Mama Blessing/Baby Shower Etiquette - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-15-2011, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's still early for this, I know, but my auntie is in full-fledged planning for the party she wants to throw. We're going to have a slumber party! Fun fun fun.

 

So. I don't really shop at stores, and I'm not going to register at any of them, since I'll never use that stuff. I'm very minimalist when it comes to stuff and baby, so I don't want gobs and gobs of stuff I'll never use. Plus we're moving cross-country in April, so keeping it simple is important. I'm also making most of baby's clothes and diapers, and I have some specific ideas of the kinds of things we keep around (natural fiber clothing, no plastic, etc).

 

Originally, I thought just to say "no gifts please" for a mama blessing party, but it's seeming like people really want a chance to give gifts, and they want to give things we will actually use.

 

So here's the question: how can we communicate our preferences to the guests? Is it inappropriate to include a note in the invitation that outlines "Please not these things" and "Please these things"? Basically it would be the same as having a registry, just right there in the invitation.

This is really just family, so I'm not too worried about offending, but still...

 

Thoughts?


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Old 07-15-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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 Is it inappropriate to include a note in the invitation that outlines "Please not these things" and "Please these things"? Basically it would be the same as having a registry, just right there in the invitation.

 

Actually, yeah... Kind of is.  Sorry.

 

I'd just make some sort of online wishlist that you could verbally direct people to if they ask.  :)

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Old 07-15-2011, 05:32 PM
 
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eeek.  No, I would definitely not do that even with family.  I agree that the wish list sounds like a good idea.  You can always sell things if you get them and don't want to use them.  I don't see any problem with the "no gifts" thing either. 

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Old 07-15-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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I'm a huge fan of pinterest, if most of your guests use the internet, you can always post a facebook link or such to direct people towards your "wishes". We've got a partial registry set up for family that want to stop dropping things by: http://pinterest.com/jenineb/monster-s-registry/  I like it because you can pin it from anywhere-- so for example if you find a photo shoot with some great natural wooden toys, you can pin them to give people an idea of what you're wanting. And because it's a "pinboard" it doesn't come across as "buy me this", unless of course, you're super upfront like me and put registry in the title. LOL

 

Secondly, I think if you wrote up an insert with a nice note/poem about loving natural things for natural babies (probably something mushy about wanting pure and natural things for your most pure and natural blessing) then I don't see anything wrong with it.  I know it steps on etiquette toes a bit, but I'm also the type of person who when I go to buy a gift, I don't want to buy 'anything'-- I want to buy exactly what the person wants. I -hate- coming home from a party and realizing that I got a gift that didn't go over well. why is it a bad thing to spare people that?


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Old 07-15-2011, 05:56 PM
 
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Yeah, Dear Abby says "no way" on specifying gifts in invitations.  :)

 

If you don't include a registry, people will probably ask you or your aunt and you can let them know your preferences then.

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Old 07-16-2011, 04:52 PM
 
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I find it pretty offensive...I would be really stressed, even if you were family..just my honest opinion...I do like the idea of one of those make your own online gift registries - I think some you can even put the website of what you want (I made one for DS2 and it had cloth diapers and stuff in it)....and then you could tell people if they ask where you are registered

 

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Old 07-17-2011, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your replies everyone.

 

Lots of these people aren't very computer savy, and doing anything online isn't really an option.

 

What I'm wondering is...how is it any different to say "go to my registry, this is what I want" than to just nicely tell people? Why does the extra step involved make it polite while the other is rude?

 

Think I've decided just to say no gifts, given any other option won't really work out, so I guess I'm really just asking for the sake of the thought now.


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Old 07-17-2011, 05:17 AM
 
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What I'm wondering is...how is it any different to say "go to my registry, this is what I want" than to just nicely tell people? Why does the extra step involved make it polite while the other is rude?

 

well, you mentioned telling people in the invitation what you didn't want.  That comes across as very rude - Really, you get what you get - If someone wants to give you a fire engine red, blinking, noisy, dancing baby disco ball, you open it and then thank them.   

 

Also -Spelling it out in an invitation makes it seem like guests are obligated to bring a gift - sure, most will anyway, but to make it part of the invitation makes it seem mandatory and it looses some of the gift-giving charm for the giver.

