone jumped at the idea of wanting to throw me a shower at the same time. It became a way for me to see an extended number of people in the short amount of time I’m able to be there.

    • JO September 17, 2014, 6:13 pm

      A friend of mine had a wedding shower in her husband to be’s hometown, clear across the country from where they lived. To avoid having to ship all those gifts back, the hostess asked that guests ship the gift to the bride’s home, but come to the shower with a picture of it. It was actually very nice; she opened envelopes with the pictures so we could still all watch, ooh, and ahh.

    • Steve September 17, 2014, 9:25 pm

      You could ship your gifts home. Instead of making the guests do it for you–on their dime.

      • AnaMaria September 23, 2014, 12:31 pm

        Who pays for the shipping, then? The mom or bride-to-be, or the hostess of the party? If you register at the right stores, the guests would be able to go online or to the store’s front desk and pick a gift, and ask to have it shipped to the guests’ home at a low cost, or even have it shipped for free to another store in the mom/bride’s hometown so she could just pick it up and not have to travel with it. Asking the recipient to unwrap all her gifts at the shower, then re-wrap them for shipping and pay for it seems a bit ridiculous, as does asking the hostess to do it after all they did to throw the shower in the first place. If guests don’t want to deal with shipping, bringing a cash or gift-card gift is always another option when the guest of honor needs to travel home.

  • AnaMaria September 17, 2014, 7:56 am

    I guess this could be an attempt to go Green (although I would think cellophane would be far worse for the environment than paper…am I right?). If the Mom-to-be or host feel strongly convicted about not wasting paper, this certainly seems more tactful than demanding that all guests bring their gifts wrapped in recycled, biodegradable paper. Still odd, though!

    • Hollyhock September 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

      Well, if the mother-to-be really wants to go green, perhaps all of the guests shouldn’t waste fossil fuels driving to the party in the first place. That would be my thought.

      There is no question that it is rude to dictate how a gift shall be presented. Many people take a great deal of creative enjoyment and pride in their gift wrapping/packaging skills. If I were invited to a shower and received an instruction like this, I would decline to attend.

      And I have to say that requesting gifts be shipped to the home is “off” to me as well. I understand the logistics but technically if one is traveling that far to a shower, it’s not really a shower – at least in the traditional sense. Call if a pre-baby party or tea or whatever but by definition if the guests can’t arrive and “shower” the MTB or bride-to-be with small tokens of affection, it’s a different party altogether. And not necessarily one that requires a gift be given.

  • don't blink September 17, 2014, 8:02 am

    I actually don’t have a problem with this, because I am very uncomfortable opening gifts in front of people. I feel a lot of stress when everyone in the room is staring at me and waiting for my reaction. Because of this, I would have happily skipped baby showers, but as most new moms know that is not always in your control. Leaving the gifts unwrapped or wrapped in cellophane would have allowed me ( and everyone else) to enjoy the presents without feeling like I was under a microscope, as well as to take a moment to prepare what I wanted to say to the gift giver.

    • Wild Irish Rose September 17, 2014, 9:04 am

      I understand this, and that’s why I think surprise showers are often a bad idea. No one should be put on the spot, not even for this.

    • Princess Buttercup September 17, 2014, 9:50 am

      Same here, being stared at while I open presents and try to figure out what the item is does not equal fun to me. And then I’m expected to say something about it right then when I’m still processing the item. Ranks up there with the whole “singing happy birthday” thing, akward, undesireable and usually an assult to the sense of hearing. I’d love to drop that practice.
      However, I would grit me teeth and deal with an unwrapping (as quick as possible) rather than dictate how people give gifts.

      I’ve thought that if I did have a kid I would prefer a friend throw me a “Welcome Baby” party. A party held in the month or two after birth and it’s more about cooing over the baby then about staring at me at a party all about gimme. Which is all a baby shower breaks down to is a gimme party. And if some opted to bring presents to the Welcome Baby party then so be it and we’ll quickly deal with those but it would not be the center of the day.

      • ryo's girl September 17, 2014, 2:46 pm

        I insist on this because I’ve known too many people (5 different couples in my lifetime) who have been through the terrible ordeal of either having a late term miscarriage (3rd trimester) or had complications at birth where the baby (and in one case, the mom as well) passed away. Childbirth can still be a risky experience even in the 21st century! Watching a widowed dad or a what should have been a happy new mom deal with baby gifts after the death of their baby cures you of ever wanting to attend a baby shower before baby has arrived safe and sound.

        • Noodle September 17, 2014, 9:12 pm

          I insisted on this too with my second pregnancy after miscarrying my first pregnancy and finding out that I have a health issue that puts my miscarriage risk at about 50%. I probably went a little overboard–it took doing to convince me to even have baby furniture in the house.

          Someone was recently telling me about a friend of hers who was probably 35 weeks along and lost the baby around the same time the shower was going to be. Having the relatively-early miscarriage was bad enough but I cannot begin to fathom what that must have been like for her.

    • Ellex September 17, 2014, 10:47 am

      Exactly this.

      It was beyond sweet for my mother in law’s book club to have a bridal shower for me. But, there was a reason I wasn’t planning on having one at all. Sitting in the center of attention and spending 30 minutes unwrapping gifts in front of a group of near strangers (who were absolutely lovely) was not comfortable for me. I would have much rather oooh’d and aaah’d at them en masse and spent an extra thirty minutes socializing with them like I wasn’t the guest of honor. (Thank Crom, my husband made it clear that shower party games were not a thing that should happen.)

