20-40-60 Etiquette---How about family members hosting baby showers?
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By Callie Athey, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace
QUESTION: Is it ok if I have a baby shower for my sister? My mother thinks that her friends should be the one having it and not me. Is that etiquette rule outdated?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: If you want to have a baby shower then absolutely! There will be so many other ways you shower your sister and that baby though; it doesn’t really matter. Congrats to your family!
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Traditionally, immediate family members don’t host baby showers because doing so can strike guests as self-serving – after all, families are seen as one unit, and depending on how the shower is presented, it can come across as a family gift grab. (Are you the only host? Are you and your sister close friends beyond the family?) But I’ve also known sisters who are close in age and have the same set of friends and the sister has joined with other friends who offered first. I think that makes sense; it keeps the focus on celebrating the baby with friends who want to help the mom.
Hosting a baby shower for your sister is a sweet gesture for you to make, but there are likely other ways to celebrate your sister’s baby without asking for gifts on her behalf. After all, new moms need a lot of support and help in myriad ways, from getting ready before the birth to meals afterward.
But if you host one with the right intentions, it is not the end of the world or a criminal etiquette offense. As we have learned from this column and from real life, there are plenty of more serious ways that people offend others, etiquette-wise, than sincerely wanting to do something nice for someone else.
HELEN’S ANSWER: Good manners still dictate that friends are hosts for a baby shower. That way you are not perceived as asking for gifts for your family. In today’s world, it is good when several friends go together to plan a party and can share costs of the event. If you want to help them in the planning, I see nothing wrong with that, but I don’t think your name should be on the invitation. You should certainly go and take a great present for your new niece or nephew.
You could also plan a “family only” party for your sister. Ask all the relatives over before the baby arrives or after he/she comes. You will probably have a big crowd if you wait for the newborn as everyone would be happy to meet a new family member.
GUEST’S ANSWER: Kathy Walker, local community leader: How excited you must be for your sister and the recognition of your becoming an aunt! However, don’t let your intoxication for pink or blue cloud your good manners.
Accordingly, it would be best if a close friend or friends of your sister or your family could host the baby shower honoring the mother of your soon-to be niece or nephew. You might consider this thought “old school,” but it could be the safer route. Otherwise, your hosting of the event could smack of your family’s asking others for gifts.
Of course you want to honor your sister and rejoice in this new addition to your family. If you want to have a party to celebrate, perhaps you could host a “sip and see” (which does not involve gift giving) for the new baby after he or she is born.
If none of her friends or your family friends offer to give a baby shower for your sister, perhaps then you could host a shower for family members and one or two of your sister’s best friends.
I’ve been a guest at baby showers for the mother-to-be hosted by sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins and dear friends of the honoree. Throwing etiquette aside, I’ve been privileged to be included at each party because of the universal theme---celebrating a new life to be born into the fold of family and friends. This life is the most cherished gift of all, and it will be given to your sister and your family.
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for... Read more ›
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman Read more ›
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a... Read more ›