Baby Showers

Response for hostess who suggests unwrapped gifts?

Dear Baby Shower etiquette mavens:

Tonight I got an email from one of my two baby shower hostesses:

"I am going to a baby shower on Sunday that requests unwrapped gifts for viewing.  . . . maybe you would like to consider this option. That way, you have more time to spend visiting with everyone. I will see how it works and get back to everyone on Monday."

I generally feel like you shouldn't tell guests how to gift in any way. But she has a point about time (the shower will only be 2 hours) and visiting. Suggestions for response? Should I wait until after her "report" on Monday to respond or do it now before she falls in love with the idea?

Both hostesses are generally lovely people, very polite. I am thinking she is all excited about this idea she just heard of.  

Thanks in advance.  


Lilypie First Birthday tickers
DX with PCOS 2009, married 2010, Baby Boy arrived Sept 2013

                       

Re: Response for hostess who suggests unwrapped gifts?

  • I would respond right away. You can either tell her you are not comfortable with that idea, or just tell her that you really enjoy opening gifts (true or not). You are on the right track, it's rude to dictate how a person gives you a gift and it's especially rude to not open gifts at a gift giving event.

     

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  • I don't like the idea, but I have never seen it done.  I guess you might as well wait until after the shower, when the hostess will realize that it is awkward to just show up at a shower with an armful of gift and then just leave it on a table, instead of opening gifts.  Also, I am assuming guests will try to buy more "cute" gifts if it is going to be some sort of display, so the mom could probably expect a lot of blankets and outfits.
  • I have been to a shower that did this. The rest of the time was just filled with more games; the MTB didn't spend more time visiting. Honestly, I prefer to see the gifts unwrapped. I don't love display showers. I understand the reasoning, but I just don't love them. Not sure about the exact etiquette; that's just my opinion.
    Lilypie - (KNqh)
  • If you're uncomfortable with this, just tell her so.  FWIW, 90% of the gifts at my baby shower were in a gift bag, so it was very quick to open each gift. 

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  • Thanks for the thoughts, ladies. It actually helped a lot to hear the advice "just tell her you're uncomfortable with it." For those interested, this is some of what I wrote back just now: 

    "While I do want to make sure I get a chance to visit with everyone who comes, I would feel a little uncomfortable about asking people to bring unwrapped gifts. I worry that some guests might feel bad about the comparison between gifts if they are sitting out for viewing, especially my younger friends. It just seems like each person gets sort of a "moment" when you unwrap the present they brought, you know? They get to see your face and your surprise. I'm not sure how I could express that kind of gratitude to each person without the unwrapping part, and I would worry that I would "miss" someone."

    I'm still nervous about the response, but I'm glad I was honest. I don't want to feel like I'm micromanaging the party (I don't care at all what they want to do with theme, decorations, or games) but this is a big thing to me, so thanks for giving me the courage to send it. 


    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
    DX with PCOS 2009, married 2010, Baby Boy arrived Sept 2013

                           
  • Good decision.

    I just don't get these kinds of requests at all. It just feels wrong, KWIM? You open the card and then unwrap the gift. We are all accustomed to this. It feels very odd to say "Oh, look, here's a car seat. And now let's open the card...ah, it's from Aunt Tilly. Thanks Aunt Tilly!" It's backwards! LOL

    Opening gifts is not rocket science and it certainly doesn't have to take forever. If it takes a long time, then you're doing it wrong. Ok, I'm done. Enjoy your shower!
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  • image AbbyMMM:

    Thanks for the thoughts, ladies. It actually helped a lot to hear the advice "just tell her you're uncomfortable with it." For those interested, this is some of what I wrote back just now: 

    "While I do want to make sure I get a chance to visit with everyone who comes, I would feel a little uncomfortable about asking people to bring unwrapped gifts. I worry that some guests might feel bad about the comparison between gifts if they are sitting out for viewing, especially my younger friends. It just seems like each person gets sort of a "moment" when you unwrap the present they brought, you know? They get to see your face and your surprise. I'm not sure how I could express that kind of gratitude to each person without the unwrapping part, and I would worry that I would "miss" someone."

    I'm still nervous about the response, but I'm glad I was honest. I don't want to feel like I'm micromanaging the party (I don't care at all what they want to do with theme, decorations, or games) but this is a big thing to me, so thanks for giving me the courage to send it. 

    Sounds like the perfect response!  You're not micromanaging at all...she asked for your opinion and you're looking out for your guests' feelings. 

    BabyFetus Ticker; Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Your response is great. I can't imagine her getting upset with the way you went about it.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker BabyFetus Ticker
  • I guess I'm the odd one out.  This is one request I don't mind on an invitation. I just went to two showers with unwrapped gifts and they were great.  The person of honor spent a lot of time mingling and gifts went really quickly.  I hate sitting through 3 hours of ripping paper.