    • Miss Raven September 17, 2014, 2:23 pm

      My good friend’s fiancee had a “display shower” before the wedding. It was a large shower, in the evening, really more of a party. It was a great deal of fun and no one I spoke with had an issue with bringing unwrapped gifts. The bride-to-be was as gracious as could be, as was her family. We played games, ate tons of delicious food, and just had a jolly good time talking and laughing. No one seemed to miss the apparent “focus” of the event, wherein we all sit quietly in a circle while the guest of honor unwraps a crashing pile of gifts one-by-one.

      Quite honestly, I find the idea of a shower as just a vehicle for gifts to be a little bit weird, and you can count me (and the bride-to-be) along with the others who feel awkward sitting and being stared at while unwrapping all the goodies.

      Sorry, but I think all the pearl-clutching regarding this trend is silly and over-dramatic. What is that we say? Etiquette isn’t just an inflexible set of rules? Let’s all apply that thinking here and take a calming breath.

    • Cat September 17, 2014, 4:56 pm

      I understand how you feel. Why not just skip the whole party thing? People who want to buy you a baby gift can come by your home (after calling first to see if it is convenient), bring you your gift, and see you privately.

    • Surianne September 17, 2014, 5:16 pm

      I agree. I really like this as a guest, too, because I hate watching people open gifts. I’ve never been to a shower where anyone seemed to enjoy it. We’re usually all eager to get back to our conversations, food, etc., and the present opening can stop things for an hour. It’s boring and also crazy awkward when the parents-to-be can’t figure out what an item is, or when guests make loud comments about the item, or the cards get passed around that have personal notes in them…shudder. (I normally skip baby showers now unless I know there won’t be present-opening.)

  • Cecilia September 17, 2014, 8:05 am

    I agree with previous posters, this is very off-putting. If someone is going to be generous enough to purchase you a present and give up half a day to attend a shower, you don’t get to dictate wrapping paper choice. For some, wrapping the present and dressing it up is half the fun!

    I agree with @just4kicks- diaper games are gross. I think we need to boycott showers that have those. I’ve played real-life “guess what’s in the diaper” and it surely was no game! The “prize” wasn’t great either!

    • just4kicks September 17, 2014, 10:19 am

      Thank you for the laugh and the coffee I just snorted out of my nose! 🙂
      There aren’t many things in this world more disgusting than having a baby leave you a “gift” “, especially when said child is sick….would be a great appetite suppressant!!!

    • Mer September 17, 2014, 2:57 pm

      I wondered if there is half day for it. If it’s for coworker it might be more of a “lunch hour” thing or extended coffee break during the work day (some employers may allow this). So if there is 30-60 minutes time, opening a pile of gifts will take most of that and leave nothing for socialization or snacks/coffee.

      • Cecilia September 18, 2014, 8:03 am

        Mer- I was thinking more of non-work showers, such as a friend or relative’s shower, on the weekend where you could possibly drive 30 or more minutes to get there, especially if people are going to carpool. If it is a largish shower, it could take an hour or more to open the presents, and add in socializing and eating and it could easily take half a day.

        The recent work showers at my job have been “drop-in” showers, usually with a 2 or 3 hour window to accommodate as many guests as possible. (The company I work with has 6 locations in our town. Although we all do different things, we are under the parent company. When someone who has worked at different locations gets married/has a baby, people from multiple locations get invited) I think that should not be allowed because then the GOH and party planners are basically getting paid to have a party/shower. Then, of course, you get the attendees who want to be there for the whole shower and pretty soon nobody is actually working. Sorry- work showers are a trigger for me.

  • JD September 17, 2014, 8:06 am

    The invitation included blank gift tags …. that right there would have put me off the baby shower. Yes, I usually bring gifts to a shower, but I might have a gift mailed to their home or I might pick up a back-ordered gift later to take to them another time, or I might be making it and it isn’t done yet, or I might even decide not to give one because I’m not attending the shower, I barely know these people, and I’m not sure why I was even invited; all real life examples. So the idea of “here’s a tag, because of course you won’t have the nerve to show up without a gift” galls me. It’s all about the gifts, it seems. But hey, if I don’t attend with a gift, I guess I get a free blank gift tag to use as I wish.
    Some people get a lot of pleasure out of pretty wrappings, and I’m one of them. I would not be happy with these instructions. If my carefully chosen but unwrapped white smocked infant dress gets dropped on the floor and stepped on, I’ll be quite unhappy, and so would mom-to-be, I would think. If I have several small gifts wrapped together in a larger container, it would be impossible to see all of them even in the cellophane, unless they are opened and removed for all to see. This just makes no sense. Micro-manager is correct. I think they probably meant well, but it’s not a good idea and I wouldn’t feel bound to do it.

    • Jen September 17, 2014, 10:24 am

      “If my carefully chosen but unwrapped white smocked infant dress gets dropped on the floor and stepped on, I’ll be quite unhappy, and so would mom-to-be, I would think.”

      As a knitter, I have to agree with this. I generally will make handknit gifts for showers to those I deem “knitworthy”. I would not be too happy if the gift that I spent hours and hours on ended up slipping off the gift table and being trampled on or, worse, lost in the shuffle.

      I’m with you that this invitation would probably turn me off enough that I would send my regrets and possibly mail the gift directly to the recipient.

      • kit September 17, 2014, 1:57 pm

        I have never been at any showers (not such things where I live), but, if there are enough gifts to open them for a couple of hours, doesn’t it mean that there are enough people who would pass your white smocked infant dress through their dirty hands to ooh and aah over it? Eww.

