Baby showers: the opening of gifts

You might have picked up that I’m not a fan of baby showers. I generally come up with an excuse not to attend them because as a single woman with no biological clock, I find them excruciatingly boring. Particularly the 1-2 hours that’s taken up with The Opening of The Presents.

A good, long-standing friend is having her first baby in December and as her only bridesmaid, it’s kind of naturally fallen onto me to organise her baby shower. Eeek. I love her to bits and want her to have a wonderful shower so am having to put my personal feelings aside. She likes to know what’s happening so I’ve kept her in the loop about the format of the shower, etc.and I’m making an effort to do some nice things for it.

Because I find the present opening so painful (she’s commented on it too in the past) I suggested we just ask the guests to leave gifts on a table somewhere, for her to open later with her husband. She’d prefer to open them there and then though – but has promised to do it quickly 🙂 It’s her shower, so we’ll do it the way she wants it.

It just got me thinking though… I don’t think I’d open gifts at my own shower. Does anyone else think that opening gifts at a shower and oohing and aahing over them isn’t a bit:

  • Tacky?
  • Competitive? ( i.e. is my gift nicer than yours…)
  • Boring? (Although I must admit the child-free people at this shower will be in a distinct minority so maybe people will be genuinely interested in babygros, breast pumps and nappies…)

If people don’t open their gifts and parade them in front of everyone at birthday parties and weddings, why is this done at bridal and baby showers? I genuinely would like to know, as I feel like I must be missing something.

I just had a huge argument with my mother about this (usually we get on exceptionally well) – she says my ideas are far too fixed and I need to realise that my opinion isn’t the only one. She said some other stuff too that was really hurtful but that’s another issue. I just hate that this baby shower business triggered it. I know that I have a one-sided view – that’s why I’m genuinely trying to understand what other people think about this.

Can anyone shed some light please?!

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One thought on “Baby showers: the opening of gifts

  1. I definitely agree with your position on showers- I hate them. They are so unbelievably materialistic and childish. It’s like a little kid’s birthday party. I almost can stand baby showers more than wedding showers though- a baby needs stuff and can’t really get it themselves, and it’s so expensive to provide for a baby, it makes some sense that other people might chip in (of course, I don’t understand why all these other people chipping in need to be women. Let’s let some men suffer through a shower one of these days, eh?) Wedding showers on the other are my #1 pet peeve. I, a single person living on one income, must, for some inexplicable reason, subsidize a person who is about to combine not only incomes, but all of their household items with another person, but yet, need a third of everything, in a nicer version, because “married people like nice things” (direct quote from my mother). Then of course there’s again the sexist issue that showers are almost always exclusively women giving women tools for housework.

    BUT I can answer your question as to why the presents are opened at the shower: because that’s the entire point of a shower. You are “showering” this person with gifts. There is no reason for a shower other than the gifts. Sure, we serve quiches and finger sandwiches to keep everyone from running out the door screaming, but none of that is really the point. But you’re right- an adult doesn’t open gifts at their birthday party (which is supposed to more of a gathering of friends and celebration of life, rather than being purely functional and about grabbing lots of loot) but KIDS open presents at birthday parties. To me, showers are just another “tradition” that allows women who are getting married or having babies to act like children with a crown on their head.

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