Blankies or Bills: Requesting monetary gifts at a baby shower

 Q: My son’s mother-in-law wants to give her  daughter a baby shower in November. She has a suggestion of asking the guests to give gift certificates to places such as the power company, the landlord, food, telephone, etc. Somehow this just does not seem proper to me. Our children do have most of the necessities for the upcoming blessed event, this just doesn’t seem right to ask the guests to do this.

A: First, generally moms do not host showers for their children. Showers more properly are given by a close family friend or a less close relative than a mom or grandmother. Second, the shower is about the baby, not about affording a lifestyle. It is okay for your daughter-in-law and son to register for gifts, but these should be baby gifts. The purpose of the shower is to gift the baby, with guests gathering around to ooh and ah over the presents as they are opened. It is deadly for them to watch the guest of honor open envelopes of checks or gift cards, and not appropriate to ask them to help pay the rent and grocery bills. If they don’t need any baby items, there should not be a shower at all.


  1. Joanna

    If I were invited to a baby shower where this happened, my main thought would be, “These people are making a baby they absolutely cannot afford, and they expect ME to pick up the slack.” I’m sure that many others would be left with the same impression, be it true or not, and it would leave a bad taste in their mouths. I’m sure the family will do whatever they like regardless, but they should definitely consider their guests’ POV on the matter prior.

  2. Carole

    This raises another etiquette question for me…. if the shower host makes an inappropriate request or a request lacking in good etiquette, what would be the correct thing for me as a guest to do: honour the host’s inappropriate request and gift something to pay for the rent or grocery or power bills, or resort to an gift that is more appropriate under the circumstances, that is, a gift for the baby? Would it be good etiquette to ignore the host’s gift suggestions or go with a gift more customary for a baby shower?

  3. jordi

    WOW; this lady sure knows how to plan a fun shower.

    I know exactly what I would do if I received an invitation with this request. I would do my own thing and buy a gift for baby since it is a “baby shower”!

    I’m also glad to see that there are others who agree that the mother and grandmother is NOT supposed to host a baby or wedding shower on behalf of their child. Very few people remember this any more.

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