1. Chantelle L.

    Hello: I have a question on baby-shower etiquette. My best friend and a family member are kindly hosting a baby-shower for me after our son is born (we’re expecting late Jan/early Feb). The shower will be in March or April. We are incredibly blessed by people’s generosity that we are truly in need of very little – or anything at all. The only thing we’d truly like to focus on for our baby is an RESP. However we don’t know if that is proper etiquette or how to handle this subject when people ask us (or the hosts) what we need or would like. We’re not registered anywhere (i.e. Sears or Toys R’ Us). I am banker – and a planner – and we just want to start putting $$ away for his education rather than have endless toys and clothing that will hang in closets and possibly never get used (as this is what commonly happens to most baby/children gifts). Gift cards to Walmart, Sears, etc….would always come in handy. I totally understand that people enjoy making/buying & giving baby gifts so if this RESP idea is not a a good one please advise. Some people I’ve mentioned it to think its a good idea but needs to be handled with care – and we’re not sure how to approach it. Looking forward to hearing from you, Chantelle

    • Elizabeth

      I think the best thing to do is to register for some baby stuff as well as set up the savings plan. Then, ask the ladies who are hosting the shower to spread the word about both if, and only if, they are asked. As long as the RESP is one option among many other traditional options, it seems fine. The baby shower is one of those events whose norms and customs are pretty well set by tradition. They are normally held to outfit new parents with all of the equipment they’ll need for their new baby. If you deviate from this understanding, people will feel that the event is a money-grab. Some might wonder – if you already have all of the stuff, why have a shower at all? Why not just a lunch where you can introduce baby to friends and family? This is why you have to tread lightly and definitely AVOID telling people that you only want money.

      Plus – remember, one of the best parts of the baby shower, as a guest, is getting to see all the tiny cute clothing and other items being opened. I can’t imagine something more boring than seeing a bunch of envelopes opened.

    • Mel

      I beleive that this is a wonderful, logical, and very practical idea that should be communicated by word of mouth for those that inquire. Mentioning your preference on invitations would be a mistake but there is no harm in letting others know your preference should they ask or inquire about the lack of registry.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I’m going to be honest. I had no idea what a RESP is. In case anyone else is as clueless as I am I looked it up, and it stands for Registered Education Savings Plan.

      No, you cannot make that request. It isn’t that different from asking for money, which is not acceptable. The point of a shower is to open gifts your guests carefully selected. Seeing all the baby things is part of the fun for the guests. If you really don’t want the things they pick out for you, you can either return them or donate them and get the tax deduction (and of course never tell the person who gave it to you).

      • Since you’ve done the research – what if the child chooses not to attend college? Sure, I went, but my brother chose aviation repair and has a successful career in the Navy. Many well-paid electricians and welders have no need for college. Can the money be used for something else?
        I’m just uncomfortable planning a child’s future and forcing them down a certain path before the poor kid is even born (working at a university and seeing kids fail out who were forced to attend by their parents has caused me to worry about this trend even more).

        • Ashleigh

          ” If the student elects to not attend a post-secondary institution, any accumulated interest may be withdrawn by the contributor; this is called an AIP (Accumulated Income payment). To receive this AIP, the plan must be in place for at least 10 years and all beneficiaries must be over 21 years old. This AIP is taxed as income unless it is rolled into a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), subject to individual contribution limits and applicable rules.”

          From Wikipedia’s page on RESPs

    • Alicia

      No Asking for money is tacky and rude! This is just asking for money. It is your responsibility and your kids responsibility to pay for their education.
      Also showers are typically before the kid is born and as much about shower the parents to be with advice as anything else. This is after the baby is born and should be more of a meet the baby party then a shower and thus take the focus off gifts and onto the new baby. Also showers help teh parents set up the nursery with the stuff that the baby needs. Since baby needs start when the baby is born you are eliminating many typical shower gifts by being after the baby is born.
      If gifts are registered for they should be things that the baby can use in the next year or so. Some practical non toy ideas: 1.Practical clothes. Baby will be going through four or five sizes in the next year and a selection of onsies and cute but comfy attire will come in handy. Kids also spill and drool and need attire changes sometimes a few outfits a day. 2.Diapers and wipes. You will be using and buying these a ton a dozen a day at the beginning and that will taper down to 6 or so over the first year. 3.Formula 4.Books seriously one of the best baby showers I went to was a baby book party and that was a cheap and effective way for the parents to get and entire baby library of books to read to their kid. 7. bottles and then sippy cups ( you will already since the baby is born need some small bottles but the larger ones and then sippy cups you will need) 8.baby spoons,forks, bowls ect . You will need these as soon as baby moves to mush and then the next few years.
      Seriously you do not need to be greedy and ask for money to get practical stuff for your baby. Instead ask for the stuff you will need over the next year and use the savings of not having to buy this stuff to boost the kids education fund.

    • Nina

      I think this sort of thing might depend on your culture. When I was an infant, and long afterwards, family and friend regularly gave gifts of money and it was understood that this would be for my education–this is just thought of as appropriate for us. If no one in your circle has done this, do exercise caution and perhaps simply mention that you *have* an RESP–likeminded folks might ask if they can make a gift contribution; if they show no interest, that’s probably not their thing. When it works out well, these gifts can be a beautiful lifelong legacy–I went to university knowing how many loving people helped me get there, and I will always be grateful.

      • Alicia

        Yes gift of money are great but the difference is between getting them from people who do this of their own initiative vs directly asking for money .

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