        • JD September 18, 2014, 10:02 am

          No, because the pretty things that are easily dirtied have always been, at showers I attended, held up, admired, carefully placed back in the open box, then handed around by the box so all could see the item, but not handle it.

      • A different Tracy September 18, 2014, 8:13 am

        I don’t understand. Isn’t a gift that’s being passed from guest to guest MORE likely to be dropped? Why would anything displayed on a table be more at risk of being dropped on the floor and stepped on?

        (Not that I’m defending the display shower. I just don’t understand this particular reason.)

        • Jillian November 1, 2014, 9:18 pm

          I have never been to a shower where the items are literally passed around from guest to guest. In every shower (bridal or baby) guest of honor sits in a spot where she can be seen by all, opens the gift, holds it up for all to see, makes eye contact with and thanks the giver, and then it goes back in the box/bag and gets passed off to a helper while another gift is handed to her.

          Of course, at the last baby shower I attended, the mom-to-be didn’t want any pictures taken, so she had a group of her friends stand about 4 feet in front of her in a semi-circle so pretty much no one in the room could see what she was opening. She was also 45 minutes late while posting on FB that she was out shopping (and it wasn’t a surprise).

  • burgerking September 17, 2014, 8:22 am

    This is another oddity to add to the annals. But, it has become common for people to NOT open gifts at showers, parties and weddings because(they feel) it sends a signal to others in the room that haven’t be thrown a party themselves (I am 1 That happens To agree with this at a child’s birthday party so other kids don’t feel very bad to watch 1 person get to open up all the gifts)

    • Kimstu September 17, 2014, 7:35 pm

      It’s traditionally correct not to open gifts at weddings, since the bridal couple already have a huge amount to deal with during the event without opening packages on top of it all. Wedding gifts are customarily sent or given before or after the wedding itself; if a guest does bring a gift along to the wedding, it’s put aside to be unwrapped in private.

      However, I think the new trend of not opening presents at a party that is fundamentally BASED on presents (i.e., a shower or a child’s birthday party) completely misses the point. Throwing a party at which people are EXPECTED to give you presents, and then not spending the time and energy to show your appreciation for the presents as part of the party, transforms the whole thing from a joyous celebration of anticipation and generosity into a meeting with one’s personal shoppers, as a previous poster noted.

      And the notion of not opening gifts at a child’s birthday party because some kids get jealous of the birthday child’s getting all the presents is outright APPALLING. Celebration and generosity don’t mean that everybody shares everything equally all the time: sometimes it’s your turn to be the giver instead of the recipient. Children need to learn the joy of giving and making somebody else the center of attention without getting upset because “it’s not fair”.

      In short: People who are uncomfortable with opening gifts at a party should not agree to be the guest of honor at parties whose raison d’etre is the giving of gifts. People who feel uncomfortable watching other people open gifts at a party should decline invitations to such parties.

      • A different Tracy September 18, 2014, 8:18 am



      • Wild Irish Rose September 18, 2014, 11:52 am

        This. In spades.

  • Raven September 17, 2014, 8:31 am

    I hate this.

    Don’t tell me how to prepare a gift. Be grateful you’re getting one!

    And I agree with admin – showers (bridal, baby, whathaveyou) always have loads of time for chitchat. This is odd.

    Can people just please stop dictating what exactly needs to happen for these events? Stop telling people how to spend their money, what to wear, and now, how to wrap gifts! Just be quiet and write your thank-you note!

    Sidenote: I am very grouchy today…

    • JuneFirst September 17, 2014, 8:17 pm

      Also, stop giving tacky trends names like “display showers”, “wishing wells” and “honeymoon registry” to make extortion seem ok!

      • Raven September 18, 2014, 10:14 am

        Yes! A bad idea by any other name will be just as stupid.

    • just4kicks September 18, 2014, 3:41 am

      You are absolutely right! Everyone I know is struggling a little bit (or Alot) for extra cash these days, and if I spend hard earned money I don’t really have on a gift, I’d like SOME sort of acknowledgment of the gift. Not to make it “all about me”, but “oh my goodness! What a lovely outfit/blanket etc!” would be nice.

      • Raven September 18, 2014, 10:16 am

        Exactly. How hard is it to just be appreciative that someone took the time, energy, and money to buy you a gift? Be grateful to have a family/group of friends/community that cares about you. If it’s “so inconvenient” to unwrap presents and send an individual thank-you note, maybe the shower will be sooooo inconvenient too.

  • Steve September 17, 2014, 8:44 am

    You do not dictate the terms of other people’s generosity under any circumstances whatsoever.


    Those who “go along” or “give a pass” or say, “This doesn’t bother me,” are just as guilty as the original malefactor. You are aiding and abetting a serious social offense. It’s a violation of a social contract in which gift-givers get to enjoy the sight of a delighted guest of honor opening her gifts, while the bride-or mom-to-be enjoys the gifts themselves—with all of this taking place against a backdrop of chitchat and good feeling. Instead, a spoiled child grown into adulthood is now using “guests” as personal shoppers whose job is to tick goods off the list, and deliver them according to her precise and exacting specifications. This is the reductio ad absurdam of a tradition.

    Such behavior is going to backfire. I hear more and more people complaining about weddings and registries and showers, and more and more people are declining to participate.

    • Devin September 17, 2014, 1:30 pm

      If my best friend’s local friends does something tacky like this for her baby shower. I may not like it, but I’d never punish my friend and myself by declining to attend. Reminds me of – Cutting off ones nose to spite ones face.

