Etiquette for a Monetary Gift for a Baby Shower

by Amy S. Jorgensen

Two guests holding gifts stand outside with the mother to be.

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Baby showers provide an opportunity for friends and family to celebrate with expecting parents. As the name suggests, the event also allows people close to the mom-to-be to shower her with presents for the new baby. Because of busy schedules, guests might find it easier to hand the future mom some money instead of a gift. While technically not a violation of etiquette rules, gift cards are a more thoughtful alternative.

Cash Etiquette for Hosts & Expecting Moms

While guests can give cash gifts without violating shower etiquette rules, expecting moms and shower hosts should never request cash or expect money from invited individuals. Many parents may hope to receive cash that can be used toward purchasing bigger items, such as strollers and car seats. However, neither the parents-to-be nor the shower host should volunteer that information to guests on the invitations. If a guest asks when she RSVPs, the host may offer the option but even then asking for money only is in bad taste.

Gift Cards: The Better Option

Although cash can be a useful gift for new parents. people usually view cash gifts as less thoughtful than actual presents. To avoid that drawback, guests can give gift cards instead of a wad of bills stuffed into a card. Guests can ask the shower host for store recommendations or simply purchase a gift card from the same location where the mom-to-be has registered for shower gifts. If time is an issue, most stores sell their gift cards through online stores or they can be quickly purchased right at the checkout lines at most brick-and-mortar stores. According to feedback from moms at BabyCenter, gift cards are one of their favorite shower gifts. Cash did not make the list.

Determining the Gift Amount

Whether purchasing a present, giving a gift card or handing over cash, shower guests need to consider how much to spend. No hard etiquette rules dictate this aspect of shower gift-giving. Instead, the guiding principle is how close a guest is to the parent-to-be. If you are going to a shower for someone you work with or barely know, you can spend around $20 on a gift. If the shower is for a friend you have known for awhile, consider spending about $50 on a present. Finally, you might want to spend around $100 on presents for a family member's or your best friend's shower. Those are just suggestions, however. You also need to consider your financial resources, the number of showers you have attended recently and what you are giving as a gift. For example, giving a $20 gift card may seem less impressive than putting together a gift basket containing $20 in baby supplies.

Other Gift Options to Consider

Parents-to-be typically want practical gifts. Diapers, for example, make a great gift. Before you make the purchase, however, ask the shower host whether the parents prefer disposable or cloth diapers. Parents-to-be also appreciate the little things they may not remember they need: baby medications, a thermometer, burp clothes or a bottle brush. Books always make a thoughtful gift, too. If money is tight, think creatively: offer a couple of hours of free babysitting after the baby arrives so the parents can have a couple's night out or put together a collection of dinner recipes that are cheap, easy, and fast for the new parents.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. She is also an amateur dog trainer. She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field.