Whether or not you have friends who are expecting babies, finding the right baby-shower gifts (and knowing how to react to all of the weird baby-shower games) takes some planning. You love your friends and want to wish them well on their future miniatures, but the rules of baby-shower gift giving are sometimes unclear. For example, if a coworker invites you to a shower, how much are you expected to spend? Although exact amounts will depend on your individual situation, here’s a guide to thinking about baby-shower gifts:
1. Buy off the registry, if there is one.
Many expectant parents sign up for baby-shower registries. Professional baby planner Lisa Cattie reminds us that it’s best to buy from the registry, since you know you’ll be getting an item the parents really need. One way to pay for a single expensive registry item with a big group is to use Deposit a Gift, which is a website that lets multiple people contribute smaller installments toward a larger goal. That way, no one person has to be the money collector.
2. If you don’t go to the shower, give something small.
If your coworker invited you to her baby shower but you didn’t go, bring something small to work the next day. The gift doesn’t have to be worth more than $20 or $30; it just needs to be useful and show that you care.
3. Embrace the homemade.
Baby gifts can be kind of weird and gross, but the key is to give your friend something she can really use. For a creative—and surprisingly tasteful—way to give her something she’ll really use, frugal mommy blogger Jessica Katz suggests creating a “diaper cake.” If you’re crafty or have scrapbooking experience, consider creating a baby book for the new parents, with prettily designed spaces to write key facts like height, weight, and milestones.
4. Don’t forget the mother.
There are only so many pairs of baby clothes a woman can receive in one day. (Not to mention the fact that the little one will probably just outgrow them within a couple months, anyway.) Instead of buying solely for the baby, we like breaking the mold at baby showers by giving gifts to the expectant mother that will help her relax while she’s in anticipation. Possibilities include candles, soothing eye pillows, and bath salts.
Originally published on LearnVest