Avoiding Overblown baby-showers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope I'm posting this in the right area!

 

I have an absolutely huge extended family. They're al getting together to throw me a big baby-shower in a month, and I'm really grateful for all the love and support they're showing. The trouble is, my husband and I live in a yurt. We don't want or need a lot of things and we have some standards as far as avoiding most "made in China" things and trying stick to mostly natural, simple things. My relatives do not have the same priorities, and for the most part they've been very understanding, but we're now getting tons of pressure to register for more and more things, at big "box" stores near them. I've tried explaining that we have no storage space and very little living space, but it doesn't seem to be making an impact.

 

Any advice on how to guide them away from over-buying, without seeming rude or ungrateful. We've already tried making a private "wish-list" of small things we like that are avaliable online, but that has been met with resistence.

 

blessings to all of you and your babies!

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#2 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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This is a great question.  I just thought I would share what we are using for our registry.

 

http://www.myregistry.com/

 

It allows you to have a "real" registry, but you can add items from anywhere online, even from places like Etsy or other small online shops.  Maybe this would allow you to mix things that you would like from online, and also add a few things from local stores...as you wish, of course!  My shower is not for a couple of months yet, so I don't really know how likely people are to order online...I hope they will though, as that is how I am hoping to build my cloth diaper stash!

 

Best wishes.

 

 


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#3 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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Try to register only at places that people will actually shop - just pick small items that you might actually find useful.

I know this sounds like a total pain, but I really believe that the very best thing to do is to graciously show up to the shower, unwrap the many, many presents that you will never even consider using, smile a lot, say thank you, and then return everything you possibly can for store credit or cash. Maybe ask a nearby relative to store the items at their house until you have a chance to go through everything - I can't imagine stuffing tons of baby baggage into a yurt!!

People celebrate because it makes them feel good to be a part of your journey. I realize they may buy things at Babies R Us and stores like that which you don't really go to, but surprisingly, (especially online) they are becoming more natural-mama friendly. I am sure you could find some things that might come in handy as the baby grows.


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#4 of 21 Old 04-07-2011, 12:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post

Try to register only at places that people will actually shop - just pick small items that you might actually find useful.

I know this sounds like a total pain, but I really believe that the very best thing to do is to graciously show up to the shower, unwrap the many, many presents that you will never even consider using, smile a lot, say thank you, and then return everything you possibly can for store credit or cash. Maybe ask a nearby relative to store the items at their house until you have a chance to go through everything - I can't imagine stuffing tons of baby baggage into a yurt!!

People celebrate because it makes them feel good to be a part of your journey. I realize they may buy things at Babies R Us and stores like that which you don't really go to, but surprisingly, (especially online) they are becoming more natural-mama friendly. I am sure you could find some things that might come in handy as the baby grows.
 


ITA, return for store credit. Use it towards a carseat or bibs, whatever. I don't use much of BRU type stuff, but I have found a few useful things there and more online.


Annabelle Catholic wife to Jeff '92 and mom to Makaley 19 Arden 19 Anniston 17 Taegan 14 Balen 12 Kellen 10 Ellery 8 Innish 6 Eiley 4 Finnian 3 Esca 2 our 8th uc.jpghomeschool.gifwaterbirth.jpgIHhbac.gifbftoddler.gifvbac.gifand expecting sweet pea January 2014.

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#5 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 05:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracymom1 View Post

Try to register only at places that people will actually shop - just pick small items that you might actually find useful.

I know this sounds like a total pain, but I really believe that the very best thing to do is to graciously show up to the shower, unwrap the many, many presents that you will never even consider using, smile a lot, say thank you, and then return everything you possibly can for store credit or cash. Maybe ask a nearby relative to store the items at their house until you have a chance to go through everything - I can't imagine stuffing tons of baby baggage into a yurt!!

People celebrate because it makes them feel good to be a part of your journey. I realize they may buy things at Babies R Us and stores like that which you don't really go to, but surprisingly, (especially online) they are becoming more natural-mama friendly. I am sure you could find some things that might come in handy as the baby grows.
 


we did the register for more then we need and returned most of the stuff to target (where we registered for the people who needed a big box type store to shop at) and bought our slr camera with the money. we wouldn't have been able to afford it otherwise and we would never have been able to use everything. things that i couldn't figure out where to return i donated to a local woman shelter for homeless mothers. 