    That said, I see nothing wrong with your response if it makes you uncomfortable.

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  • Thanks for the support. Haven't heard back from hostess yet - hoping it's because it doesn't matter a lot to her. 

    Have heard back from Mom who is behind me 100% and glad I told her it made me uncomfortable 


    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
    DX with PCOS 2009, married 2010, Baby Boy arrived Sept 2013

                           
  • Your response was perfect, OP.  And I agree, an unwrapped gift for display would make me feel awkward and uncomfortable too.

  • I'm torn on this. I've only been to one shower where this was done.

    On one hand, it was nice to just mingle with the other guests instead of watching the MTB open gifts (no games, thank goodness). I think the MTB enjoyed it because she doesn't like to be the center of attention and I can totally understand that since I'm the same way. It was also nice to be able to ogle all the cute baby stuff without looking like a creeper.

    On the other hand, I'm not at all fond of the way the hostesses went about this. There was no mention on the invitation about not wrapping things. I put a lot of time and effort into making it pretty, and I know several of the other guests did as well. Any gifts that were received were opened by the hostesses when we arrived and displayed. I'll admit that it was kind of disappointing to not see the MTB's reaction when she opened packages. Also, even though the hostesses made a list, the thank you notes were kind of vague (not normal from her), so I'm not sure she really knew who gave what.

  • image Sugaree5335:

    On the other hand, I'm not at all fond of the way the hostesses went about this. There was no mention on the invitation about not wrapping things. I put a lot of time and effort into making it pretty, and I know several of the other guests did as well. Any gifts that were received were opened by the hostesses when we arrived and displayed.

    This is an entirely different thing, though.  While I don't like the "don't wrap the gift" aspect, I could roll w it, I think.  but if someone else actually opened my wrapped gift?  I'd be PISSED, quite honestly. 

    And to what estwd said - the gift opening really should NOT take all that long.  Most showers I've been to, it's been a quick process.  The MTB is quick and efficient about it, and the guests are fine w/ this and WANT it.

    I do have one friend, though, who at her shower took FOREVER.  Every time someone talked, she'd stop unwrapping and sit there and listen to them.  It was painfully slow, and if all gift openings were like that, I'd be all over "don't wrap them!!!".

    But when done efficiently- people expect there to be a gift opening and want to see their gift opened.  It's the POINT of a shower.  If you just want to mingle, then have a party unrelated to the baby or gifts! 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • Aside from being rude to give guests instructions, I also don't get how not unwrapping someone's gift leads to more time to talk to your guests. I mean, if someone just comes in and puts a gift down and you glance at it... uh, okay? Whereas if you unwrap someone's gift, you look at the tag/card, you say, "Oh, this one's from Kate!" then you take your time to unwrap it, and fawn over it, and thank Kate for her gift. So... I absolutely agree that you ARE concentrating on each individual when you unwrap gifts! I think your response was great.
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  • Other people may think this is tacky, but I think it is a GRAND idea.  At my wedding shower, we received SO many gifts that I was there for well over 2 hours opening gifts.  Trying to rush through them all but I didn't want to seem un-appreciative.  I never got to just enjoy myself and my company.  So we are doing unwrapped gifts at my baby shower.  Gifts will be displayed on a table so everyone can look at them at their own leisure.  Plus, just because it is your shower doesn't mean you shouldn't take into account your guests.  I mean, how boring is it to just sit there and stare at a person unwrapping gifts?
  • image SaraB1105:
      Plus, just because it is your shower doesn't mean you shouldn't take into account your guests.  I mean, how boring is it to just sit there and stare at a person unwrapping gifts?
    But this goes in the reverse too.  There are people (i.e. guests at showers) who find this tacky and would be put-off by being told to not wrap their gift.

    Look - I don't find the gift opening particularly exciting. BUT if the overall shower is handled well, there is "other stuff" going on.  most showers I've been to have an ambiance to them that the guests can chit chat w/ one other, get up and move around, etc, while the gift opening is going on.  As long as this is happening- it's all good.

    I have been to one shower, though, where... well, let's just say it truly was BORING.  There was no background music (which I just think is SO important to a good party!) and as such, no one wanted to break the silence.  So we all literally just sat there in total silence and just WATCHED the MTB open her gifts.  Obviously, she'd talk, and as the gift was opened, everyone ooh'ed and aah'ed.  But for the love of God - it was painful to sit through.

    That was the exception, though, to most showers I've been to. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image SaraB1105:
    Other people may think this is tacky, but I think it is a GRAND idea.  At my wedding shower, we received SO many gifts that I was there for well over 2 hours opening gifts.  Trying to rush through them all but I didn't want to seem un-appreciative.  I never got to just enjoy myself and my company.  So we are doing unwrapped gifts at my baby shower.  Gifts will be displayed on a table so everyone can look at them at their own leisure.  Plus, just because it is your shower doesn't mean you shouldn't take into account your guests.  I mean, how boring is it to just sit there and stare at a person unwrapping gifts?

