DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am expecting my first child in August. What to do about the baby shower? I’m disappointed to miss the chance to gather with our friends and family, and like many couples, we would greatly appreciate gifts. Sweet toys and blankets will be loved today and treasured keepsakes tomorrow, and more practical gifts will be greatly appreciated lifesavers!
I have seen “virtual” or “remote” showers suggested. One forum even recommended a drive-by shower, where people drop off gifts in the driveway while the couple sit in lawn chairs and wave, like some sort of feudal lord and lady gathering tributes from their subjects!
To me, a baby shower should be an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, and should include food, drink, entertainment, party favors, conversation and togetherness. Gifts are an optional yet non-negligible “bonus” of the event. Without the party, a registry seems a purely materialistic grab. On the other hand, if it were a friend having a baby in this uncertain time, I would eagerly contribute a gift and be the first in the tribute-drive-by!
What would Miss Manners do?
GENTLE READER: Aside from not planning her own shower? And aside from reacting in horror, as you do, to the idea of presiding at a sort of viewing stand for the purpose of collecting tributes?
She would be happily anticipating the birth of the baby, secure in the knowledge that friends and family will be even happier to celebrate after that event (and perhaps to bring those keepsakes-to-be).
It should not matter that this will not take the form of a shower. If, by then, people are still not able to pay the customary first visit to a new baby, surely you will want to have virtual visits with them.