Author Topic: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?  (Read 2635 times)

Kitsune

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What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« on: October 21, 2016, 11:45:50 AM »
Hey guys,

Hoping to find a reasonable balance for what's socially acceptable/accepted and what we can afford. For the record: no presents for anyone would NOT be seen positively in our social circles (or in most people's social circles, I think).

Situation: we've been getting invitations to baby showers/wedding showers/weddings. A LOT OF BABY SHOWERS. And, while I make most of the presents so they're overall affordable and fun to make... they add up, both for time and money.

Sometimes, presence/presents are socially obligatory, obviously. My SIL's baby shower? My sister's wedding? My cousin who I grew up with? All obligatory. Ok.

Sometimes it's obviously not. My colleague's kid, the girl 3 apartments down, whatever.

Sometimes it's... unclear. Recent examples: my husband's second cousin (close-knit extended family in a small town), who I've seen maybe once a year in the past 5 years, is having a shower 2 hours from where we live. It's a Big Family Thing and the entire extended family seems to be getting together to be there, but... *sigh*

Basically, guys - what's the line at which you feel you have to GO? What's the line that makes sending a present fine? What's the line that makes sending a 'congrats' card ok?

In short: I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or be seen as cold/ungenerous/unwelcoming, but at the same time I just don't have the time/resources to do everything, and I'm trying to balance that in a sensible way, and you guys tend to be a sensible bunch, so... work your advice. :)

tryingtosave

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 11:53:27 AM »
I remember reading somewhere that suggested if you have not seen the person in 2 years, then its ok. Obviously, there are exceptions.

If its family or extended family and everyone is going. Then I think you are stuck there.

Goldielocks

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 11:55:10 AM »
Obligatory attendance (in area events only) -- Sister, SIL, cousin or friend you grew up with, shower that you are hosting.

Near obligatory -- the shower that your sister or mother is hosting (so you can assist the host), the work colleague with a shower at lunchhour across from your cubicle and you can't work from home that week or get out of the picture. --- e.g., everyone sees you everytime the door opens to the party...

All other are optional.  Just say "sorry, I am busy that day, have fun"...  do NOT travel more then 30 minutes drive for a shower unless you really WANT to go.

Presents -- You can get away with just a card, if you like.. baby bib, something new but from thrift store..$5 is ok you know, they get so much stuff from everyone else, they won't notice..   Obviously you may WANT to make something for those very close to you.

CanuckExpat

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 11:58:59 AM »
I think the general etiquette rule is "a gift is never expected, but always appreciated".
Showers might be the exception, but I would skip them all, I find showers distasteful.

For other gift giving, many times I tend towards making a donation in honor of the person to a charity I think they would support. The amount for the gift comes out of the amount I would have allocated to give to charity, so it is a net neutral for my spending. If I don't know the person well enough to think of a charity they would support, I don't know them well enough to attend and/or give a gift.

CheapskateWife

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 12:01:08 PM »
Perhaps you could consider an alternative to a gift of stuff in a gift of time/effort.  For these new mom's, how about a coupon (I know, cheesy) for something like you bringing a dinner to their home after the new little one arrives.  Are you crafty at all?  Would a handmade gift be appreciated?

Kitsune

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 12:07:35 PM »
Perhaps you could consider an alternative to a gift of stuff in a gift of time/effort.  For these new mom's, how about a coupon (I know, cheesy) for something like you bringing a dinner to their home after the new little one arrives.  Are you crafty at all?  Would a handmade gift be appreciated?

I'm pretty crafty - my current go-to gift is a set of a wooden rattle, wood teething ring with cloth attachment, and a bandana-like bib (about 2 hours and maybe 5$ of material, but buying similar on Etsy would cost 40-50$, so it looks pretty impressive). I'll occasionally add a bath mitt shaped like a teddy, or something like that. I've been experimenting with making leather Mocs for my daughter, so those might get added if they work out well enough. Skillz, yo. ;)

I seriously don't mind the time/money, for the most part - I do pretty impressive work for limited resources - but it's where do I draw the line to "no, seriously, that's not necessary" - aka, I want it to be something I enjoy doing because I care, not an obligation because I recieved an invite. if that makes sense.

