How can we tactfully have a long-distance baby shower?

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Photo by alicegop, used under Creative Commons license.
My husband and I are expecting twin boys in October and we're moving this month. Most of our family and friends are spread out all over the US. I am nervous about bringing two babies into the world so far away from any sort of familial help, but I know we'll be just fine.

Even though our loved ones aren't close I'm still (perhaps a little selfishly) wondering if there's a tactful way to have a long-distance baby shower. I know our families will help the best they can, but I wanted to somehow have my long-distance friends involved. I feel weird sending out my own invitations to a baby shower for me, but I don't have many options.

I'd love to hear any suggestions about how others have done something like this! — Erica

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  1. I would bet you have friends or family that would like to help out but assume someone else is going to do it. I'd enlist a close friend or family member and ask them to "host" (meaning send out invites with them listed as the host & be the face behind the event). I think it's a perfectly okay thing to do and then you don't have to worry about it looking weird.

    2 agree
  2. I totally think this can be done in a tactful way! My husband and I moved across the country in the middle of my pregnancy, and we had friends and family from all over the world asking where to send us gifts. We never sent out invites or had an official shower. Instead, we registered at a few places for stuff we really needed, and sent the links to anyone who asked. We also made sure to let people know they didn't HAVE to get us anything, or that they could obviously deviate from the list. I think something like distance doesn't make people not want to celebrate along with you. 🙂

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  3. Are you me with a different name? We're having twins in October and we're moving this weekend! Good luck in your move! (I'm following this post to keep track of the suggestions, too)

    We have a registry for anyone who asks. I'm sending it to my parents and my husband's parents so if anyone asks them what we need then they can check out the registry for specific stuff we've picked out, or just to get ideas of what kinds of things we are looking for. We're probably not having an official baby shower but we still have friends and relatives who want to buy things for us (which is awesome!).

    1 agrees
  4. Depends on the generation you're talking to. Many people in our generation are perfectly comfortable saying "You don't have to get us a gift, but if you want to then here is what we want and here is where to send it." My mother is appalled every time I do anything like this. In her mind you should never mention gifts for yourself. Showers are hosted by someone else because you would never ask for gifts (that's selfish of you), but your best friend can certainly ask people to give you things (that's selfless of her).

    When it comes to your situation and her generation, I imagine she would suggest a "We're pregnant and moving" announcement. Something that includes what you're having (if you don't want to disclose genders, just say twins) and your new address. This lets people decide on their own if they're going to send you a housewarming/baby shower gift.

    Since you're moving, it isn't strange to send out something with your new address, though it may seem strange to mention your pregnancy on it unless you make it cutesy like "New babies? New house! Here's our new address: …" Otherwise, for those people who are concerned with etiquette you might just need to wait until you can send birth announcements. As much as after the birth might seem "too late" because you want to have the stuff you need before the kids arrive, remember that babies tend to outgrow things (clothes, toys, and diapers) in three month chunks, so its actually never too late to be getting new, age appropriate stuff.

    6 agree
    • My mom won't even let me explicitly mention gifts on the invitation for my son's *birthday party*. Only a humorous note on "things he enjoys".

    • I did a Skype shower for a bridal shower, hosted by my aunt. She collected money and bought gifts from our Target registry, and had them sent to my house. She invited all the locals to her house, and we Skyped at the pre-determined time. I open presents, and we got to do a shower game (more for them than for me.) It was fun and fulfilled the social aspect of a shower so it wasn't just about gifts.

      4 agree
  5. What about skipping the shower and just sending out really nice birth announcements with a "standing invitation to visit" at the bottom? People will probably send a gift with the announcement, but then people can also feel like you're including them. Or doing a "welcome baby" party when your little one is a month or so old. You probably won't need that much stuff before then, and even if people can't make it, they very well might send a gift. Good luck!

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    • This is what we did. We kept the gender of our baby a secret, and then got many gifts after we sent out the birth announcement…even though it's nice to have gifts for necessities ahead of time so you know what to buy.

      Sometimes I get invites to showers for friends and family in other states, and can't attend, so I always mail my gift. If you invite them to a physical shower even if they won't be able to go, I think they will still send gifts!

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      • Ditto this. I am likely going to have a teeny shower with just a few local friends, but we're sending invitations to a lot of my out-of-town family and friends. We don't expect many (any?) of them to actually come, but wanted them to know that they're invited, plus… where I'm registered.