 

 

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Old 07-17-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nigellas View Post

 

 

 

well, you mentioned telling people in the invitation what you didn't want.  That comes across as very rude - Really, you get what you get - If someone wants to give you a fire engine red, blinking, noisy, dancing baby disco ball, you open it and then thank them.   

 

Also -Spelling it out in an invitation makes it seem like guests are obligated to bring a gift - sure, most will anyway, but to make it part of the invitation makes it seem mandatory and it looses some of the gift-giving charm for the giver.

 

 


Yes, this. Exactly this.  If I got an invite to a shower that spelled it out like that, I would make up an excuse not to go and I probably wouldn't send a gift either.  I would just find it so incredibly presumptuous and rude.  If people asked, I also wouldn't list out what I didn't want but might make it more obvious like "we'd love to do as many natural toys as possible."  Reminds me of something our 4 year old neighbor told another neighbor kid at her birthday "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  Sounded like pretty good advice to me ;).
 

 

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Old 07-17-2011, 02:19 PM
 
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So I had the same sort of issue, because I've done the whole red blinking fire engine thing, and as I've gotten older I've come to really appreciate natural, old timey sort of items. I'm doing a pinterest list.. and then my friend who is throwing the party (which I didn't except to even have a shower, since it's my third, but she's insisting ;) is just going to include that in the invite. My theory is that even if they don't buy something off my 'list' they will be in the mindset of the stuff I post on pinterest.. so maybe they will think along side my style.

 


But I also am willing to sell, donate, whatever the stuff that doesn't fit my ideals.


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Old 07-17-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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I just got an invite to a friend's baby shower that said "Gifts are not necessary but if you would really like to bring something ____ and ____ would love children's books"  The shower is nursery rhyme theme too.


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Old 07-17-2011, 04:25 PM
 
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Hmmmmmm. Sounds like the wedding registry all over again. DH did not want gifts, he just wanted people to come and join in our happiness. That did not sit well with family. They really insisted on us having a registry. I could not care one way or the other, but the thought of receiving two of the same items and having the hassle of returning, selling, or straightening things out did not appeal to me. We finally went with a registry full of stuff we needed and would end up buying ourselves anyway. We'll probably end up doing the same thing for the baby shower. 

 

It is not rude to ask for what you specifically want and need. (Do you really want to end up with 3 months worth of disposable plastic newborn diapers?)  Asking others to buy what you wouldn't even spend money on yourself is just down right inconsiderate. If you are considering the act of gift giving from the givers point of view as well as from your own, then there is nothing rude in spelling out your needs and wants. Thomlynn's friends put it nicely, "Gifts are not necessary, but.."

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Old 07-17-2011, 05:53 PM
 
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I second the book idea.  A friend of mine asked for no gifts at her shower, unless everyone wanted to bring a children's book that was a favourite of theirs when they were young, or one of their child's.  It didn't seem rude, and people really got into it, writing little personal inscriptions and the like.

At my own shower, we had a raffle with a "baby pool".  All of the money went to a fabulous prenatal/low-income charity that helps out new moms who are struggling with homelessness and poverty.  AND when we went to drop off the cash donation...we included all of the plastic toys, duplicate gifts, and other items that were just not needed.  That way I didn't feel guilty because everyone benefited.

 

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Old 07-17-2011, 09:55 PM
 
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People are going to give gifts.  People LOVE buying gifts for babies and new mamas.  And most people will be fabulous and ask you what you need or buy off of a registry if you give them that option.  

 

And of course, there will be that one obnoxious person who will give you the brightest, most obnoxious blinking thing you have ever seen.  Expect it and just laugh.  My Aunt V is the Queen of Big Plastic Toys.  She knows I hate them and she gives them anyway.  It is her way.  I simply say 'thanks' and send it off to the charity shop.  

 

So, I would word it nicely -- "Gifts are not necessary.  If you would like to give a gift, we are registered at...".  And that will take care of 90% of the gifts.  And the other 10%, just let it go.  Some folks cannot control themselves around a hunk of flashing plastic.  No one says you have to keep it.  And that just might be the box that gets 'lost' during your upcoming move.  winky.gif

 

 

You don't have to register at a big box store.  There are loads of eco-frinedly, online registries.  I googled 'natural baby registry' and came up with a bunch. 

