Super-Duper Belated Baby Shower Thank-You Notes
About two years ago, a handful of really great people threw me not one, not two, but three baby showers for my first daughter! (Yes, I’m surrounded by amazing people!)
Of course, after those showers, I was all about resting and getting ready for baby girl and . . . not writing a Single. Stinkin. Thank. You. Note. I had ignored the advice of other moms to write the notes ASAP, because I was different and I’d have time for that after the baby was born, in the whole entire 8 weeks of time I’d have before I returned to work. (Now, any mother out there is laughing hilariously, because they all know that just didn’t happen. Ahh, the blissful ignorance of soon-to-be-mothers.)
So, baby girl is here and precious and awesome and no one has been thanked for any gift (or party!) they threw for us.
I’ve toyed with the idea of doing one of those photo announcement cards with some of the cute photos of baby girl from the last two years with a generic thank you note to everyone that I can remember was there (I’ve lost two of the three gift lists, of course). Or just trying to remember who gave us what . . . Or did the verbal thank yous at the time suffice and I have nothing to worry about?
Here’s where this gets more complicated: we’re expecting baby girl #2 this December. I’m fairly certain some of those same awesome people will throw us a shower/sprinkle.
While that’s completely amazing and we’ll be super grateful, I worry about those people who have super long memories and feel snubbed because they’ve never gotten a thank you card.
So, am I over thinking this? Is there a better way to express our late, but completely sincere, gratitude? And should I have any concerns going into the shower/sprinkle season again?
Would love to know your thoughts on the matter.
The imaginary thank you note writer
So I usually like to head over to more dedicated etiquette advice/guidance sites to brush up on whatever the latest prevailing “rules” are, as I’m admittedly, stubbornly old-school about a lot of things that other people don’t care much about anymore. And hilariously, the first link I clicked on was my own damn column on the topic of belated baby shower thank-you notes. In that case, however, the notes were only six months “late,” which I feel falls solidly in the realm of “perfectly understandable.”
But I still advised her to just get the notes done, MOSTLY because it would make her feel better to not have the obligation hanging over her head. (This advice brought to you by a serial procrastinator who knows the procrastination/anxiety/guilt loop well.)
I am taking the same better-late-than-never tack with you, although I recognize that’s difficult since you’ve lost gift lists and memories are fuzzy. But I would really caution against more showers/sprinkles without at least making some kind of effort. Especially since second baby showers can create etiquette snarls in and of themselves, at least in certain parts of the country.
Perhaps your shower hosts can help? If they were not properly thanked either, you should start there and then hopefully enlist them in your Belated Gratitude Crusade. Take them out for dinner and/or give them a lovely surprise gift, then come clean about the thank-you note situation. Perhaps they can at least help you remember everyone who attended, or even fill in a specific gift hole or two.
Then move on to the gift list you do have and power through it. Aim for 5-7 sentences and talk about how useful you found the gift, and plan to use it again for baby #2. Sign, seal, stamp, DONE. Believe me, it’ll feel GREAT.
If you have no idea what gift the person gave, go generic. Thank them for their attendance and “generosity.” Including photos would be a nice touch, but NOT if that added step over-complicates things for you and becomes another roadblock/procrastination device.
Here’s the bottom line, though: I think most people give baby shower thank-yous a pretty wide, understanding berth. I would personally not be too fazed or judge-y over not getting a formal thank-you note on a baby gift, because…the recipient JUST HAD A BABY. (This understanding does NOT extend to wedding thank-you notes, by the way. That’s just rude and my side-eye will linger if you’re unable to scribble out a few lines at some point after your honeymoon.) I’m positive there are people who haven’t given your lack of notes a second thought, or never really expected one.
But there probably are people who are wondering what’s up…especially if they were particularly generous, or they didn’t attend a shower and mailed you a gift. So with these people in mind, I continue to believe it would be best to try to make SOME kind of effort before they get invited to another shower. Those invitations are bound to trigger some memories in some folks, like “heyyyy, wait a second…”
If you absolutely can’t deal with the idea of sending the notes so late, I would HIGHLY suggest you take a hard, firm “no gifts please” stance on any and all showers/sprinkles. You’re having another daughter and not much time has passed, so it’s not like you need a whole new gendered wardrobe or gave away all your baby gear. Explain that since people were SO GENEROUS to you last time, there’s simply nothing new you need as you plan to reuse all the lovely gifts as hand-me-downs. If there is something you want, you buy it yourself.
Personally, I gotta admit that a no-gifts policy might be polite regardless, since you don’t want people getting a thank-you note, then an invite, and possibly connect the two in a “oh NOW she thanks me, because she wants more stuff!” way. I know that’s not your intention, but you just never know with some people. Plus! It’ll result in fewer thank-you notes to write THIS time! Which might be worth buying your own diapers and onesies in and of itself.
Published July 24, 2015. Last updated July 24, 2015.