DEAR MISS MANNERS: My son, who is in the Navy, and his wife are expecting their first child. I wanted to have a shower for them, but they are unable to come back home to attend it.
What, if anything, is the proper way to have something for them without it being seen as tacky? Can I do a welcoming event by sending out cards with the baby's name and expected birth date on it? What would be the best wording to use for such a thing?
Most of her family lives in one area, and they will be having a small shower for her when she goes home for a week. Our family is spread out all over the East Coast.
I am at a loss. I don't want to wait until after the baby is born because anyone who has children knows how all the little things can add up pretty quickly. Also, doing something online or virtual is out because we have a lot of older guests that wouldn't know what to do or how to do it. HELP!!!
GENTLE READER: ALL RIGHT!!! (But if you don't like the answer, please refrain from shouting at Miss Manners again.)
An expected birth date announcement is not only strange, but also pointless, as it could easily turn out to be inaccurate.
Anyway, relatives are not supposed to give showers (although that should not be used as an excuse to criticize the in-laws). It makes it look as if their only motivation for entertaining is to extract presents, which, in your cases, is only too clear.
With a bit of patience, you could announce the baby's actual birth, or even, if the family is coming to visit, invite people to meet the newest relative. Many will respond -- don't get over-excited here -- by sending presents. The notion that all necessities must be in place before the baby is born is a silly one.