Am I committing a huge faux pas at baby shower??

posted 1 year ago in The Lounge
Post # 46
Member
12108 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

tiffanybruiser :  I’d argue that local or family tradition isn’t so relevant when you are talking 100 friends and family. With any shower, which is by definition an adult gift oriented occasion, comes the risk of appearing to ask for gifts. 

There is much less chance of coming across as greedy or entitled when a close friend or friends are inspired amongst themselves to throw a more intimate and low key shower. And to be real, despite the spin, everyone knows that a registry is really a wish list, so that already skates on thin ice.

Etiquette is just a consistent and common sense guideline to being considerate. 

Post # 47
Member
52 posts
Worker bee

anabee323 :  What is a “traditional” American?  

Post # 48
Member
12108 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

anabee323 :  It’s not about cultural diversity when you are asking people both near and far to buy you stuff, though. I think people may have a funny way of deciding for themselves how they feel about that. 

Post # 49
Member
746 posts
Busy bee

juacvdo :  If you read my post you’ll know that I’m speaking in terms of these etiquette guidelines that people on this board flaunt around, as if everyone in America is supposed to follow them. I’ve seen people say that they are “common sense values” and “traditional values” etc.

Like I said, I’m an immigrant from Europe. I’m certainly not trying to lecture anyone on who is or isn’t American (sorry if it came across that way, that was NOT my intention). By citizenship I am an American now, but some of my cultural values are different from what seem to be the standard/traditional American values according to posters on this board and in my experience living in the US.

For example, in my culture cash gifts are considered standard at weddings. Money dances are a thing. However, in American etiquette (that a lot of posters on this board seem to tout as THE thing to follow) it seems that even mentioning those things to guests is basically considered low class and rude. 

I’ve also noticed that in general, American cultural values tend to value being MUCH less direct than my cultural values. I can be much more direct and honest with people from my own culture, but that can easily be considered weird or rude to Americans in general in my experience. As a small difference in directness–it took me years to realize that the question, “How are you?” isn’t ACTUALLY asking how you are doing. The standard American response is “good” or “fine” and people aren’t generally asking “how are you?” because they actualy care.

What I’m trying to say is that America is a melting pot of a lot of different cultures, but IMO a lot of people on these boards tend to think that the way that they were raised applies across the board. What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t and that there is no one American culture, even though a lot of the etiquette posters seem to think in a way that makes it seem like to them there is just one way to do certain things within American cultural values (i.e. can’t tell people you would prefer cash gifts or that that is part of your culture but you should make a registry, can’t have a cash bar, etc etc etc). Emily Post’s advice does not apply across the board. You’ll see what I’m talking about if you look, especially in the etiquette posts.

Post # 50
Member
7814 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

@weddingmaven: the thing is, these family traditions ARE relevant when it’s your family circle who is hosting the event and the same type of event is hosted for literally every other woman in the community. I think maybe if you haven’t been in a community or culture like this you can’t understand. It would actually be rude not to include everyone or to expect separate showers in my big fat Greek circle…that’s just not how it’s done. If someone came in citing Emily Post in this case, theyd look like a patronizing twit. 

I appreciate your extensive and in-depth knowledge of etiquette, but I think it is important to accept that traditional US etiquette isn’t the be all end all in every situation. 

Post # 51
Member
2813 posts
Sugar bee

anabee323 :  I️ agree on that. In our cultural circle, gifts are not opened at showers. And sometimes gifts are mailed after baby is born, after the shower. People are ok gifting on a downlow, without being publicly honored for their wonderful gift. So I️ am not following strictly etiquette if literally no one else in my personal circle does that. 

Post # 52
Member
746 posts
Busy bee

weddingmaven :  You don’t know who these people are. With a co-ed and families invited shower, they might all be OP’s family with a few friends sprinkled in. Especially since OP says she and her Fiance both come from large families.

You don’t know their culture or their family traditions. And if their culture or traditions are different from yours, then that is certainly relevant in this situation.

solnishko1186 :  Yes, same here, especially since in my culture it’s considered bad luck to be giving a lot of gifts before the baby is born.

