Baby showers are a beautiful American tradition that started during the baby boomer phenomenon beginning in the late 1940s. Presents are integral to this festivity. But, how do you ask for baby shower gifts?
When asking for a baby shower gift, avoid a direct request for a product. Ask for gift cards from select stores, money, or create a wish list instead.
You shouldn’t have to worry about asking for gifts since most people understand it’s equally rude to not bring one.
Asking for Gift Cards as a Baby Shower Gift
Gift cards are a great present for a baby shower but asking for one is going to take subtlety and suggestion. There are a few pointers, but it will ultimately be up to you, the host of the party, and the character of the people attending the baby shower.
If someone else is setting up the party for you, it’s possible to have them inform and arrange the gift cards you want. This way you’re removed from the equation and you’re not asking the guests directly for anything specific.
Be Subtle in Asking
You could also put some “subliminal messages” out on your social media page, during a phone call, in an email, or in some other communication. This will be useful if you’re setting up the baby shower by yourself. The point is to not be obvious about it. Use tact, diplomacy, and be suggestive.
For instance, you could find something you like at a particular store and post it on your social media page as something that will be useful for your new baby. But, when you include the text, don’t say something like:
“If anyone takes interest in buying me a gift for my baby shower, a gift card for this playpen would be ideal.”
Instead, say something like:
“This playpen would be so cute for the new nursery! I can’t wait to be a mom!”
Analysis for Word Choice
Let’s evaluate these two sentences for their context and how it comes off to other people. Doing this little exercise will help you with your word choice.
Notice the first example and observe the overall tone. It starts immediately assuming the reader has no interest. If that’s the case, then why should anyone want to bring you a gift at all? Plus, the wording focuses all the attention on you – not your child or any other potential benefit.
The second example does put attention on the mother-to-be, but in a different way that people can share. If a potential guest knows your nursery and agrees with what you say, they will either buy the playpen or give you a gift card anyway.
Email, Text & Phone Conversations
If you’re in a conversation with one of the shower guests, don’t outright ask for a gift unless they ask you what you want first.
You’ll have to fit it into the conversation in a clever way when the window is open for it.
Don’t interject that you want a gift card at random or start your conversation that way.
Of course, not every conversation will encompass the same topics or context as the sample below. You can use whatever other words you need according to the conversation. But the main takeaway is to slide in that you’re curious about what they’re bringing. You can work in your question for asking for a gift card when they leave that opportunity open.
Guest: “Hey Sally! How are you doing? I’m looking forward to your baby shower this weekend. Do you want me to bring anything or do you need any help setting up?”
Mother-to-Be/Host: “Hi Mona! I’m good, I hope you are well. I’m looking forward to the shower too. Between decorating the nursery, shopping for things the baby will need and making sure everything is set for the party, I’m a little swamped but I’m handling it like a champ. Were you thinking about bringing anything special along?”
Guest: “That’s why I’m calling/writing, do YOU want me to bring anything?”
MtB/Host: “Aside from your beautiful face and maybe a gift card from Target, that’s it!”
Adjusting Your Response
After the guest answers the question about your inquiry about what they’re bringing, if you say something like the sample above, make sure you make a joke.
When you say something like, “. . . and maybe a gift card from Target . . .” that you make it cute and kitschy. Don’t be serious and only say something like that if the person you’re speaking with knows your sense of humor to be that way.
Putting It in the Invitation
One of the easiest ways to ask for gift cards without being totally in someone’s face about it is by asking for it at the bottom or end of the invitation. You could say:
**For those interested in giving a gift, we need gift cards to: [list the stores you want]**
Asking for Specific Items as a Baby Shower Gift
Of course, there’s always something particular you’re eyeballing that would either be perfect for your baby’s nursery or an item of clothing that would be adorable on your precious newborn babe.
The best way to overcome the hurdle of asking for it outright is to set up a gift registry or use the same suggestions as listed above for gift cards.
The only downfall with setting up a gift registry is that all the gifts you set up will come from the same store. This increases the potential for people to double gift the same thing. While you could set up several registries, it may be more confusing and cumbersome in the end. Always keep things simple for you and your guests.
Gift Receipt Requests
But, if you do go the gift registry route, understand that double gifting will become highly likely. There are some solutions you can attempt in an effort for damage control beforehand or afterward. When you send out the invitations, you can include something like the following at the end of it:
** Please bring your gift receipt with you, just in case!**
Hopefully doing this won’t upset anyone or hurt their feelings, but that’s the best pre-measure. However, if you want to do it afterward, you can request it on an individual basis. For instance, you could make a private call or email and say with sincerity:
“We loved the jumper you bought, but Aunt Rachel also bought the same one. She flew back home this morning, I was wondering if it would be okay with you to get the receipt so I can exchange it for something else?”
About Luxury Items
Never ask for a luxury item, even if you do ask for a gift outright. When you have a registry, you can put it there, but you should also have a good mix of varying price tags with a majority of items sitting in an average price range.
You should buy luxurious and expensive items either with your own money, with the gift cards you receive, or as a gift from a close friend or family member.
Remember, these are gifts and they come from the heart and care of another person. You should never be expectant of gifts, even if it’s appropriate to do so.
Asking for Money as a Baby Shower Gift
Giving money, at one time, was taboo, especially for a baby shower. There’s an old wives’ tale that suggests receiving money at a baby shower is a bad omen. Most people do understand that a gift is an object, not money.
There may be a good reason for asking for money rather than gifts at a baby shower though. But considering certain financial hardships many people are facing in these times, friends, family, and loved ones will understand the request. However, others who aren’t so close may not understand and you will therefore have to be tactful about it.
Cash Fund or Ask Outright
You can either set up a fund for things like education, college, clothes, or diapers. This will make it easier to ask for money.
Or, you could ask outright if you’re serious that down and out with your finances.
As with the other suggestions above in asking for gift cards or specific items, you can include a note in the invitation and say something like:
**We cordially invite you to the baby shower on June 14th, 2022. It’s been an amazing year and the promise of this new baby brings lots of hope after all the hardships my husband and I endured. Therefore, this celebration means so much. We can’t wait to see you!**
**P.S. For those who wish to bring a gift, we ask that you put money toward our baby’s fund (college, education, diapers, etc)**
**P.S. Please forgive this asking, but if you would like to bring a gift, we ask that you give cash. Thank you in advance.**
Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.