    • kingsrings September 17, 2014, 4:56 pm

      I completely agree. And may I add that impending motherhood is definitely not an excuse for poor manners, either, so don’t try to excuse shower rudeness with that, either. If you can’t honor your guests in the same manner in which they’re honoring you, then simply don’t have a shower to begin with. If this shower is such a hassle for the new mother that she can’t even unwrap her own presents, then it should be cancelled. Also, while I can’t decently wrap presents to save my life, I know tons of people who can and take a lot of joy and pleasure in wrapping up a present all nice and beautiful for their special somebody. So this is also depriving them of that generosity.

  • Goldie September 17, 2014, 8:46 am

    Yes, diaper games must die.

    I’d happily leave the gift unwrapped since I’m not a big fan of wrapping gifts anyway – to me it’s wasteful and bad for the environment. (Though, cellophane???) But I admit I’d be a bit irked by being told how to present my gift, and would certainly never impose any such rule on my own guests.

    • Cat September 17, 2014, 4:57 pm

      Save the comic section of your local paper, wrap gifts in it, and then recycle the newspaper after the party.

  • hakayama September 17, 2014, 8:49 am

    I imagine that several root canals, thankfully with Novocaine, were a small price to “pay” for a life without showers of any kind. I wonder what Superior Forces I should be addressing directly to give thanks.
    Somehow, over the decades, my friends, relatives and coworkers have managed to get married and have babies without getting showered. And, yes, gifts have been given, but not at gift grab parties…

    [At every turn throughout the year I “bump” into something I can give thanks for. Right now, EHell made me aware of the absence of showers. Parties of all types were arranged for NO occasion whatsoever.]

  • Karen September 17, 2014, 8:54 am

    My first inclination would be to decline to attend this shower, my second would be to attend and make sure my gift was in as many boxes as humanly possible, and covered with an entire roll of gift wrap and tape. But that’s just me. 🙂

    • M September 17, 2014, 4:11 pm

      Second that entire statement. And bows. All the bows.

  • Kate September 17, 2014, 9:00 am

    As a question to all of the people on this website that are more knowledgeable about etiquette that I am, is it necessary part of shower etiquette that the bride or mother to be must open the presents in front of everyone? Speaking for myself, I would be filled with anxiety, and nauseous to have a group of people staring at me for two or three hours. And on the other side of this, when I go to a shower, when they’re opening the presents, I usually wander away, because that is really not my thing. To sit there and stare at someone for 2 or 3 hours while they open presents.

    Before anyone starts to tell me that I don’t have to go to showers, and I don’t have to throw showers, and I certainly don’t have to have a shower for myself, let’s all agree thats there absolutely are functions that you have to go to and participate in that you do not want to. Yes, you have to take your mother to your second cousins shower, even though you’ve only met this girl 2 times in your entire life, because you love your mother and it makes her happy! And who is going to stand up to their mother, future mother-in-law, two great aunts and your sister who thinks she’s Martha Stewart, when they want to throw you a shower. There are very few people who could.

    I’m just wondering if the etiquette question here is that they are dictating how to wrap the presents, or that they don’t want to open them in front of everyone?

    • Steve September 17, 2014, 12:20 pm

      Yes, it is absolutely required that you open shower gifts in front of guests. That is the entire point of a shower. Anyone who says otherwise is not basing their answer on etiquette. There is far too much “But I think “and “But I feel “in these comments sometimes.

      You can always decline a shower thrown in your honor. Some people claim they cannot, but that merely means they care more about their own minor, passing discomfort than they do about being rude to other people.

      Showers are borderline rude anyway. That is why it is so important to strictly follow every other rule of etiquette when throwing one. Only those invited to the wedding may be invited to a bridal shower. Food and beverages must be hosted, not brought or paid for by the guests. Thank you notes are mandatory. Neither the bride nor her immediate family may have anything to do with organizing the event. And only one baby shower is allowed per family.

      When you play fast and loose with these rules, what you end up doing is reducing the shower to a subpoena for presents. I would not expect a tradition like that to last for very long.

      • just4kicks September 18, 2014, 3:48 am

        We have three boys in a row and then our youngest is a girl. I had a lovely shower thrown for me for our first son, opening the gifts was so much fun. We knew ahead of time the sex of all our kids. Hand-me-downs galore! When we found out our youngest was to be a girl, a shower just for her was being tossed around the family. I said no. Who cares if a 2 month old girl is wearing a blue sleeper? Now my folks did buy her a few frilly, feminine things, such as a coat and hat and pink toys, as did we. The crib and stroller were still in good shape, and many of my boys cute little jeans were then paired with a pretty top.

    • Cat September 17, 2014, 5:03 pm

      I was wondering just whose idea it was to tell the guests how to wrap their gifts. I thought it was the person giving her the party rather than the guest of honor. If it was the expectant mother, I would be happy just to give her a gift card in an envelope. If it is the person giving the party, it sounds as if she wants too much control over the party.

    • Kimstu September 17, 2014, 7:46 pm

      It is totally fine to throw or attend a party where there is NO EXPECTATION OF GIFTS. But if you do throw or attend a party which is traditionally all about the giving and receiving of gifts, such as a shower, then yes, etiquette says you should be prepared to participate in that part of the custom.

      And yes, you absolutely CAN stand up to your mother and sister if they want to throw you a shower and you don’t want one. For one thing, traditionally showers are NOT supposed to be hosted by close relatives of the guest of honor. Show your “Martha Stewart” sister the page on Miss Manners’ book where she explains that, or point her to any one of our own @Admin’s posts on the subject!

