Are Email 'Thank You' Notes OK for Baby Showers?

pregnant woman typing laptop

Baby showers are pretty awesome for moms-to-be: you sit back and get lavished with love, attention, and (last but not least) gifts galore that can make a sizable dent in your nursery bill. Yet if there's any downside to this largess, it's that you must now sit down, pick up a pen, and write a slew of thank-you notes. Talk about a buzz kill. Especially if you've been afflicted by a bad case of pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome that's making your wrists ache.

It sure may be tempting to break from protocol and email your baby shower thank-you notes. Surely people will understand. You're pregnant! Or will they?


Maybe not ... even in this day and age, etiquette experts say that emailing thank-yous for baby shower gifts is a huge no-no.

"It absolutely is not OK to email thank-you notes for baby shower gifts," warns Amy Alkon, author of Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck. The reason: your guests went out of their way to buy you a gift; the least you can do is return that courtesy. 

"People shopped for you and spent money on you at a time when money is not exactly falling off the money tree for everyone," Alkon points out. "Show them you're willing to 'spend' on their behalf in terms of time and effort to show them that they made a difference, that their gift matters. It's a miniature gift -- a tangible expression of gratitude -- that you are giving in return for a gift."

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There are a few small exceptions. If your baby arrives so early you barely have time to set up your nursery, much less send thank-you notes, you're off the hook. Or if you encounter medical complications that make it hard to move until your baby is born, we're sure your guests will understand and be fine with email thank-yous instead. But so long as you're healthy and the baby hasn't arrived, there's really no excuse.

"Really, especially for the shower, which takes place before the baby is born and the expectant parents still have time, there are very few reasons, other than being entitled and lazy, for people not to acknowledge gifts," says Jodi Smith at Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting.

And while it's a lot of work, your friends and family will notice and appreciate a handwritten note.

"They might even save it," points out Alkon. "I do. In spite of our many modern-day conveniences, there's one area where being 'artisanal' really does matter, and that's in human connection."

How did you handle your baby shower thank-yous?


Image via Edyta Pawlowska/shutterstock

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