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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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Published January 16, 2012. Last updated March 27, 2018.
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 [email protected].

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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  • Jay

    January 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    As always, this is good advice. I gave different “thank you” gifts to the best friend who hosted a small shower at her home than I did to the six aunts/cousins who hosted a huge shower at the church. Different people; different interests. When I’ve hosted showers, both bridal and baby, I’ve received everything from a simple thank you note to a gift basket with body lotion and –my favorite– a cute umbrella. Love the umbrella because I’m always losing them, I live in a rainy climate, and it’s a “shower”–haha, get it? 🙂 These people love you and know you have a million things on your mind to get ready for a new baby, so keeping it simple and within your budget is paramount. Have fun at your showers!

  • Susan

    January 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    I LOVE the idea of giving a cute umbrella as a shower hostess gift – such a cute idea! For my baby showers, I gave the hostesses cute little wooden signs with sayings on them like “It’s a wonderful life”, “Live, Laugh, Love” – they were small and pretty neutral so they would go with most decorating styles. I encouraged them to trade if they liked someone else’s better, and they all left happy and thought they were very nice. I shy away from yet another candle or lotion – just seems wasted by most people. Gift cards to Starbucks or a book store might be well received?

  • Bea

    January 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I recently hosted a baby shower for a friend who gave all the hostesses (three of us) a pretty wine stopper.  I really liked it because it is small, and will be useful!  I imagine they were  not pricey either. 

  • Lesley

    January 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    I recently gave my shower hostesses homemade sugar scrubs. Everyone seemed to really like them. Also, last time around I gave everyone a baked good–I think it was a loaf of lemon cake.

  • Suzy Q

    January 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Wine, umbrellas, and wine stoppers all sound like great gift ideas.  However, I will give you my sympathy for having to attend so many baby showers in so little time.

  • Kim

    January 16, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    When I hosted a baby shower for my best friend, she gave me a Starbucks giftcard and a kitchen timer in the shape of a tea kettle (it was a tea party theme). The kitchen timer is now the time out clock!

  • Julie W

    January 17, 2012 at 8:25 am

    I would like to reiterate that you don’t need to buy anything. A well written thank you letter works just fine. That’s what thank you notes are supposed to do. Thank people. I just came across a cache of letters written to me over the years. They mean so much more to me than a gift card or “stuff.”

  • Lizzie

    January 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    I agree you don’t NEED to buy anything, but as the recipient of several showers I think I would’ve felt bad not giving a small gesture (along with a thank you note)…again kind of depends on the people, but I found some really inexpensive personalized (initial) mugs for some coworkers/friends (whom I knew drank a lot of coffee at work), for another shower my mother’s friends had I got them all a subscription to Real Simple magazine…it was easy and they loved it, and when you are buying several subscriptions most magazines give you a really good deal. Also as someone who has given many showers I did not expect a gift but it is always nice when someone recognizes the amount of effort you put in. If you live in a different area from where your shower is taking place I always like to do local things…I’ve received small local cookbooks, local wine, and seasoning from friends who live in different areas now and those are some of my favorite gifts. 🙂

  • Corinne

    January 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I had three hostesses at my shower who were all wonderful and did such an amazing job! I gave them each a little personalized gift with their thank you card. One got a couple Lush bath bombs, because she loves them. One got a cute whale pendant necklace because she loves whales, and the third got a couple canisters of good quality loose leaf green tea, because, in her own words, she has too many “things” but she loves green tea and has a gorgeous teapot for loose leaf tea.

    So my approach was just pick something small and personal that the hostesses will appreciate. I don’t think I spent more than $10/person, but I tried to put a lot of thought into the gifts.

  • Julie

    January 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I try to keep a stash of little gift items in the closet where I keep my wrapping supplies. I often come across beautiful notecards, bars of french-milled soap or other cute, inexpensive things when I’m out at TJ Maxx or other discount stores. Having a few things on-hand makes this easy when the occasion arises, and also means I won’t end up spending as much when I “need” to find something. Ditto for gift bags, wine gift bags and cute gift-wrap stuff. A bar of soap wrapped in brown paper and tied with a gorgeous ribbon looks chic and upscale, even though the whole thing may have cost you $3.

  • Gaby

    February 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

    This is all great advice ladies! Thank you. My baby shower is coming up and there are 5 hostesses. Along with hand written thank you cards, I’m giving each a little gift bag with things that begin with the first letter of their last name. But the main hostess(the one that spent the most money) I’m buying a nice piece of jewelry for.

  • […] Hostess Gifts for Baby Showers? | Alpha Mom – by Amalah. Hello! 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 …… […]

  • […] Hostess Gifts for Baby Showers? | Alpha Mom – by Amalah. Hello! 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 …… […]

  • frocknyc

    May 28, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    This is a very good answer, and I have got the inspiration for a gift that I can give to the hostess. Maybe I’ll make a small bag and stuffed some typical gifts.

  • Sarah

    February 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    I’m having trouble to reply back to my friend who she thank me for throwing her baby shower. Any suggestions

    • Isabel Kallman

      Isabel Kallman

      February 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      You have stumbled upon a much older article. For a variety of reasons, unfortunately we do not respond directly to questions that are left in the comments sections of articles. If you would like to submit a question to the advice column please do so here: amyadvice[@]gmail[dot]com Please be aware though that a) we don’t have the bandwidth to answer every submitted question, and b) there is a queue, though some questions get answered sooner than others– it’s not necessarily first come first served.