Open Thread

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  1. Hi all! I have a baby shower question and know you will give me your honest opinions. :)

    I’m throwing a baby shower for a friend of mine in a couple of months and I’m curious about the appropriateness of a game idea I came across. In a nutshell, people buy a half-day sometime around the baby’s due date, and whoever buys the time that the baby ends up being born gets half the pot (the other half goes to the new parents, of course). I think it sounds fun–particularly for a co-ed shower–but is it tacky? The point of a shower is to shower the new parents with gifts anyway, so this seems to fall in line with that, but is it too much? And if it IS appropriate, should I mention it in the invitation so people who want to play can come prepared with cash?

    Can’t wait to hear what people think!

    • Alicia

      Yes it is too much. The issues are a few fold. 1. The game is not decided during the party 2. The pressure is there to give the resulting money to the parents that they ostensibly win 3. Guests are bringing gifts already they should not be shaken down for money during a party 4. What if folks have picked the day and in particular due dates and c sections and inducements make only certain limited days likely 5. I see no element of fun
      It is a bad idea that will make the parents to be seem greedy and tacky.

    • Elizabeth

      I agree with Alicia. I know that sometimes coworkers set up these kinds of betting pools, but in a shower situation it seems a bit too much to ask people to spend/contribute more when they’re already coming with a present. At every shower I’ve been to or thrown, there are lots of fun games to play and best of all there are prizes that the guests can win. For instance, I remember one game that focused on the centerpieces at the tables, these were diaper cakes. You had to guess how many diapers in the diaper cake, and the person closest won a prize. Another game gave each guest a diaper pin to pin to their clothes. The game was that you had to avoid saying the word baby. If you said it, the other person could catch you and take your diaper pin. Whoever had them all (or the most) won a prize. There are whole websites devoted to shower games, so I would check there if you need ideas.

    • Becky

      I say go with your suspicion that it is too much (when in doubt, don’t). Alicia detailed the issues very well. If you still like the idea and the delayed ‘winner’ is not a big issue, what about doing it without the monetary ‘buy in’. As hostess, you can provide 2 bottles of champagne/sparkling juice, one for the new parents and one for the ‘winner’ to celebrate. or the “buy in” is pennies/nickels. ‘the winner’ can certainly ‘claim’ their half of the winnings, or they can add it to the parent’s 1/2 that is given in a piggy bank for the child? If you think the idea is interesting because of the cash…I got nothin’

      • All good points, thank you! I thought the betting aspect would be fun for some people, but I suppose not knowing the winner for a few weeks kind of defeats the purpose of that anyway.

  2. Clair

    I work for a nonprofit and we have a number of regularly scheduled events for our donors to thank them for their support. At one event, which we have 5 times per year, many of our donors show up early – with a few showing up a 1/2 hour to an hour before the start time we post on the invitation.

    Our office disagrees about how we should handle the early arrivals. Should we not open our doors until closer to the start time? Welcome them, but let them know we’re not ready? Start the event early?

    We’d love to find a way to encourage them to show up a bit closer to the start time, but I don’t want to alienate our very important supporters! Thank you!

    • Elizabeth

      It seems quite strange to me that you have this problem – usually people show up “fashionably late” rather than early. Do you have any idea why your donors in particular would show up early in such numbers? Is there something to do with the timing of your event? For instance, if you hold events at 6pm and your donors typically leave work at 5, perhaps they have nothing to do in the interim, and it would be best to shift the events to start earlier. Or is there something about transportation that causes them to show up early? Are your events just so lavish that people can’t wait to get in? : ) Are your events held in spaces where the doors could be locked until the event begins? Perhaps the invitations could read: “Doors open at 6pm” or similar.

  3. Rev. Svend

    If I am invited to dinner, and if my host knows I am clergy (as I don’t use the title much as I’m not currently active), would it be improper from an etiquette standpoint, as it certainly is from a protocol standpoint, for the host to say grace without inviting me to do so?

    • Alicia

      No leading grace is the host or hostesses duty. They may but are no means obligated to ask clergy or anyone else of faith to lead grace. There is no obligation to have clergy lead the grace nor is it rude to not ask the clergy present to say the grace.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      As a clergyman you should know that giving a blessing is something anyone can do. The host is within his rights to lead grace in his own home. In fact, my brother-in-law is a minister, and he has complained to me about people suddenly asking him to pray for them without giving him time to prepare. I gather many religious leaders feel the same way. I imagine he and others would feel grateful to have the burden lifted from them.