      If you don’t want a big fuss about gifts at a party, then just don’t have or attend parties that are traditionally all about gifts. And yes, if you avoid those types of parties, that means you may not get as many gifts. Too bad.

      It is rude and greedy to insist on the expectation of other people’s giving you gifts (which is what you do any time you agree to be the guest of honor at anything called a “shower” or “birthday party”) while attempting to dictate the terms on which you will accept the gifts.

  • Kat September 17, 2014, 9:10 am

    It seems clear that the intent here is to skip the tedious gift-opening portion of showers. I think that’s actually a great idea, but yeah, the execution didn’t quite work here. Was there a better way they could have done it?

    • Steve September 17, 2014, 12:21 pm

      Yes. Not throwing a shower. Just have a tea instead. With no gifts.

      • don't blink September 18, 2014, 8:04 am

        People like to give gifts, Steve. Even with clear instructions of ” No gifts please!!” it still happens….especially for a mother to be. A ” No gift tea” will still end up having gifts.

        • B September 18, 2014, 4:29 pm

          You don’t instruct anyone NO GIFTS. That’s rude too and not something Steve ever mentioned. It is not NO GIFTS or a shower, you know. There are alternatives, such as the tea.

          You just let people alone to give or not as they want to. I don’t know why people are so terrified to do this.

      • Kat September 18, 2014, 10:49 am

        I like it 🙂 Sincere question – would a host get in trouble in that situation too for bringing up gifts? Or is it okay as long as you’re saying NO gifts? At what point do you have to shut up and let people do whatever they want with regard to gifts?

        • B September 18, 2014, 4:31 pm

          You should shut up about gifts from the start. It is not ok to direct gift giving until you’ve been asked, and that includes saying ‘no gifts’

  • Angel September 17, 2014, 9:10 am

    I really hate this idea. I don’t know if it is against etiquette or not, but the whole purpose of a shower is to “shower” the mom to be or bride to be with gifts. Half the fun is opening presents. Nicely wrapped presents look pretty. This shower seems like it would be lame.

    If I am close to the mom to be I might send a gift card or something. But I wouldn’t want to attend a shower like this. The hostess seems uptight and controlling. And frankly I resent being told how I have to wrap a gift. A gift should be a symbol of love that comes from the heart. Not an obligation to be thrown on a table with some generic tag. Personally I love choosing a pretty wrapping and I design gift tags with my Cricut. I am a paper crafter and like to make things look pretty. Clear cellophane by itself is no fun at all.

  • Jinx September 17, 2014, 9:12 am

    I have never been to a shower (and glad of it – what’s this about guessing diapers?!… but how long could it possibly take to unwrap something?

    • just4kicks September 18, 2014, 3:52 am

      It’s a gross and really disgusting “party game” where you have several diapers in which different chocolate bars are melted and smeared into a diaper then passed around. The first person to correctly guess “it’s a stickers bar!!!” wins a little prize. Yuck. What a terrible waste of not only good, expensive diapers….but a Damn shame to waste all that chocolate too!!!

  • Annon September 17, 2014, 9:12 am

    How many people have been to a shower (wedding or baby) and have complained about “how boring” it is to watch the gift opening and play the silly Bingo present game? This way, although new to me, is a way to not have to make people stay at a shower for 4+ hours b/c of all the gifts. Get in, socialize, eat, drink, and leave. There isn’t the additional 2 hours for gift opening and people continually looking at their watch, or chit chatting with those around them not even paying attention to the gift opening.

    • Princess Buttercup September 17, 2014, 2:03 pm

      At my wedding reception everyone there was harassing us to open our presents right then and there. We finally gave in because everyone was saying we had to. We moved as quickly as possible yet still most guests got bored and left while we were doing it so there was nearly no one there to send us off. I do not get why everyone was so adimate that we open gifts when they found it borring and left midway through. Yet another reason why I just don’t get “showers”.

    • JuneFirst September 17, 2014, 8:20 pm

      Two hours for gift opening?! Too many guests.

    • cattlekid September 17, 2014, 8:57 pm

      Showers in my husband’s family are so large that an entire afternoon has to be dedicated to them. You have to be there by noon and I guarantee you won’t be home before 4 or 5:00 PM, especially if travel time is involved.

  • Christina September 17, 2014, 9:19 am

    Yes, this is going too far. I would decline the invite. All the is going to do is make all of your guests gather around the gift table and awkwardly peer into every gift. Meaning time will still be wasted, but in a much less fun way.

    On another note, I have two baby showers this month. Both requested a book instead of a card, with that other cutesy poem. I don’t like that idea, either. First of all, cards and books are not interchangeable. Books are much more costly. Of course kids should have books, but why on earth would you have your guests write in them? It ruins them! No one keeps them forever. They either get passed down, donated, or sold. If you want books as gifts, then request them. But not as a card.

    • B September 18, 2014, 4:33 pm

      “No one keeps them forever.”

      Speak for yourself.

      I don’t consider a book with someone’s inscription to me in it to be ruined either.

  • Raven September 17, 2014, 9:26 am

    Also: Minus 1,000 points for the rhyming.

    • Shyla September 18, 2014, 3:35 am

      And the misplaced comma.

  • lkb September 17, 2014, 9:28 am

    What about those whose gift is a gift card or an envelope with cash or a check? I suppose those should be in cellophane also so we can all see how much was given — NOT!

  • Mags September 17, 2014, 9:37 am

    My first thought was that this was a work shower (“co-worker”) and the organizers want or are instructed to keep the shower short so everyone can get back to work.

