Friday, April 27, 2012

Avoiding a Baby Shower Gift Faux Pas

Everyone always talks about April showers and May flowers. Well, there’s another kind of shower popular in the month of april, but it doesn’t bring may flowers. It brings may babies! That’s right, it’s baby shower season. 

Time to reach into my arsenal of covert baby shower gifting tactics. I’ve written about baby shower gift ideas before on the blog. You can read last year’s blog here (insert link). I’m not a mother myself so I’m always terrified I’m going to give the one gift that will leave people snickering later on in the evening. Nothing like a shower faux pas to scar someone for life. Sure, I’ve been to more baby showers than I can count on my fingers and toes, so I’m armed with some experience, but I still like to do my research (chatting with moms and some intense reading) to make sure I’m in the know. 

So I figured, since last year I spoke about what gifts make good ideas, I’d talk about what gifts make horrible gifts (the kinds that will get you on the watch list of all future mothers to be). Learn from other’s mistakes, and then you can just sit back, enjoy the finger sandwiches and baby themed cupcakes without that lingering anxiety of having picked the wrong gift.

Religious-themed gifts
This can be totally fine, as long as you’re certain about the parent’s religious leanings. Otherwise, stay away from porcelain crosses, silver religious necklaces, or bibles. Nothing puts a damper on a fun baby shower quite like a religion debate.

Soaps or lotions
Again, this can be a good option, but if you’re going to buy any sort of lotions or potions buy off the registry the parent’s have designated. That way you’re sure to be buying the products they prefer and will therefore use. Some parents like scented products while others prefer unscented. Some will only use organic products while others have no preference. So unless you’re 100% certain, stay away from this category of gifts.  

Check the registry before buying big-ticket items
Doubles, triples, and quadruples are great for onesies, diapers, and sometimes even bibs. But really, what is a mother to do with 3 car seats, 4 booster seats, and multiple diaper genies. Before you invest in a big-ticket item, check the registry, and if you can, conspire with other shower guests to make sure there won’t be any repeats.  

Check the gender
Oh, this is such an important one! That set of beautiful pink hair bows and that floral onesie would be adorable for a little girl. Too bad the shower invitation card said that they were having a boy. If the parents reveal the gender beforehand, make sure you read the card carefully. And if in doubt, go gender neutral. 

Anything needing dry-cleaning
That gorgeous silk onesie is a good idea in theory. Until the mom flips over the tag and finds that it’s dry-clean only. Now, I might have time to dry clean my favorite dress before an evening out. But I’m a single gal with the time for things like that. When you have a newborn, there’s not a lot of time for impromptu runs to the dry cleaners. So step away from that white cashmere sweater….I know it’s cute, but you can do it. Just walk away.  

And for a good laugh I was reading some of the funniest “Worst Baby Shower” gift memories from a Rogers yahoo forum. Including such gems as:

  • Condoms (I might have laughed when I read this. But depending on their circumstances, I’m not too sure the mother-to-be would laugh)
  • A used/filled in memory book
  • A maple syrup spigot (no idea why that would show up at a baby shower. Proud Canadians maybe?) Perhaps an ideal alternative would be:

  • “A blank card with a $10 bill inside. The person wrote in it ‘I didn’t know what was an appropriate gift since you’re adopting and not having a baby the normal way so I have enclosed some cash for you to pick something” (Note people: A gift card with a nicer, less offensive note might be a better option)
  • Candle holders

It’s true that it is the thought that counts. Mothers appreciate you taking the time to carefully select a gift (regardless of the price) and encourage them on their special day. Having said this, always include a gift receipt. Make it as easy as possible for the parents to return any duplicates or unneeded gifts. Don’t be offended if they do need to return your gift. It’s not ungratefulness. Having a newborn baby can be a huge strain on time and finances and sometimes parents need all the help they can get!

A few interesting products that are useful and unique!

If you’re not a parent yourself, I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories. That white nursery/ ceiling should stay that way. And poor mom and dad shouldn’t have to wear a plastic suit when it comes to diaper changing time. This is a easy, and totally adorable solution. 

Perfect for those sunny summer days at the beach to protect baby’s eyes! 

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