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diaper raffles baby shower

Diaper Raffles & “Books in Lieu of Cards” Requests: Top Etiquette Tips

by Jennifer Lim
Popular examples of baby shower “special requests” include diaper raffles and baby gambling pools, all of which are listed upfront in the invitation.

In my social circle, it is not unusual to include a “books in lieu of cards” request in the shower invitation. Personally, I get excited thinking about the treasured books from my childhood that I can pass on to be enjoyed by the Mother-to-Be and her baby.

If you decide to include these optional activities in your invitation, keep in mind the following considerations:

CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE MOTHER-TO-BE:


DIAPER RAFFLES:

  • The PROS: The parent(s) get to experiment with different brands and sizes of diapers to find out which works best for their baby. This may especially be helpful if the baby ends up being bigger or smaller than expected. As for what doesn’t work, those may be returned / exchanged.
  • The CONS: The parent(s) may end up dealing with multiple diaper returns and exchanges which could be time-consuming. Also, parents having more stringent diaper requirements (e.g. chemical-free, cloth) could end up receiving several packages that don’t meet their criteria.
  • CONSIDER THIS: If the Mother-to-Be has a specific brand/size or type (e.g. cloth diapers) in mind, have her add those specific products to her gift registry instead so she receives exactly what she wants. Otherwise, holding diaper raffles may leave the Mother-to-Be tasked with several diaper returns/exchanges.

BOOKS IN LIEU OF CARDS:

  • The PROS: This can be fun for those guests who have a favorite book from childhood that they’d like to share with the little one. This option also gives the the Mother-to-Be a greater variety of books, some of which may be completely new to her - both she and baby will be experiencing that book together for the first time.
  • The CONS: The Mother-to-Be may end up receiving multiple copies of popular books, each of which likely includes a personalized inscription signed by the guest rendering it non-exchangable.
  • CONSIDER THIS: If the Mother-to-Be does not want to risk potentially receiving multiple copies of the same book, have her add specific books to her gift registry. Otherwise, if you opt to ask for books, the Mother-to-Be will need to be prepared for the task of either donating them (e.g. to her local library / schools) OR keeping those duplicate books as backups in case the "original" books are destroyed or go missing.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE GUESTS:


SOME GUESTS MAY CHOOSE TO OPT-OUT:

Perhaps these guests prefer to pick out a special gift for the Mama-to-Be and have no additional budget left to satisfy additional requests. Others may opt-out because they just aren’t interested in buying books or diapers.

SOME GUESTS MAY PARTICIPATE, BUT SILENTLY FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT IT:

Some guests may feel awkward at the prospect of being the only one in the room who didn’t bring the diapers - and that’s why they participate.

GIFT-PURCHASING DECISIONS MAY BE IMPACTED:

Some guests may have a specific budget in mind for the baby shower gift. When extra items are taken into account, they end up with less money going towards the gift(s) of their own choosing.

Keeping these considerations in mind for both the Mother-to-Be and her guests may be helpful when deciding whether or not to include special requests in the baby shower invitation. If you’re very familiar with the social circle(s) being invited, you may have a better idea on what is considered appropriate. Above all, regardless of what you decide, “special requests” like diaper raffles are ultimately not something to fret much over. Looking at at the big picture, what will be remembered and treasured is the celebration of new life - for the new mother as well as her baby.

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