 

 

http://www.naturallytrendy.com/

 

http://www.mommasbaby.com/

 

http://www.ourgreenhouse.com/

 

http://www.thenaturalbaby.com/shop/pc/home.asp

 

 

 


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Old 07-18-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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I see no problem saying no gifts please.  If people want to give you something then they'll probably ask you what you want.  Even if you don't want stuff they can maybe help with buying materials for you to make things with.  If you get gifts anyway that you don't want you might be able to bring them back and if not you could always donate them if you don't want it.  I would just say we are having a mama blessing party and gifts are not necessary.  Since you won't be saying where you're registered people may ask and then you can say we're not registered anywhere, but if you really want to give a gift then you can...    


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Old 07-30-2011, 10:27 PM
 
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Like the OP, I really do not understand why it's "appropriate" to include a registry card for Babies'R'Us but "inappropriate" to include a similarly-sized card specifying "Gifts are not necessary, but if you wish to bring something, X and Y would cherish homemade, organic, or natural gifts to care for the baby."

 

If your platform is that it's inappropriate to include any sort of wish list information at ALL, registry or otherwise, that's fine. Those guests will probably ask the shower-thrower for registry information, and you can simply instruct the shower-thrower to direct guests to your registry/pinterest/verbal guidance on preferred materials/items.

 

As for your invites - it really depends on your family. If I didn't include registry information, my family would assume I'd forgotten to do so, because of course they want to buy me gifts where do I want them to shop and what do I need and what if it doesn't fit the nursery theme?? ....not that I am, in ANY way, a picky gift-receiver. Frankly I'd rather just not get gifts, I am sincerely uncomfortable with the idea of a party in which I am the center of attention and everybody stares at me while I open presents. I'd rather pass. >.> But I learned from the wedding experience that they REALLY WANT TO BUY STUFF, and if I don't tell them what to buy they will just probe me with questions and make the whole experience even MORE uncomfortable, LOL. With that in mind, -I'll be making a registry, so that information can go out in the baby shower invites. But that's MY family... you'd have to be the judge of what works for yours. =)


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Old 08-01-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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It is also inappropriate to include a registry card, sorry. Just because many people do it these days because Babies R Us encourage rudeness because it benefits their bottom line doesn't make it not rude. The message communicated is "here is what i expect you to buy me." NOT including registry cards, but having a registry in case someone asks, the message communicated is "we appreciate that you want to buy us things we need. to make that easier for you, you can find a list of ideas here."

You could tell your aunt what you do and do not want and she could pass that information along to those who ask (but not everyone will ask). But if you're really worried about it and have a phobia of returning unwanted things to the store, then the idea of a theme party is a really good one. "If you wish to bring a gift, we're encouraging guests to bring their favorite children's book with a note sharing a special memory involving the book or reading to their own children."

We've tried gently and nicely explaining to family the kinds of things we do and do not want, without coming across as rude (Oh, I saw the most awesome wooden whatever the other day! or Oh, good, my Nova Naturals catalog came today, we find the BEST toys in there.), and we have also hoped they will see by the way we live and the things we buy that we don't want, for example, noisy plastic toys from China, but ultimately, they buy us what they want and we are grateful that they care enough to buy our kids anything at all.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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Here are a few more ideas:

You could plan to turn this into a real blessing to another family by simply gifting (without telling the givers) any gifts you can't personally use (or don't want to use) to a local crisis pregnancy center, homeless shelter, or other charity that helps mothers in crisis.

If you prefer to be more upfront about it, the invitations could specify that, because you are moving shortly after the birth, you prefer that attendees not bring presents for you, but instead bring gifts that will be donated to X charity to help mothers in crisis situations.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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Like the OP, I really do not understand why it's "appropriate" to include a registry card for Babies'R'Us but "inappropriate" to include a similarly-sized card specifying "Gifts are not necessary, but if you wish to bring something, X and Y would cherish homemade, organic, or natural gifts to care for the baby."

I think the most inappropriate thing about it would be the part about outlining what *not* to get.  Personally I am on the fence about whether or not listing the registry to BabiesRUs or elsewhere is okay or not.  Miss Manners says no I am sure, but if someone is throwing me a baby shower and chooses to include it, I think that is sort of okay.  The best way I think to handle things though would be for the person throwing the shower to send the invites without registry info and then provide it if asked.  Showers really aren't supposed to be just about mom getting what she wants to get regardless of what people want to give (although that would be nice!). 

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