(Closed) Unwanted Shower Gifts – How Would/Did You Handle Them?

posted 6 years ago in Pregnancy
Post # 3
Member
5546 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2011

I am a huge proponent of returning whatever you don’t need, just make sure you write down what you got for thank you notes before you return it! People give you shower gifts because they want you to have stuff to use, if it ends up being way more of what you don’t need, I dont see the isssue exchanging it. 

Post # 4
Member
4325 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 1992

You could always forego the unwanted gifts of a shower by not having one, and opting to buy everything so you know it will be 100% what you want.

Post # 5
Member
9053 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2010

Maybe people are just using the online registry for reference, and still picking up the items at a brick and mortar store?

If not, I see no issue with returning things.

Post # 6
Member
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

That sounds like a good plan, Jules.

If a guest spends their money on you, I hardly think that should be seen as an inconvenience even if they happen to not get you the exact whatever it is what you registered for. To answer your question though, just return or exchange what you don’t want. I doubt anyone will inventory your nursery to make sure you kept their gift (well, unless it’s the grandparents. They tend to be nosey nellies).

Post # 7
Member
4046 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@Nickles9911:  Many people pick out gifts right before a shower, sometimes even stopping there on the way over. So all hope is not lost!

People are buying you shower gifts to give you what you need or could use. They (usually)have good  intentions, and just want to make sure you have all the necessary items for a baby. So, if you get something you can’t use, return it and get something you need or want. That way the gift doesn’t go to waste. Don’t feel bad about it!

If you can’t return it, donate or try to give to another new mom who may delight in it. Pay it forward 🙂

Post # 8
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Nickles9911:  that’s really annoying! I get what others are saying about having to be grateful and thankful for a gift for the sake of it being a gift, but really, showers are not exactly a brand new phenomenon and there are well-known etiquette guidelines that go along with being a gift-giver as well as a gift-receiver. i.e., find out whether the person is registered somewhere and if so, buy off the registry! I wouldn’t go so far as to call it ‘rude’, to ignore a registry and instead buy somebody something they didn’t ask for, but it is a little bit clueless and/or inconsiderate. Factually, they did fail to consider the fact that you carefully chose the items you want to end up with. So you certainly can’t be considered rude for exchanging their gifts for the things you actually wanted. If for some reason everyone on the guest list thinks it’s crass to register for gifts, then sure, maybe you would have been better off not having a shower and buying stuff yourself. But I doubt that’s the case. 

I’m just about to get married and dealt with this same issue on a few fronts. Family members that completely ignored where it said on the shower invitation “the bride has chosen a set of dishes that we will all be contributing to. Suggested donation is $20.” and instead bought us at least $20 worth of stuff we will never use like .. a plastic kettle, and a cheap pot set (we already have a pot set). So now we have stuff that we won’t use and will have to give away, and my Future Mother-In-Law felt she had to pay their share for the rest of the dishes and didn’t let us just pay for the rest :/   But of course we still sent a card specifically thanking them for the gift they sent.

The rule is that you have to express appreciation for every gift you get – not that you actually have to appreciate it!

Post # 9
Member
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO araneidae:  for the record… you may have got that response from your Guests because from an Etiquette Point of View you broke some rules… (and as such sometimes Brides get a backlash from their Guests… take what you will from it… but it does happen… which is why it is best to just go along with the whole Etiquette thing to begin with… it really is there for good reason)

(a) it is inappropriate for a Bride to have any input to a Bridal Shower (and I got from your post that you did).  Doing so looks Gift Grabby.

(b) your shower asked for a specific monetary donation to a larger gift.  Although a lot of Brides are thrilled when this happens, strictly from an Etiquette POV it is a HUGE no-no… Guests hate being dictated to… being told what they must do, or how much they must / should spend.  So not that surprised that some folks chose to go against the tide.

Now you are left with a bunch of stuff you don’t need or want… and having to take the time to figure out what to do with it…

If you had followed the Rules of Etiquette… this might not have been the case.

Just saying.

 

Post # 10
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@this-time-round:  The only input I had into my shower was selecting the china pattern for the dishes. Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that how pretty much most wedding showers operate? Or any shower where a registry is involved? How is that gift-grabby compared to any other shower? It’s not like I hosted the party or sent out the invitations. We selected a nice pattern that was on clearance at a small store where a registry was not an option, hence the deviation from the norm. I think you are thinking of the etiquette guideline that states that it is inappropriate to have anything specific about gifts on a WEDDING invitation. For a shower it is not considered rude to include this information, as it is understood that a shower is a party that involves gifts for the couple. 

Maybe my 2 family members that ignored the invitation were ‘rebelling’ against my ‘rudeness’ but I think it’s more likely that they didn’t read the full invite. Thanks for your input.

Post # 11
Member
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO araneidae:  As an Etiquette Snob… I have to say that sadly you are the one who is mistaken… but it is a very common mistake.

