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Q&A: What's the etiquette around baby shower gifts? Can I request money?

Q: I’m curious about baby shower etiquette. I’m getting a lot of hand-me-downs so I don’t need everything. Can I just ask for money or gift cards instead of doing a registry?

A: With baby showers, as with any major occasion, asking for straight up cash is straight up wrong, offensive, tacky … Should we go on?

There are so many other options when it comes to gift-giving for Baby that there’s no need to ask for money. Gift cards are all the rage and an easy way to overcome this etiquette dilemma. Gift cards are perfectly acceptable and appropriate, and you’ll find that most places—from baby boutiques to superstores to online retailers—make it a convenient and easy option. Many times you can even add “We love gift cards” as a personal note on your registry.

Keep in mind that people love to buy baby gifts, so even if you don’t plan on creating a proper registry, we suggest making it clear on the baby shower invite the stores you most frequent. Why not give your friends, families, co-workers, etc. at least a minimal roadmap to help them make gift choices that best suit your needs. You can even name your favorite place to shop on the invitation. That way, whether it’s a group from the office contributing towards the stroller or a neighbor who just wants to bring by “a little something,” they’ll have an idea of where you shop, as well as your taste and style.

And remember, don’t feel the need to be coy when someone asks, “What can I get you for the baby?” Saying cash would be crass, but saying “A gift card to _____” is all class.

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