Do I have to go to this shower? If I don’t go, do I have to send a gift?

I got an invitation to a baby shower today. It’s for the daughter of a casual acquaintance of mine. I’ve never met her, and I haven’t seen this acquaintance in more than a year. Going to the shower would mean hiring a babysitter to spend half of my Saturday with a bunch of people I don’t know. Do I have to go? If I don’t go, do I have to send a gift?

I know I’m in the minority, but I LOVE showers. I love oooooohing! and aaaahhhhhhhing! and little pink impractical items of clothing (How many bathrobes does a baby need? A lot, apparently.). I love wedding showers, too. Oh, LOOK. A blender! A soup bowl! Oh, someone naughty (usually me) brought racy underpants and a pair of furry pink handcuffs, how hilarious!

In this case, though, it seems like you were invited to up the guest and gift tally. Showers are intimate gatherings of close family and friends, not the fast and grabby bonus round on Supermarket Sweep. You’re not obligated to attend in any way, nor is receiving an invitation similar to receiving an invoice for One Free Item For My New Baby. If you’d like to send a small gift, go for it, but only spend what you can afford, and if you don’t want to send one, don’t sweat it.

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