 

btw i love that you live in a yurt!

 


Angel (30), dh (31) (kd to H. 4/25/07 & K. 5/23/11), Vladimir 10/17/09 & Nikolai 7/6/11

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#6 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 07:02 AM
 
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If your family would go for it, you could also register for non-stuff items. Like meals, cleaning duties, massage, etc. It might be a way for them to still participate without getting buried in stuff, and could create for a nice relaxing babymoon :-)

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#7 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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I would be tempted to try to get out of the shower altogether if I were you.

 

Short of that, yes, I'd expect to smile and be gracious, and either return or donate items.

 

But honestly, I think even then I'd really want to just cancel the shower or turn it into something else, something giftless (like a meet-the-baby party after the baby arrives). Because it seems so twisted that 1) you are expected to provide a registry at big box stores though they probably have little if anything that you want, rather than provide a list of what you really want and 2) despite all the etiquette rules saying that a gift is yours to dispose of however you like, I'm guessing some family members will be miffed if they never see their Disney onsies on your little one, or that the huge plastic toy you bought is never seen again. I mean, in your yurt, you can't even claim "oh, it's upstairs" or in the closet or whatever.

 

Then again, do people visit you in your home? If not, then I guess they won't ever know that their stuff was all returned or donated, right?

 

What a farce, though. What an annoying farce this all is. Just because some people enjoy wasting their money on junk you don't want or need, apparently the burden is on you to just take it and deal with it. And noooo, it would be just too rude for you to try to get in the way of their pleasure in buying a bunch of junk.


Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#8 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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I did http://www.alternativegiftregistry.org/  You basically list what you want, with links if you like. I think there was something with Target where you couldn't return stuff that was checked in on your registry. I'd look for someplace with a lax return policy. Maybe see if people would all go in on something big, like a car seat or a camcorder.


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#9 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 11:07 AM
 
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If your family would go for it, you could also register for non-stuff items. Like meals, cleaning duties, massage, etc. It might be a way for them to still participate without getting buried in stuff, and could create for a nice relaxing babymoon :-)

That sounds like a really great idea!  If family is close, that is... otherwise it probably wouldn't work so well.  winky.gif

 

I'm going through something similar in terms of trying to get people to limit the present-buying.  First, we live several states away from our families, so we're flying to them for a family pseudo-shower.  Then, about a month after LO is due we're moving out of state.  Since anything we get will have to be brought back on an airplane and then packed and shipped to our new home, toys and stuff would just add to the burden of such a big move.  I've mentioned several times that the party is really just to see fam and eat cake, and we don't want toys or lots of clothes, etc.  I'm trying really hard not to sound ungrateful, because I really do appreciate that they want to give us presents, but sometimes giving stuff is not the best way to help someone out.  As a compromise I created an amazon registry, and just put a bunch of extra cloth diapers and swaddling blankets and other multi-purpose items on there.

 

Another alternative would be to ask for gift cards.  Not to BRU, because I think they are truly evil, but gift cards to grocery stores, or even amazon would come in handy AND keep the clutter down.  Plus you could make sure to say "we used your gift card to buy [whatever]" in the thank you note, so they still feel like they were helpful. 

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#10 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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Aww man, you have a yurt?! I've been trying to persuade DH for years to let us live in a yurt.

 

Apparently I'm having a baby shower too, this time. I didn't have one with DD - people gave us plenty of stuff and we had lots of visits, but nobody organised an official shower - and I think a few of my female relatives feel vaguely guilty about that. :p Honestly, we could use a bit of stuff... my gender-neutral baby clothes have scattered to the four winds since I had DD, and this baby's a boy, so we're a bit light on clothes. I'm sewing as frantically as I can, but I could really do with a dozen onesies and some little woollen undervest things. So in that regard a shower would be welcome. Plus, DH's grandmother is visiting and would like to be here for the shower, and I found an awesome baking blog and now have all these ideas for making my own baby shower cake! :p

 

