Etiquette Questions, Answered: Holidays and Gifts
Must I Give a Gift for a Fifth Shower?
Q. A friend of mine is in her fifth pregnancy and having a baby shower. I have always gone out and bought nice, thought-out
gifts for her, but she saves everything from her previous pregnancies, and I’m still buying expensive gifts for her. As she
has never been to a shower in my honor, am I still committed to giving her yet another gift?
A. First of all, your fertile-myrtle friend is allowed to get pregnant as much as she pleases, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep buying expensive gifts for her. I say, once the babies start outnumbering the parents, you can choose to pull back on your gift giving, in terms of the kind of gift you buy or whether you buy one at all. Of course, if you’re going to the shower, you probably don’t want to show up empty-handed, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy yet another expensive cashmere onesie. You could bring cookies, or a box of clementines, or even just a thoughtful card. Having said that―and I know you didn’t ask about this, but I can’t help myself― I say that if you don’t feel up for attending yet another shower for this person, you have my permission to skip it. I’m even going to go farther out on a limb here to say I think anyone who invites people to five baby showers is in need of some kind of a talking-to. If you’ve had enough of these baby showers (and it sounds like you have or you wouldn’t be writing me), it’s perfectly OK for you to send regrets and best wishes for another healthy baby. At a certain point, there are only so many showers we can all attend in our lives, and it sounds like you’ve fulfilled more than your quota for this particular friend.
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