For the record: for my husbands cousin, I'm totally sending along a nicely-wrapped package and not going, because I am 100% using the "I am 6 months pregnant myself and have a toddler and I am not spending 4 hours in a car for a party at this point because I am exhausted" card. I'm pretty sure no one sensible would hold that against me. ;)

CloserToFree

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 12:31:50 PM »
I'm also in the stage of life where we're getting bombarded with wedding and baby shower invitations (all exciting in a good way, of course, but...enough already with all the associated spending!).  My thoughts:
-if you go to the shower or wedding, you definitely have to bring or send some sort of a gift.  But feel free to put together an inexpensive gift yourself (basket with goodies for ex.) rather than buy something off the expensive registry.  While most people say they want the registry gifts, I've actually enjoyed the personalized gifts that reflect a lot of love and thought even more than a fancy item from the (baby or wedding) registry.
-if you don't go to the event, up to you about whether you send a gift or not.  A card is a great idea and often is sufficient, especially if you write a heartfelt note.  I only send gifts if the event is for a good friend or family member.
-for baby showers, I've started going the children's book route -- they're often really cheap and you still show up with a gift to open.

Stachetastic

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 01:13:32 PM »
I loathe showers, and have vowed to only attend them for VERY close friends and family. And maybe not even then. I always send a gift--not crafty, so it's usually a gift card and book or something simple. I consider myself pretty damn frugal, but in this case, I consider the time investment over the money. I was recently invited to a shower for a former coworker, with whom I never even worked in the same department. Neither of us works for that company anymore, either. I was really surprised at the invitation, but it was hosted by a mutual friend who must've assumed we were close with one another since we're both close with her. Anyway, no way was I going to sacrifice my Saturday evening for that nonsense, and I offered no apologies. I'm sure she didn't even notice, let alone get upset about it.

My advice? You do you. Expectant mothers and brides-to-be are inundated with gifts and well wishes. I highly doubt they will lose sleep over who showed up or who got them what.

mozar

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 01:24:05 PM »
The way my mothers family decides where to go (if we see them once a year or less) is if the person having the baby, getting married etc is the eldest or only son. Sexist, but I've gotten out of a lot of events.
Even congratulations texts. I had to text my cousin congrats when her son and daughter were born, but I didn't have to text her younger sister for her 3 children.

Kitsune

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2016, 01:34:02 PM »
The way my mothers family decides where to go (if we see them once a year or less) is if the person having the baby, getting married etc is the eldest or only son. Sexist, but I've gotten out of a lot of events.
Even congratulations texts. I had to text my cousin congrats when her son and daughter were born, but I didn't have to text her younger sister for her 3 children.

So, yknow what I said in the original post about socially acceptable behaviour and not hurting people's feelings? THIS IS RELEVANT HERE.

MsPeacock

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2016, 05:59:09 PM »
The way my mothers family decides where to go (if we see them once a year or less) is if the person having the baby, getting married etc is the eldest or only son. Sexist, but I've gotten out of a lot of events.
Even congratulations texts. I had to text my cousin congrats when her son and daughter were born, but I didn't have to text her younger sister for her 3 children.

So, yknow what I said in the original post about socially acceptable behaviour and not hurting people's feelings? THIS IS RELEVANT HERE.

+1

Scratching head over just why it would be so painful or hard to send a text congratulating someone on a new baby. I mean, I get the gift giving and travel stuff, absolutely - but a text???

Ann

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Re: What's the line for 'needing' to give wedding/shower presents?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2016, 06:43:58 PM »
...or other gift giving, many times I tend towards making a donation in honor of the person to a charity I think they would support. The amount for the gift comes out of the amount I would have allocated to give to charity, so it is a net neutral for my spending. If I don't know the person well enough to think of a charity they would support, I don't know them well enough to attend and/or give a gift.

Hmmm.  Just keep in mind that the "I gave to a charity in your name" does not always come off well.  If you want to give to charity, then do it.  Don't do it in my name.  It feels like ... boasting to me?  I don't ask for gifts (at this point in my life, I can't pretend I didn't when I was young), and have never invited anyone to or had a gift shower.  I have enough "stuff", so please, keep your money.  You don't have to tell me what a wonderful civic-minded person you are, and I should thank you and acknowledge that but also you are so humble that you told everyone it was actually me who was donating.  I know that's not how it's meant.  It can be interpreted that *I* inspired you to help this cause.

Meh.  Somewhat small minded of me, but that is how that situation comes across to me.  Surely there are others who view it quite favorably.  Just be aware it is not everyone.

I just realized you never said you donated in someone else's name, so not entirely relevant.