No one wants to be the controlling mom-to-be who has an opinion about every single aspect of her baby shower. Baby showers are gifts in themselves, if you think about it, since your mom or best friend is going out of her way to make sure you have a good time and get a little help with the costs of nursery preparation. But you don’t have to sit back and watch helplessly as your party planner calls all the shots – particularly when it comes to your gift list. There are ways to get what you want nicely, regardless of what that is.
Gift registries: The easy way out
Setting up gift registries is the simplest way to let people know which items you want. Not only do you get to pick your ideal gifts, but you’re making it easier for some guests to think of gift ideas. While not everyone is going to purchase something off the list, you can expect to get a reasonable amount of the things you want. You won’t have to worry about getting too many duplicate gifts, either. Registries let guests know when certain items have already been purchased. Just have your shower planner include the information on the invitations.
The best items to include on the registry are things that you absolutely need. If you’re a first-time mother and aren’t entirely sure what’s going to be the most useful, bring a friend to the store with you who has more experience. She’ll be able to tell you what helped her when she was taking care of her newborn and what turned out to be unnecessary. Don’t be shy about adding things to the registry – choose items from all price ranges so your guests can find a gift they can afford. From spoons, to diapers, to blankets, to cribs, there’s no wrong choice you can make.
Behind-the-scenes wish list
If you’d rather not make a registry list, you don’t have to. This will allow your guests to be a little more creative, and you can still get some of the things you want. For big-ticket items like strollers and cribs, it’s OK to ask family members for these items directly. They’re usually more than happy to spend a little more on their soon-to-be niece, nephew, grandson or granddaughter. If you know a few things that you’d like from the rest of your guests, tell your shower planner what they are. That way, if any guests ask what kinds of things you’re looking for, she’ll be able to give them an idea.
If you have a lot of the basic gear already, one idea is to ask your family and friends for subscriptions to monthly care packages. Companies like Citrus Lane, Bluum and 10 Storks all deliver packages with goodies for you and your newborn, from pregnancy skincare items, to toys, to books. It’s like getting a new present every month, and the cost of a subscription is manageable if your friends and family all take part. Citrus Lane is anywhere from $19 to $29 a month depending on the length of the subscription.
If you don’t want big gifts or if you have a lot of what you already need, one option is to have a themed gift list. For example, have your planner write on the invitations that it’s a “Baby’s first library” shower, where everyone brings books. Or, make it a favor or advice shower, where each guest writes down a favor she’s willing to do for you while you’re busy with the baby or a piece of advice that will help you get through the first few months. You could also ask everyone to donate to a fund you’re passionate about in lieu of gifts.