But... yeah. I have a Thing about sweatshop stuff and MIC stuff, and it makes me uncomfortable to think of family and friends buying that for me. We don't tend to register for showers here; no doubt Mum will ask what I particularly need and will pass it along if anybody asks, but I can't really expect her to relay "Nothing made in sweatshops or China", you know? Not everyone can afford to buy me organic NZ merino baby vests, nor are all my friends into crafts; and obviously they don't have to buy me anything at all, but people will probably feel like they should. (I know I'd feel icky about turning up to a baby shower empty-handed!) So... mm. It's a pain. My consolation is that the people I'm inviting will probably buy us stuff with or without the shower, so it's not like I'll be "causing" extra gifts....

 

I have insisted to Mum that we don't play any baby shower games, though. :p I'm SO not into sniffing melted chocolate bars in sposies, or having people guess the circumference of my third-trimester waist. Mum assures me it will be civilised....


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#11 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 02:57 PM
 
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I have insisted to Mum that we don't play any baby shower games, though. :p I'm SO not into sniffing melted chocolate bars in sposies, or having people guess the circumference of my third-trimester waist. Mum assures me it will be civilised....


I like baby showers that don't have all the games. It's way more fun if people just hang out and chat and eat. I particularly despise that toilet paper guessing game. It's awful! I had a small shower at a restaurant on campus with some of my school friends and another friend is planning me another shower. I did register at Target because they have stuff that I'll actually use. I tend to be more mainstream than others about products. :)  I did tell everyone that I'm cloth diapering so that I don't get a million boxes of diapers from people. If I do, I guess I'll just return them.

 

I really like the idea of registering for non-items like massages, meals, and cleaning.

 


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#12 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 04:32 PM
 
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Lots of great ideas here! 

 

My SIL is insisting on a shower. This is our one millionth baby and we don't need anything but a carseat, perhaps a couple hats, gowns and birth supplies. Oh and maybe a new Beco since we still have a toddler. Anything else would be wasteful and we wouldn't use it. 


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#13 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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kawa kumuri: Could you campaign for a themed shower, like a children's-books shower? I always liked the idea of that, although we do actually need clothes this time so I'm not asking for one!

 

My least favourite baby gifts are plushies. DD never really played with soft toys, and we got SO MANY, including really junky ones. I guess they're an easy, meaningless present for people to pick up on the way to the birth centre, but eugh. "I know what this newborn really needs! A day-go pink teddy bear made of smelly plasticky fur made in China! Her parents will love to display it in their lovingly-decorated nursery!"

 

OK, now I'm officially bitter and nasty. :p


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#14 of 21 Old 04-08-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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My least favourite baby gifts are plushies. DD never really played with soft toys, and we got SO MANY, including really junky ones. I guess they're an easy, meaningless present for people to pick up on the way to the birth centre, but eugh. "I know what this newborn really needs! A day-go pink teddy bear made of smelly plasticky fur made in China! Her parents will love to display it in their lovingly-decorated nursery!"

 

My sister had a baby last year, and for his first visit her bf's dad showed up with this polyester stuffed bear he bought at the hospital gift shop on the way in.  Yay?  I kept looking at it and thinking, you know she's not gonna be playing with toys any time soon, right?  What's the point?

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#15 of 21 Old 04-09-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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I hear you on the stuffies! (That's what we call the stuffed animals) My kids have a ton of them, my daughter actually has a huge section of her closet closed off with a baby gate screwed into the wall to hold them all. It's beyond ridiculous. One or two are fine, especially from special people. I still have the teddy bear that I got for my first Christmas, her name is Nancy and she'll be 32 this winter! So far we haven't received any stuffed animals and I'm really hoping that we don't get too many. I did register for one stuffed giraffe because it is totally adorable. So maybe that will help limit the stuffies.

 

I think it would be really cool to live in a yurt! We've camped in them several times and I love them. I'm kind of a stuff sort of person, unfortunately, so I don't think a yurt would work well for me. :)


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#16 of 21 Old 04-09-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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I also hate getting 500 blankets, I only need a few.


