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Baby Shower Etiquette: Returning Gifts

Alison Wood |21, August 2013


Baby showers are lots of fun. One of the best parts is all the little goodies you get to take home to prepare for your bundle of joy! But, who needs four baby memory books or 58 onesies? One baby can only make so many memories and wear so many clothes! So what do you do with extra gifts that you don't need? What about the hideous baby blanket that you are afraid to take back out of the gift bag in case anyone associates you with the strange, eclectic pattern? Is there proper etiquette for returning a gift, or should you just keep those gifts stashed away for a rainy day? First consider these questions.

Is the gift from a close family member or friend?

If you see the gift-giver often, and there is a 90% chance they will ask about it, then consider just stashing it away in a closet and donning it when the giver visits you. It's better to avoid any hurt feelings by simply keeping the object at home. You don't have to use it, and after a few years you can always donate it or trash it.

Do you have duplicates?

This is an easy-way to return a gift without hurting feelings. When asked about the gift, you can simple state that you had way too many bottles or onesies and needed some extra diapers and wipes. Anyone that thinks frugally and logically will admit you made the right decision—though there may be a twinge of sadness that they didn't get you an original gift you loved. You could always wink and add, "Looks like a lot of my friends had the same great taste!"

Do you have other immediate needs?

Sure, it's great to have loads of coordinating outfits, with matching accessories, but what if you are in a major financial bind right now and need to focus on providing the basic necessities for your little one? This is a case in which you should return the unnecessary items in order to have enough diapers, bottles and clothes for your bambino. Most people will also understand this wise way of thinking. Though all moms enjoy the frills of unnecessary baby items, it is wise to ensure your baby has all the necessary items to give them a comfy, healthy start to this journey called life.

Should you re-gift?

If you think your gift is goofy, unrealistic, or just plain eye-scorchingly ugly, then no. Do everyone a favor and discard your undesired shower gift. Do not pass something on that you wished someone never gave you.

On the other hand, if you have duplicates and don't feel like going through the process of returning a gift, keep your extras stored away for another baby shower. This will save you some dough and you can invest in some extras to go along with your gift.

How can you return a gift properly?

Many gift-givers now tuck a gift receipt in the bottom of your gift bag or box—just in case you don't need it. Those make gift-returning a breeze. Most stores have the policy of exchange or store credit with a gift receipt. Some will give a refund, but most only issue a store credit. But, at least you know where to return the gift!

If you do not have a receipt, simply return it to the store you think the gift came from. Explain the cashier or salesperson that this was a baby shower gift, so you do not have a receipt. Always be kind and try to follow the return policy. Most stores require a photo id to return gifts as well, so keep this in mind if you are returning gifts with your hubby and left your driver's license at home!

Also, do not announce to family and friends that you have returned gifts. If they ask, tell the truth in a kind way. If no one asks, don't offer the information as some people have mixed feelings about returning gifts. Enjoy preparing for the arrival of your little one and may you be blessed with as many baby showers a preggo girl could want!

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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