  4. Becky

    I think it’s the host’s prerogative on who/how the blessing of the meal is done. I don’t think it is improper protocol either – unless there is a denominational specific protocol that i’m not aware of. But if the hosts are not doing it themselves, they should ask the person they would like to do it before springing it on them in front of the other guests. I know my friends and a family member who are clergy are sometimes put off when a host ambushes them with the assumption that they always want to or have to be the one to offer a blessing (social situations, not church functions of course). Yes, they always are ready with a good blessing, but never assume. A dirty little secret – A couple of them actually dread always being looked to to offer the blessing. In some social situations they would like to just be a guest…no different than doctors that don’t necessarily want to look at your rash at a cocktail party. As a hostess, if i have clergy present i may say something to them before hand…either to ask them if they would mind or to let them know i’m giving them a break. One friend actually says his ‘spirit is enriched’ when he has the opportunity to hear the prayers or blessings of the laity rather than the “professional.” If you know your host knows you are clergy and you would like to or don’t mind offering a blessing, perhaps casually and privately offer to the host beforehand.

  5. Jody

    It’s the host’s privilege to have grace said at his table. He may prefer to say it, he may prefer a guest (clergy or not) to say it, or he may prefer not to have grace said at all. I don’t think there’s an etiquette or protocol point that say a host must ask guest who is clergy to say grace.

    If you’re asked to say grace, you can accept or decline, depending on what you’re comfortable doing.

  6. Jazzgirl205


    My best friend is a Catholic priest (our ancestors fought together in the Civil War, he introduced me to my husband, he was best man at our wedding) and I have always led the Grace at my dinner parties even if he was present. It didn’t occur to me not to. Please don’t take insult from these good people. Perhaps they consider it their job to lead the prayers in their home. Perhaps they were even trying to impress upon you that you are in the home of believers.

    I have, however, been in homes where a certain protocol was observed. Usually the honor of Grace was given to the family patriarch/matriarch or the oldest person in the room, or even the person hosts suspect attends more often. In a few Evangelical households, I am asked to say Grace. I assume it is because I am Catholic and they know my prayer will be short. Not many people want to hear lengthy speeches on God’s magnificence while the fruits of His bounty turn a cool gray.

  7. Laurie

    Friends and I are hosting a babyshower for our friend. The mom to be also wants a “daddy diaper shower” for her husband and our husbands to throw it. I think it is very tacky because she wants them at the same time and then wants the two different parties to come together. Many of the men invited to the very specific “diaper” party are husband of a wife who will be attending the shower for the mom-with a few exception. In essence I feel like she is asking each family to give 2 different gifts-one being a pack of dieters. The hostess would love to combine the 2 parties and make it a co-Ed party. How do we address this issues with mom to be insisting in having a daddies and diapers party while she has her own normal baby shower? Isn’t it very rude to specify what to bring to a shower? So 2 different invites for men/women and combine the parties int 1. Or specify men to bring diapers, we don’t know what to do. HELP!!!!! I feel like she is being MOM-zilla!

    • Alicia

      You are doing the hosting you get to decide. Tell parents to be what you are willing to host and then they can accept or decline that offer.

    • Elizabeth

      So, are there some men who do want to throw this kind of diaper shower, or is this totally driven by the mom? It sounds like you are one of a few hostesses, is that correct? And at least one of the other hostesses is fine with or even excited to do a co-ed shower?

      I do agree with you that it is not quite kosher for the mom to demand a men’s shower (out of the norm) and to demand additional presents. However, if there are men who have volunteered to do it, and the other hostesses are in to doing a co-ed thing, then it sounds like you are outvoted. There is no polite way to let the mom know that you think she’s being greedy. The more generous version of all of this is that she wants to have an inclusive party, she wants her husband to be able to celebrate being a dad as much as she is celebrating being a future mom, and that diapers are just about the easiest/cheapest thing that one could bring as a gift. (I’m sure the guys would be quite relieved to not have to shop for anything more complicated.)

      However, I can also see how this combined party would essentially double the guest list, thereby adding considerably to the cost of the shower. You could decline on these grounds, that you only have enough budgeted for a certain amount of people and that someone else will have to throw the dad’s party. But if there are other people willing to share the cost, I think you just have to go with it.

      I also wouldn’t worry too much about asking families to bring two presents. Every family likely has their budget for what they would spend, and if they have to bring a pair of diapers, that just means they will spend less on the other stuff on her registry.

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