The Bride in most cases will know ahead of time about a shower… and she can certainly be consulted as to what type of shower she might like…

“Oh thank you Aunt Alice for Hosting the Shower… YES a Bathroom Shower would be wonderful… as we don’t have much so far.  We could certainly use whatever is given, but definitely we are short on Towels and a Shower Curtain.  And we are thinking Blue and Grey.  I’ve registered at ___ and you can see a list of our preferences there”

Would be an appropriate response… in that it gives your wishes, and a helpful guideline (and with the colour reference could work for anyone on a limited budget).  BUT beyond that… too much info / gift grabby looking.

The rest is up to the host.

NEVER is it ever appropriate for a Party to solicit Guests specifically for items (“You can bring a set of Towels”) or for money (“We need $ 20 for a Group Gift”)

It is however appropriate if Aunt Alice issued the Shower Invites as so…

“You are invited to a Bridal Shower for Araneidae… we are having a Bathroom Theme.  Her Colours are Blue and Grey and she is registered at ___.  You can find out more info by visiting the store and asking for her Registry by name, or checking out the Bride & Groom’s Wedding Website at ___ “

In this way the info is out there… but EVERYTHING is left up to the Guest.  In that way someone who can’t afford a $ 20 Gift would still be able to attend… and bring whatever they can, be it off the Registry… or something that they picked out that fits the theme (and hopefully the colour scheme).

To be honest, this very basic system does work.  When I was married the first time, I have to say that I pretty much received ZERO that I either wasn’t registered for, or couldn’t use in some way…

Even a set of pretty blue guest soaps for a couple of dollars would be far better IMO than someone not coming because they don’t have (or object to) the $ 20 for a group gift…

Hope this helps,

PS… My personal guide for all things Etiquette is Emily Post.  And this sort of thing is all well explained in her / their various books.  I particularly like Peggy Post’s *Wedding Etiquette*

 

Post # 12
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@this-time-round:  Yes, wow, ever so helpful. Where in the etiquette book does it tell you how to communicate to your future mother-in-law and all of her friends, whom you barely share a language with, that the party they have planned for you is ever so improper and you simply won’t stand for it? First you’re telling me that it’s inappropriate for me to have any say in my own shower (which I did not, other than what was explicitly directed of me by the host) and then contradicting it with the super helpful advice that I’m supposed to have actually orchestrated the entire thing myself and made sure the people hosting the party for me followed a strict set of rules? Look, I have taken more than a passing interest in etiquette. I’ve read the books. When it comes to my own wedding, etiquette-wise, it is air-freaking-tight. But when a party is hosted FOR you, by SOMEBODY ELSE, there is only so much you can do. 

What’s the etiquette on complete thread-hijacking?  

@Nickles9911:  my apologies.

Post # 13
Member
305 posts
Helper bee

with baby items you can return, donate, or give away.   i’m not sure about etiquette but i have always known people to register for what they would like.  i don’t think it’s gift grabby at all.  btw, i am in my late 40’s too so i’ve been to my fair share of these baby showers and never been offended by a registry.

Post # 14
Member
2440 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

@araneidae:  I don’t read up on etiquette and I still think it’s rude to put please donate $20 to a gift you will never see and never know if I purchase it or not.  The specified amount really rubs me the wrong way, regardless if it was your idea or not. 

@Nickles9911:  Don’t worry if people don’t buy off your registry.  I would be grateful that people are buying you gifts.  If you don’t like something or it’s the wrong brand, just exchange it.  Most places have decent exchange policies and it really shouldn’t be a problem.

Post # 15
Member
887 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@redhead46:  fair enough. I will keep that in mind for when I plan somebody’s shower. FWIW, my Mother-In-Law decided this because it is always how it is done in her community. The dishes were pre-purchased and opened at the shower in front of everyone. Perhaps it is a cultural thing.

Post # 16
Member
9954 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

TO araneidae:  I’m not even sure if we are on the same page any more (after your last post to me Reply # 11)

I didn’t say you did anything wrong per se… I said that you were mistaken in what the Rules of Etiquette are for in the particular situation you found yourself in.  (There is a difference)

For the record, there is nothing wrong with hearing the details about a Shower and then telling the Host… that you aren’t comfortable with certain aspects.

BUT in the end, it is up to the Host to have whatever type of party they choose in your Honour.

And all you can be is gracious…

Which I take it you were… with your Host and with your Thank Yous to your Guests.

What sparked my original reply to you was this statement…

Family members that completely ignored where it said on the shower invitation “the bride has chosen a set of dishes that we will all be contributing to. Suggested donation is $20.” and instead bought us at least $20 worth of stuff we will never use like .. a plastic kettle, and a cheap pot set (we already have a pot set). So now we have stuff that we won’t use and will have to give away, and my Future Mother-In-Law felt she had to pay their share for the rest of the dishes and didn’t let us just pay for the rest :/ But of course we still sent a card specifically thanking them for the gift they sent.

So I decided with my first post… to perhaps EXPLAIN WHY things went off the rails, and why you may have received the mish-mash of gifts that weren’t requested / needed by you… as that was the whole gist of this topic… getting unwanted Shower Gifts

I in no way was trying to offend you with my post… just give you the facts on WHY it may have happened, and what the Rule of Etiquette is for Showers.

 

 

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