Not everyone expects their gift to be opened in front of a public crowd and oohed and aaahed over. This appears to be an American thing and that is fine, but it’s ridiculous to think that there is just one expectation out there.

Post # 53
Member
1066 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

I’ve never seen someone NOT open presents at a baby shower, but then I’ve never been to a baby shower with so many people, so I’m not entirely sure what would be best here. I think if you don’t open presents, you’ll get some relatives (especially older relatives) who will be offended. But then a lot of people don’t like watching gifts being open anyway. Perhaps your best bet is to either have the host announce that you’re opening presents but also make sure to let people know that they are encouraged to continue socializing while you’re opening presents, OR to open presents near the end after a lot of people have left so it’s only the relatives who really, really want to see you open presents there.

Post # 55
Member
352 posts
Helper bee

I would never want to watch someone open gifts from 100 people! I think you’re fine- even with smaller showers I like a “gift table” with unwrapped gifts that you can just go see 

Post # 56
Member
12108 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

tiffanybruiser :  I do understand what you are saying and obviously there are no laws, but these days it is a rare group of that size that is so homogenous. Etiquette is there as a guideline to what people may feel and think in these circumstances, and a way to smooth the path to relationships, but it is not a sledge hammer. If people are really that convinced it doesn’t apply to them or in their circles that’s their own business and a risk they are willing to take. 

As this thread shows, I’m far from the only person who feels this way. Most people who do are also way too polite to express any of this to a guest of honor. 

Post # 57
Member
341 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

  n00bee :  usually I’m on team don’t open – I didn’t open at my bridal shower myself, only things people asked me to open that were special or homemade. That being said I had 70 people at my baby shower and I opened gifts. It’s different. For bridal showers everyone buys off the registry and it’s boring watching them open the same set of dishes 5 times but for baby showers people get more personal gifts. I’m love watching people open my baby shower gifts. People will buy meaningful books, custom gifts, homemade blankets, cute outfits, etc and they will want to see them opened. I had someone make 3 different beautiful baskets with thoughtful outfits and other items she easily spent hundreds on. I think it would have been super rude to not open it. I also got a lot of homemade blankets and outfits and personalized art etc. Ditto there. People spent lots of time making and putting together those gifts and to not take some time to open them isn’t right to me. If it’s coed with kids you won’t have 100 gifts you’ll have 50 or so. Have your close friends or family help you. I sat tight and my sister and best friend kept handing me gifts and taking them away. They even helped cut ribbon before it was handed to me and open them sometimes. It took a half hour at most, probably less and I actually really enjoyed it. However I did go to a shower where the mom had so many gifts and took so long she missed Half of it so I get it. Have people help you and do it as quickly as possible and you’ll be ok. I would not be dragging gifts people mailed to your house though that’s ridiculous. 

Post # 58
Member
7814 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

weddingmaven :  What threads like this show is that for every person who thinks traditional U.S. etiquette is the bible and should be applied even in circles where most people aren’t familiar with the nitty gritty of it and do things differently, there are plenty more who don’t. I agree with you that of 100 people at the OP’s shower (which it sounds like primarily comprises her & her husband’s giant family), it is possible there could be one or two who side eye the size of it…maybe…but the vast majority will not because this type of event is the norm in their culture. You’re never going to please everyone, as threads like this always demonstrate. But it sounds like OP’s shower was lovely and she found a great compromise in choosing to open the gifts of guests who wanted that.

Post # 59
Member
52 posts
Worker bee

anabee323 :  Thanks for the clarification!  I was genuinely confused when you said “traditional” American.  I wasn’t sure what that meant given that America is so diverse.  I agree, America is a big melting pot of cultures. 

Post # 60
Member
95 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I’d definitely skip the presents. Not only is it extremely awkward opening gifts in front of people, it’s awkward sitting in a circle while the mother-to-be opens gifts… you do you, girl! A nice thank-you card should suffice!  

Leave a comment


Find Amazing Vendors