Annabelle Catholic wife to Jeff '92 and mom to Makaley 19 Arden 19 Anniston 17 Taegan 14 Balen 12 Kellen 10 Ellery 8 Innish 6 Eiley 4 Finnian 3 Esca 2 our 8th uc.jpghomeschool.gifwaterbirth.jpgIHhbac.gifbftoddler.gifvbac.gifand expecting sweet pea January 2014.

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#17 of 21 Old 04-10-2011, 11:51 AM
 
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My shower is in 2 weeks and I registered at Amazon because I tried all the big box stores locally and their organic clothing selection was ZERO, and everything else is plastic awfulness for the most part. I was kind of shocked at how little there was for anyone remotely green minded, or in my case, chemically sensitive. I didn't send out the invites and they are long since sent so it seems too late for some sort of note saying we prefer green gifts or something like that. Plus, I sort of hate the idea of putting rules on gifts from people.

No one has purchased anything off the registry yet so I'm anticipating lots of stuff I don't want or won't use. I'm not a Showerzilla or anything and I'm perfectly happy to smile, thank people, and donate/return the stuff. I'd be perfectly thrilled if I didn't get anything and just had an excuse to celebrate my LOs impending arrival with family and friends! I'm hoping if my hunch is correct they just give me tons of disposable diapers, since I won't use them but no one will really expect pix of my LO in her gifted diapers. Outfits I flat out KNOW people will want to see pictures of her in them and I am dreading it. greensad.gif

Those of you that did return things, did you experience any of that? How hard is it to return gifts anyway?
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#18 of 21 Old 04-10-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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Those of you that did return things, did you experience any of that? How hard is it to return gifts anyway?


I got gifts from a few people (when my big kids were babies) that I just knew those people would either expect to see the baby in the outfit, with the toy, on the blanket, etc or a picture of it. I'd leave tags on, take the picture with the tags not showing, then return the item. I actually did a couple of photo shoot type things where I would just put different items in the picture and change the baby's clothes and take a bunch of pictures so I could get it over with. Now that everyone I know is on FB, I can snap pictures, post them on FB with a little "Look So and So! Baby loves your gift, thank you so much!" and return it if I totally hate it.

 

As long as the tags are still on and you have a gift receipt, you shouldn't have a hard time returning things. It also works better if you have a whole bunch of stuff that you return all at once, instead of one or two items here and there.

 


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#19 of 21 Old 04-10-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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Sorry for the naive questions, but this is literally the first shower I've ever attended. Most of my friends and family had their babies while I was away in college or are just getting around to it now. Do people commonly leave the tags on and give you receipts? I don't think I've ever gotten a gift with them, but maybe it's different for showers?

Also, I love the photoshoot idea. I am hoping the return policy let's me keep the stuff for longer than 30 days because I will still have at least another 8 weeks post-shower before the birth.
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#20 of 21 Old 04-10-2011, 02:19 PM
 
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Sorry for the naive questions, but this is literally the first shower I've ever attended. Most of my friends and family had their babies while I was away in college or are just getting around to it now. Do people commonly leave the tags on and give you receipts? I don't think I've ever gotten a gift with them, but maybe it's different for showers?

Also, I love the photoshoot idea. I am hoping the return policy let's me keep the stuff for longer than 30 days because I will still have at least another 8 weeks post-shower before the birth.


I always leave the tags on gifts that I give, just in case they need to return it. All of the baby gifts that I received at my shower last week had tags on them. I think most people do leave the tags on because you never know if a momma will get more than one of something and need to return it. I've also never had an issue with a store not accepting returns on baby items after the 30 days are up. Most bigger stores have longer time periods to return things anyway, like 90 days.

 


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#21 of 21 Old 04-11-2011, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Thanks everyone for all the advice! We ended up creating the registry.com registry and that is apparently completely acceptable. (Thank goodness!) We live pretty far from my family, so they couldn't really help out in person much, but they do love throwing big parties. My mom is giving some non-gift suggestions as well now, like museum memberships, so I think they'll suvive, but being able to have the registry.com was a life-saver for us!

 

I'm perfectly happy to smile and graciously accept gifts I'm later going to reject, so long as I haven't registered for them.I felt like registering for a gift I didn't want would be dishonest and unfair to my family, so having the opportunity to find gifts I actually wanted was such a blessing. Thanks again for all the advice and support!

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