    I’m with Joni in that if it was done as an environmental thing, I would be understanding and maybe comply (I don’t do fancy wrapping, but I do wrap in wrapping paper rather than gift bags because I think unwrapping is fun). However, that’s not the case here.

    • Mer September 17, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Actually, this was what I thought too. Many employers might allow 30-60 minutes shower for coworker during workday. But probably not 2-4 hours.

    • Cat September 17, 2014, 5:05 pm

      My college room-mate always saved the comic section of the newspaper to wrap gifts. Newspapers are recycled and the colored ones make very nice wrapping paper.

  • Lisa September 17, 2014, 9:50 am

    Aside from this request being totally absurd, can anyone explain the reason for the golf clubs logo at the top?

    • A different Tracy September 18, 2014, 8:15 am

      I assume it was the shower theme.

    • Dawn September 18, 2014, 9:08 am

      My question, exactly!

    • Nicole September 18, 2014, 12:26 pm

      Possibly the shower was being held at a golf or country club – if you pay to rent a space, they put your invitations etc. on their stationary as part of the package. I wondered if the ban on wrapping the presents has something to do with the club’s guidelines?

  • B September 17, 2014, 10:04 am

    Orders on what to buy, how to wrap it, how to send it, games involving fake poo, formal sit-down meals where the MTB only visits your table, sickly poems…

    I don’t like baby showers and half these posts show why.

  • Chelle September 17, 2014, 10:06 am

    I attended a shower like this. The purpose of the cellophane was that everyone COULD see the
    Gifts displayed and ooh and ahh without taking up time. Great, in theort. (It wasn’t about the mom’s preference or environmental friendliness or convenience. I truly don’t think the intent is gift-grabby.) However, as many PPs mentioned, the fun of it is in passing around the soft cuddly gifts and watching mom-to-be’s excitement as she opened each little thing. Plus, as a gift-giver, I LIKE choosing cute paper and ribbons and wrapping gifts. And I like watching people unwrap my gift.

    • kit September 17, 2014, 2:04 pm

      But some have also mentioned how difficult it is for them to be just exactly as excited as required about everything when they haven’t had time to even understand what it is… and I repeat my earlier question – are those soft cuddly gifts still soft, cuddly and clean after they have been passed around the many guests? Or is that even important, compared to the wish of guests to handle all the stuff?

      I had to open wedding gifts (which happened next morning after our overnight wedding), and although it was long time ago, I do remember how difficult it was to think of what exactly to say and praise and how to do so that my relatively poor student friends whose little not-in-registry-but-coming-from-heart gift was opened after, say, parents’ far more expensive gift wouldn’t feel bad. But I understood people wanted me to open them…

      • Willynilly September 17, 2014, 9:43 pm

        I have never been to a shower where the gifts are actually passed around and handled. Occasionally there are 1 or 2 helpers (usually bridesmaids, or close friends) who assist, one handing the wrapped gift to the GOH, who opens the gifts, holds it up, thanks the giver, and then another friend who takes the gift and puts it off to the side neatly and safely, but beyond those 2 no one other then the GOH handles the gifts.

        • don't blink September 18, 2014, 8:08 am

          Showers are a big thing in my neck of the woods, and gifts are often passed around. As well, it is traditional in my area to have a gift opening party the day after a wedding – a family member usually hosts, and it is for family and close friends to come, socialize, eat and watch the bride and groom open their gifts.

        • A different Tracy September 18, 2014, 8:16 am

          Interesting. At every shower I’ve been to, gifts are passed around.

  • MPW September 17, 2014, 10:35 am

    What if the message had said “In the spirit of environmental responsibility, please ensure that your gift wrap is reused (i.e. newsprint), or is recyclable, or preferably, skip it all together”?

    Would that be micro-management, or would it be a small (but still valuable) gesture for someone who values environmental responsibility…

    • Steve September 17, 2014, 9:38 pm

      Great. Micromanagement plus a lecture.

      • MPW September 19, 2014, 1:27 am

        And it would be the “right” thing to do, even without the lecture. Would you do the opposite out of spite?

        • Steve September 19, 2014, 3:47 pm

          Spite? These assumptions get more interesting every day!

          • MPW September 20, 2014, 7:39 pm

            Then why complain about it being a “lecture”? Numerous people have left comments saying how they would do the exact opposite of what was asked of them. There are all sorts of comments about how asking for a certain of gift wrap, and even the presumption that someone is bringing a gift, is wrong, rude, and and just ill-mannered.

            I wonder how they, and how you react whenever there is some request, warning, or admonition. Suppose your employer puts a sign up in the bathroom – reminding employees to wash their hands after using the toilet. Where food is served, it’s required. Where it isn’t, it’s a good idea – common courtesy, good hygiene, and it is proven to prevent the spread of disease. Is this a “lecture”? Do people get insulted because someone is reminding them to do something so obvious as to wash their hands after using the toilet? Is it rude to ask this? Considering some of the responses here, and the tone of yours, I don’t know what to expect.

            Ever heard the phrase “cut of your nose to spite your face”? People can and will do things to hurt themselves, if they believe it will hurt others more. You know whose really good at that – children.

          • Kimstu September 24, 2014, 9:40 pm

            @MPW: There’s a huge difference between getting a “request, warning or admonition” about workplace behavior from an employer—you know, the person who pays you money for the privilege of getting to tell you what to do—and being told how to choose or prepare gifts for a celebration in one’s social circle.

