Time-honoured traditions are changing, which means bridal and baby showers are, too. We recently read about a new trend that requests guests wrap gifts in clear cello wrapping instead of opaque, decorative paper. The idea is that this allows everyone to see what the gift is instead of having to sit and watch each one be unwrapped at the party.
To be honest, I haven’t heard much about this idea, but a quick search through the public forums of popular wedding/pregnancy websites tells me this is a topic that’s been hotly debated for more than five years. I can see both sides of the argument. This is a great workaround for co-ed showers or non-traditional celebrations where the gift opening is not the main entertainment of the event. It’s also a simple solution for showers with a lot of guests. My sister married into a Greek family and invited 100 people to her wedding shower. Most guests gave cash—not necessarily a traditional gift, but quite common among her in-laws—but had that not been the case, gifts wrapped in clear wrap and displayed on a table might be better than asking people to sit through 100 present openings.
For smaller groups, and traditional showers with a lot of older generation guests in attendance, watching a bride or mother-to-be open her gifts is the highlight of the event, and for good reason. People often take a lot of care in deciding what to buy someone, and they like the idea of seeing their gift opened at the shower. After all, that’s usually the point of the party.
My research led me to a few different ways people have dealt with this situation. Here are some of the ideas I stumbled upon:
- If you want to have guests wrap their gifts in clear wrapping, include a sweet note with instructions in the invite. Some say, ‘Please be a dear and wrap in clear’ but others suggest a more detailed note should be included like this one:
Traditions are changing and showers are too,
So, here’s an idea we’re hoping you’ll do.
Decorate your gift with a tag or bow,
And clear gift wrap so your present will show
This type of present is just as sweet,
And will leave more time for us to mingle and eat.
Your gift will be displayed for all to see,
So, everyone can relax and honour the mother/bride to be.
- For showers where the guest count is high, request that large/oversized presents like strollers, bassinets, etc. be dropped off at the home of the hostess or mother-to-be. At the shower, the hostess calls out someone’s name, they stand, and their name and the gift they gave are read aloud. A short note or memory about the person can be shared by the gift recipient, making it fun and personal. For example, ‘This is Michelle. She gave us a stroller. Michelle and her family used to live three doors down from me when I was growing up and we loved to push our baby dolls in strollers up and down the street when we were five.’ Then, small gifts can be opened so there is a mix of old and new traditions are the event.
- Request that gifts be wrapped in clear wrapping and placed on a table when guests arrive. The mother or bride-to-be can walk around the table, hold each one up and announce what the gift is and who it is from. This is less time consuming than opening each gift, but still acknowledges the presents received. This is called a ‘display shower’ and can be labelled as such on the invitation.
We’re curious, how do you feel about this type of shower? Would you give a gift wrapped in clear wrap? Do you enjoy watching people open their gifts? As a gift recipient, would you prefer this so you don’t have to be the centre of attention? Let’s discuss!
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