My husband and I have big families and a large church community that will definitely want to throw us a shower or two for our first baby (due in August). However, we have a small home and are not at all interested in collecting a lot of stuff. I won't refuse a shower as I love the thought of celebrating with our friends, but I'd love to find a way to tactfully ask for either contributions to big items or absolute necessities like diapers and wipes. I know that may sound rude, but I feel it would be worse to not indicate our preferences and end up returning most of the stuff people get us.
In all honesty, I'd rather have guests make donations to help children in third-world countries, but I know we'd end up getting gifts anyway.