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(Baby) Showers with Strangers

What to Do With Pre-Baby-Shower Shower Gifts

By Amalah

Hello Amy,

I’m having a baby shower in a few weeks. One of the hosts suggested that, as gifts arrive to our home, I should open them with my husband, instead of bringing them to the shower.

Incidentally, I received a package today thinking it was something I ordered online, and it was an unwrapped gift from an out-of-town guest who won’t be attending. (I already wrote her a very thoughtful thank you note, and it’s just waiting to be mailed.) What is the classiest way to handle this, along with any other packages that might arrive? Do I open the boxes, and if the gifts are wrapped or unwrapped, bring them to the shower? Do I wrap the unwrapped gifts and bring them to the shower? Also, if a guest is out-of-town and not coming to the shower, should I proceed the same way?

It’s not a huge shower — I’m only expecting about 15-20 people, including the hostesses.

Thank you for your advice in advance!

Sincerely,

D

Follow your host’s suggestion of opening the gifts at home, with your husband. Write and send the gift-givers thoughtful thank-you notes, then leave the gifts at home on shower day.

The idea of someone shipping a gift directly to your house only to expect you (the pregnant lady and guest of honor) to shlep a bunch of packages to your own shower seems silly. That would never occur to me as a guest, because my aim is to make your feel loved and cared for while making your life and day as easy as possible. And bringing gifts (or wrapping unwrapped gifts you’ve already opened) from people who won’t even be attending is even more unnecessary.

If I were a guest who was able to attend your shower, I would almost 100% bring my gift with me, unless explicitly directed to do otherwise by the shower host. (Of if YOU were traveling from out of town and didn’t have a good/easy way to transport gifts back with you.) If your guests are being instructed to ship gifts directly regardless of attendance, that suggests that your hosts simply have enough planned for the shower agenda and aim to skip the gift-opening-parade altogether. (Which…not a bad idea. Sometimes it’s fun but other times it just goes on too long, or can bring up weird feelings of embarrassment if someone can’t splurge on something big or goes wildly off-registry, etc.) Having guests ship gifts directly also makes your departure at the end of the shower easier, since some baby gear can be really big and bulky and it’s a pain in the butt to drag it out to the car and then into your house.

If I were unable to attend your shower but still wanted to send a gift, I would personally expect you to handle it exactly like you’ve done so far: Open it at home, let me know you got it via a thank-you note, and then…go enjoy your shower without lugging my gift with you.

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Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

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  • Dana

    If you want to recognize the early gifts received at the shower, you could print a picture of the item with the gift-giver’s name on a piece of paper or card stock and place them on the gift table/near the gift area. That was my (hostess) aunt’s solution for acknowledging the shower gifts that were shipped directly to my house ahead of time. We registered through Amazon and Target, so any Amazon gifts had to be shipped. Our Target doesn’t carry a huge variety of baby gear in store, so our big items from there had to be shipped as well – so much easier for the giver to send to us than lug to the shower. This allowed everyone to “ooh” and “ahh” over the big gifts without the hassle for the hubs and me to get everything home.