            It is not intrinsically rude for employers to issue general directives about workplace behavior. It IS intrinsically rude for shower hosts or honorees to try to dictate the terms of the guests’ gift-giving. No matter how well-intentioned or environmentally conscientious they may be, it simply does not justify the rudeness of presuming to explicitly instruct other people whether and/or how to give a gift.

  • Ashley September 17, 2014, 10:55 am

    This wouldn’t go over well in my family at all. For us, half the fun in showers is in the wrapping paper because some of my aunts could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two about wrapping. We recycle and save it too, if a large piece of pretty paper comes off in tact, it gets saved and someone finds a way to use it until it’s gone.

    It COULD come across as an attempt at being green, until you realize that cellophane isn’t any better for the earth than wrapping paper, in fact in a lot of ways wouldn’t it be worse, since it won’t break down as quickly or at all? At least paper can be recycled….But even the unwrapped gifts would still come with packaging, even a 4 pack of pacifiers HAS to come with a whole big piece of cardbord explaining the ergonomic design and how it will improve baby’s sleep habits…(I made those facts up but you know what I mean, everythings gotta have instructions or special features now.)

    And I’m sorry, I hate cutsy poems that are just veiled attempts at preventing people from giving what they want how they want, or making them feel pressured to give more than they wanted to or something.

  • sillyme September 17, 2014, 11:42 am

    This poor woman can’t catch a break! Complaints abound over how social occasions have become gimme parties, and now here someone is trying to take the focus off the presents and put it on the mom-to-be and she’s criticized!

    My first thought when I read this was “hallejuah!” Some financially struggling woman who could only afford a $10 gift is saved the embarassment of having her gift opened immediately after the $150 gift from the affluent relative.

    The presents are displayed for people to peruse, but it doesn’t become a “show” or “competition.” People are given the time to relax, hang out and mingle. People who don’t want to get lured into the psychological trap of comparing their gifts to others can simply avoid it altogether.

    Kudos, in my book.

    • Dominic September 17, 2014, 1:56 pm

      Interesting perspective, but if that were the case, why any gifts at all? And they are clearly expected, with gift tags provided and wrapping instructions.

    • Snarkastic September 17, 2014, 4:27 pm

      I know. I really didn’t think much of this, just that guests would be spared 40 minutes of forced “ooooh, a _________ “. Trust me, that ish is painful.

    • Kimstu September 17, 2014, 7:55 pm

      Nope, nope nope nope. Like it or not, anything called a “shower” by definition and longstanding tradition IS a sort of “gimme party”. And that pleasant custom of having people attend a party for the purpose of fussing over you and giving you presents is accompanied by customary rituals of opening and admiring the presents.

      There is nothing unselfish or gracious about refusing to enact your customary role as appreciative recipient at such a party, while still expecting your guests to fulfill their customary role as generous givers.

  • Calli Arcale September 17, 2014, 12:03 pm

    I’d consider it tacky, but would likely adhere to the request. It would certainly change my opinion of the person, however.

    There are rare times where I think it’s acceptable to make requests pertaining to the presents, but even then you have to be very careful how it’s worded lest you give the impression that the form of the presents is more important than the thoughtful gesture they represent. For instance, if you are using a venue with rules about giftwrap, then it’s necessary to pass them along lest awkwardness result. Or if it’s more of a “being green” sort of thing, and wanting to avoid waste. I mean, asking for no wrapping in the interests of environmentalism is one thing; asking for specific types of wrapping in the interests of sparing the guest of honor the oh-so-difficult chore of opening them, well, that’s another thing altogether. Something like this says they want the gifts passively ogled, but they aren’t going to be spending any individual time with them. After all, it’s not the unwrapping that’s time consuming or arduous. It’s the individual attention.

  • SingActDance September 17, 2014, 12:24 pm

    I personally loathe the “sit in a circle and watch MTB open presents” part of baby showers. This is not very different from the “bridal tea” concept for weddings. I agree, it probably shouldn’t be stated on the invite, but if a MTB doesn’t want to do the structured present-opening and would rather eat and socialize with her friends, what’s wrong with that?

  • Cora September 17, 2014, 12:50 pm

    Oh, for God’s sake. In what universe is it ever acceptable to dictate to your guests? The only exception I can think of is when you put “no gifts, please,” on an invitation — and that’s up for debate, I know — but then if a guest does, you’re gracious and pleased and write a thank-you without getting in a snit. If a guest wants to bring a gift, they can; if they don’t want to bring a gift, they don’t have to. But to stipulate how gifts must be wrapped? Blerf.

  • RUsmiles September 17, 2014, 1:45 pm

    We don’t know that this is the MTB’s idea, since she is probably not throwing her own shower. There were plenty of things about both my wedding shower and baby shower that made me cringe, but obviously I was not the host.

    Also, I would have loved this idea. My showers were large (60+ women) because my husband and I come from large families. I had to excuse myself halfway through opening gifts because I was overwhelmed. Plus, it soon became obvious that some of the Aunts were using their gifts as a way of trying to show each other up. If anyone had the nerve to say (or imply) that I was not appreciative enough of the wrapping paper they used, I would have thanked them for coming and handed them back their gift. Since when is gift giving about focusing in the giver’s wants?

    How about people just attend a shower if they want to help the guest of honor celebrate or politely decline if they can’t go through one day without having to be the most important person in the room?

    • Faye September 18, 2014, 8:36 am

      The givers are not expecting to be the most important person in the room. They just do not want to be told how to wrap their presents. Of course, if the incorrect wrapping paper or the chore of opening presents is too much for the GOH, they can decline to have a shower.

