You plan your shower, register for the perfect Winnie-the-Pooh nursery themed items, and your aunt gives Baby a Thomas the Train crib set. It's a generous gift, but not at all what you wanted for your baby. What to do?
When Jamie was expecting her son last summer, she selected a John Deere baby shower theme. "Our registry stated the theme, our invites for the shower were centered around it, and most people in one way or another incorporated something John Deere into their gifts to us," says Jamie. One person at the shower, however, was so excited about the gift that she had purchased that she kept urging Jamie to open the green box.
When Jamie got around to opening her gift, she thought it must be something personalized with John Deere.
"Everyone was inching their heads a little closer to see what the 'great' gift was," says Jamie. "She had purchased a nice nursery lamp and picture frame both with a Noah's Ark theme."
This is a common situation for expectant and new parents who are being showered with gifts.
What is the best way to handle that inevitable awful gift? How should parents solve the problem of having four of the same exact outfit? And what should Jamie do with that mismatched baby lamp?
Here, we've gathered advice from etiquette experts and regular moms to help you navigate the sometimes messy world of receiving baby gifts.
How to Respond?
No matter how flabbergasted you are upon opening a gift so far from your tastes, style, or preferences (a newborn hat with a skull and crossbones on it? a Precious Moments calendar?), graciousness is the key. If you open the gift while the giver is there with you, such as at a baby shower, simply thank her for her thoughtfulness and generosity and move along to the next gift.
Sandi, a Babyzone.com mom, says that she avoids characters appearing on clothing or furnishings—Spiderman, Shrek, Nemo, and above all, Disney Princesses. Nevertheless, she did receive some things with those characters emblazoned on them.
"But having read my share of Miss Manners columns, and lacking a gift receipt (which to me indicates the giver would not bat an eye to think you'd exchange the gift), I simply wrote a very appreciative note. I may not have mentioned the gift per se. I may have waxed poetic about the value of friends, about the love shown to children, etc., and dropped the note at the post office on my way to the Goodwill drop-off box," says Sandi.
No matter how bad a gift is, "being polite and appreciating the thought can get you through much awkwardness!" says Sandi.