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baby shower hostess gift etiquette

Hostess Gifts for Baby Showers?

By Amalah


I have two baby showers this weekend, and another in two weeks. I am just curious about protocol for hostess gifts. Between the showers there are ten women hosting, ranging from my MIL to friends to my mom’s friends to aunts. Is it expected to give them a gift at the shower? And if so, what is a typical gift? Thanks in advance for any help!


You are not, according to the black-and-white technical etiquette for baby showers, required or expected to give hostess gifts for baby showers. Usually a nice handwritten thank-you note after the fact will suffice. This is obviously true for surprise showers, and also for showers with a high number of hosts, like yours.

HOWEVER, that’s not to say that hostess gifts would be gauche or out-of-place. Even if your shower hostesses aren’t expecting you to arrive bearing some small gift as a thank-you for all the work they’ve done, I can guarantee that the gesture will be super-appreciated.

For a shower at someone’s home, with a single host, bringing some flowers (already in a vase w/ water, preferably, so not to create an extra job for her) or a plant would be nice (barring allergies, of course). Or a bottle of wine for her to enjoy post-party. But if the shower is say, at a restaurant or multiple women were involved in the planning, you basically want to think small and compact and easy for everybody to carry home. You don’t want your gift to be some awkward pain in the butt to find a spot during the shower for and lug home. (Particularly if they will be carrying other things from the shower home, like decorations, games, leftover food, folding chairs, etc.) I’d stick to things that can either be put directly in a purse or given in a gift bag that the recipient can hang on her wrist while carrying other stuff back to her car.

Think typical hostess gifts: a small box of nice chocolates, homemade baked goods, coffee and/or coffee gift cards, stationary, candles, a little grab bag filled with travel size lotions, mani/pedi supplies, etc. With 10 different hostesses — some of whom I assume you might not know that well — feel free to keep it very small and inexpensive. No need to go all nuts with personalized jewelry or giant gift baskets. If the shower has been planned by multiple people but is taking place at one of their homes, I’d probably toss in a little something extra for that hostess. (Like everybody gets a box of truffles, but she gets a bonus Starbucks gift card, or something.)

Of course, everybody does have opinions about what constitutes the “best” hostess gift — some people think scented candles are awesome, others find them to be annoying clutter; some people prefer tea over coffee. Some people are super particular about beauty products and I GUESS there are even folks who don’t like chocolates. Some of us (cough) just want wine, delicious one-size-fits-all wine. But don’t get worked up with the overthinking. It’s really up to you how much you care to personalize each gift, because again, this is not a required part of baby showers. It’s just really nice, and I’m sure your hostesses will simply appreciate the gesture, even if the actual gift falls short of EVERYBODY GETS A NEW CAR!!!!1!1!! level exciting.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


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About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


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

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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