  • tessa September 17, 2014, 1:45 pm

    I’m getting ready to co-host a baby shower and I personally don’t care how or if they wrap their gift. I’m just hoping they show up, enjoy the conversation and have a good time. No diaper surprise games for us. 🙂

    • Jaxsue September 18, 2014, 11:44 am

      Thank you (for not doing the diaper game)! And, if an attendee chooses not to play a game, please don’t give them grief (not saying you will). I attended a baby shower for a nephew’s wife several years ago, and the party planner had about 100 games planned. Ugh. I said “No, thanks,” to taking a clothes pin; the idea was that if someone caught you saying, “baby,” they’d take it. It’s a baby shower…duh! The hostess was not happy with me. That was my only offense. 😛

  • BH September 17, 2014, 1:57 pm

    Minus the Cellophane I think I’m in the minority that this is a good idea. I come from a large family, (my mother one of 19 / my father one of 13) not to mention my husband’s family, we cannot do small anything let alone a shower. My husband’s cousin had her shower like this. My MIL complained the whole time that when we eventually have kids I cannot request this. It’s environmentally friendly and I’d rather spend time with my family than being the center of attention.

    • Kimstu September 18, 2014, 8:38 pm

      Then don’t have a shower. Simple as that. A shower is traditionally all about making the guest of honor the center of attention.

      You can have any other kind of party you like instead of a shower. But if you insist on calling it a “shower” for the sake of having the guests bring you customary gifts, but refuse to go through the customary shower rituals of opening and admiring the gifts, that’s rude.

      How would you feel if all your shower guests greeted you with “Hi, we didn’t get you any gifts because the whole shower gift-giving thing is boring and inconvenient and expensive. But we came anyway because we like the socializing and refreshments part.” ?

      Doesn’t seem like such a “good idea” when the people in the giver role rather than the recipient role decide to selectively rewrite etiquette traditions to suit their own preferences, does it?

  • BH September 17, 2014, 2:02 pm

    I should have added “Request but not demand that they need not wrap a gift if they so choose to bring one” Yes asking not to wrap a gift makes the assumption one is being brought in the first place and I’m not a gimme pigs.
    My family also has issues when I leave off where a person is registered from a shower invite. To each their own thought right?

  • Puzzled September 17, 2014, 2:10 pm

    I had a lovely bridal and wedding shower, both attended by many friends and family. I can tell you right now that any of these people would have been happy to string someone up over this ridiculous issue. You sit, you unwrap presents, you oooh and ahhh no matter what your opinion of the gift is. Period. That’s a shower. Period. You don’t tell people what gift to buy or how to wrap it. Oh, and you better write a “Thank You” note that mentions the gift specifically within a month of a wedding and 2 weeks for a baby shower. This format: Thank you for the gift. This is what I will use it for. Thank you again for the gift and your thoughtfulness in taking the time to attend the party. Breaking with tradition is one thing, but yeah, this is just another form of greed.

  • JWH September 17, 2014, 2:11 pm

    It’s also really bad poetry.

  • Debbie September 17, 2014, 2:17 pm

    Does anyone remember the scene from the movie “Cousins” starring Ted Danson, where at one wedding, an elderly relation gets so offended at something that she snatches her present off the gift table and leaves? I know we’re talking baby shower but that scene always cracked me up.

    • cattlekid September 17, 2014, 8:55 pm

      I was almost in that situation once but dropping my gift and fleeing instead of taking it back.

      I had gone to a bridal shower where of the over 200 guests, the only individuals I knew were at the head table and reserved table. Most of the other guests did not know me and there was a cultural difference as well. So I walked around from table to table like a high school cafeteria, trying to find a place to sit, only to be told “sorry, all full” over and over. A kind group at one table must have seen that I was about to burst into tears and flee the scene so they took pity on me and let me sit at their table. We had a fine afternoon even though I didn’t know those women before and have yet to ever see them again.

      Just to make my tale of woe a little more germane, in this situation, we did at least get to see the bride acknowledge our gifts, even though the bridesmaids did all the opening and recording.

      And to those who ask how cash/gift cards/gift certificates are handled, in this situation, those gifts were recorded as well and a list of names was read out (amounts were not disclosed.)

  • JackieJormpJomp September 17, 2014, 2:57 pm

    I think this was just a way to tell people without telling them to they are expected to bring gifts.

  • Gabriele September 17, 2014, 3:10 pm

    “Cellophane” as a noun can refer to a transparent film which can be made outof cellulose (the original cellophane) or plastic. The plastic version is, of course, not biodegradable or recyclable for the most part. The cellulose one is, but some of the chemicals used in manufacturing it aren’t the best…
    I’ve known so many people who reuse the paper wrappings…and bows…

    My first thought in reading the shower request was that the giftee did plan on returning the gifts and didn’t want them soiled by people handling them…

  • Marozia September 17, 2014, 3:25 pm

    My gift would come in the mail, expertly wrapped in non-transparent gift paper with the card which will say, “Unable to attend due to prior committment”.

  • Calibrate September 17, 2014, 3:29 pm

    I haven’t been to a baby shower since the ’80’s and remember the trend then was to wrap the gift in something useful like receiving blankets or diapers. Who knew we were being eco-friendly before it was even in vogue!

  • Ellen CA September 17, 2014, 4:17 pm

    Not to defend the practice, but since she did mention co-worker, perhaps this was a quick shower that was meant to fit into an office lunch hour? If that were the case, there might not be time to eat, socialize and open all the presents.