    I can see how it could be fine. It's not what I would prefer. I think people expect to watch you unwrap gifts at a shower. I think that's pretty much what makes it a shower. If you're bored, go talk to someone else while it's happening. Or don't go. 


    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
    DX with PCOS 2009, married 2010, Baby Boy arrived Sept 2013

                           
  • OP, I'm curious to her response to your email. Did you get a reply yet?
  • image AbbyMMM:

    image SaraB1105:
    Other people may think this is tacky, but I think it is a GRAND idea.  At my wedding shower, we received SO many gifts that I was there for well over 2 hours opening gifts.  Trying to rush through them all but I didn't want to seem un-appreciative.  I never got to just enjoy myself and my company.  So we are doing unwrapped gifts at my baby shower.  Gifts will be displayed on a table so everyone can look at them at their own leisure.  Plus, just because it is your shower doesn't mean you shouldn't take into account your guests.  I mean, how boring is it to just sit there and stare at a person unwrapping gifts?

    I can see how it could be fine. It's not what I would prefer. I think people expect to watch you unwrap gifts at a shower. I think that's pretty much what makes it a shower. If you're bored, go talk to someone else while it's happening. Or don't go. 



    I would say that if your shower has so many gifts it becomes a boring chore, you should just invite less people. Less gifts to open, problem solved.
  • Um, no.

    I attended a shower once where the hostesses torn the wrapping off the gifts before handing them to the guest of honor so 'speed things up".  It was horrid.  People had gone to great effort to beautifully wrap their gifts and the hostesses just tore them to pieces.

    Same guest of honor, fast forward to her baby shower (previous story was her bridal shower), she didn't even open gifts.  Um.  I really would have liked to see her reaction to the gift I spent time picking out!  She hosted my shower and suggested that I do the same but I told her, no, I would open gifts like tradition dictated (I was gentle about it, of course)

    People KNOW that they are going to sit through a gift opening session at a shower because that is the POINT of the shower: gifts!  Bucking tradition tends to piss people off.

  • Personaly, I don't like this idea and I really dislike being told how to present my gift!  I would not abide by this request and would bring my gift wrapped.  I think she will find (at the shower) that some guests will still wrap the gift.

    Even if gifts are brought unwrapped the MTB would still have to look at each one and acknowledge it.. time would still be taken up. Seriously if I brought a gift (wrapped or unwrapped) and it was just sitting on a table and the MTB didn't even look at it (in my presence) I'd be offended and wonder why I bothered even coming to the shower.  I could have just sent a gift card via mail.

  • image SaraB1105:
    Other people may think this is tacky, but I think it is a GRAND idea.  At my wedding shower, we received SO many gifts that I was there for well over 2 hours opening gifts.  Trying to rush through them all but I didn't want to seem un-appreciative.  I never got to just enjoy myself and my company.  So we are doing unwrapped gifts at my baby shower.  Gifts will be displayed on a table so everyone can look at them at their own leisure.  Plus, just because it is your shower doesn't mean you shouldn't take into account your guests.  I mean, how boring is it to just sit there and stare at a person unwrapping gifts?

     

    Maybe try inviting less than 100 people to your baby shower. CLOSE friends and family only.

     

    I bet you had 8+ bridesmaids, didn't you? 

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  • OP I'm glad you said no. I'm with you and I dislike the idea immensely. If I am going to take the time to find a gift and give up my afternoon to spend it at your shower, I feel like you can take the 30 seconds to open and acknowledge the gift I got you. I'm going to a shower tomorrow where they asked us not to wrap, but I'm doing it anyway. The MTB and hostess both know I think this is tacky and will probably just roll their eyes at me but I don't really care.
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  • image deltagirl79:
    OP I'm glad you said no. I'm with you and I dislike the idea immensely. If I am going to take the time to find a gift and give up my afternoon to spend it at your shower, I feel like you can take the 30 seconds to open and acknowledge the gift I got you. I'm going to a shower tomorrow where they asked us not to wrap, but I'm doing it anyway. The MTB and hostess both know I think this is tacky and will probably just roll their eyes at me but I don't really care.

    I agree with you and I would do the same as you.  I'm thinking there wlll be other guests that also wrap their gift.  Let us know how it goes.

  • image jencnh:
    OP, I'm curious to her response to your email. Did you get a reply yet?


    Just got a response last night. Seems like her response is to let it slide. She started emailing me with unrelated registry questions. I'm going to let it go and only address it again if she brings it up.
    She showed me the invitation too and there's no mention of the idea. So I am hoping it is water under the bridge. Thanks all of you for your thoughts. I'm so glad I was honest about this one and didn't just go with the flow.

    Lilypie First Birthday tickers
    DX with PCOS 2009, married 2010, Baby Boy arrived Sept 2013

                           
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