        4 agree
  6. My co-workers threw me a surprise virtual baby shower (they were all in CA and my husband and I were in CO). It was fantastic! They really pulled one over on me!

    They set-up a fake meeting between me and one of the managers on the team, then about 10 mins into the meeting everyone else dialed into the call from another conference room and yelled "Surprise! It's your baby shower!." My friend that organized/hosted it got in touch with my husband via facebook and worked with him to mail a card and gifts to our neighbor. He was waiting outside my office door and when he heard them say "surprise" he walked in with his arms full of gifts, balloons, flowers and cake.

    My friend made a cake for everyone in San Jose and also had a baby trivia game prepared that we all played. We ate cake while opening presents and playing the game, then all of the parents took turns giving me tips/advice. Not everyone at the shower contributed to the gifts. Some folks had already sent me a gift before they knew about the shower while others came to congratulate me and see my belly on the WebCam 🙂

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  7. I hosted a virtual baby shower for some friends of mine who live in Washington and don't have a huge community there on Facebook. I knew they needed a lot of stuff and wouldn't get much help otherwise.

    I invited all of our mutual friends on Facebook and even had shower games, like "guess the mom and and dad's first words," "guess the birthday," and "guess if the baby will have red hair like mama" to try and get more people interested and make them feel special. It wasn't super successful with folks who were not familiar with shopping online, but they still got some stuff they really really needed.

    Do you have someone who would be willing to host something like that for you?

    1 agrees
  8. People are definitely doing Skype baby showers now! Where the friends/ family gather where ever they live, open the gifts, play games, and the mom-to-be participates via Skype! Then the gifts are shipped to the parents. Maybe you have a family member willing to do this for you?

  9. Personally, if I knew someone who was expecting twins and there wasn't likely to be an opportunity to attend a shower, I'd send a gift without being prompted. I think getting the word out about the expected little ones, plus having a registry ready for close friends to circulate, would be all that would need doing in my circles. But your circle might be different!

    1 agrees
  10. If you want to initiate some way to get everyone involved, could you ask everyone to send you something non-gifty? You could do up some cute mailing (maybe that house/baby announcement someone mentioned) with a few pieces for people to mail back: their best advice for new parents, their "baby pool" guesses, etc. Include a stamped envelope for people to send back. You'll feel their love and support even from afar… and I'm sure some people will want to send a gift, too.

    1 agrees
    • A friend of mine did this, and I'm going to copy her — for people who weren't able to attend the shower, she asked only that they send a copy of their favorite book as a child (either that they remembered, or that their parents said was their favorite) with a note about the book. The idea was to use her community to build a library for her child.
      Baby books are inexpensive to buy and ship, and it allowed people to really feel like they were contributing to the baby's future.

      1 agrees
  11. Regarding sending out invitations to your own shower: many people, myself included, would find this extremely tacky. If you go down this path, bear in mind that some people–who might have been planning to send a gift all along–will be extremely turned off and it might cost you the gift or the friendship.

    Regarding having a "Skype" shower: Most people will send a gift to an out of town shower even if they can't attend.

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  12. I live half a world a way from my family and this will be their first grandchild. My stepmom is throwing me a Skype baby shower. She's organizing for everyone to get their items to her by a certain date and then she will ship them to me, with the condition that I can't open then until the Skype party (I have a feeling my husband will hide the gifts until then any way). Then people will be at my stepmom's house and we'll Skype the party! I'm so excited for this event!

    1 agrees
  13. My friends threw me a goodbye-party/shower right before I left, even though we were still mid pregnancy… My sister made me register Online for stuff I needed, cause most of my family is spread out. So I sent emails to all my friends and family saying we were moving, this is our new address and IF you feel like you need to send the baby something, this is what she needs… My friends know I'm not one to ask for stuff, but a lot of them were asking, so… I then sent them pictures whenever the baby was using something they sent her!

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  14. you could find a magnificent tea. send each guest an invitation, and send them a tea bag. invite them to have a cup of tea all at the same time, to cheers to the birth of your baby. say you will be celebrating with your feet up, sipping tea, and wishing all your friends and family could be there with you.

    1 agrees
  15. I'm way late to this discussion but just found this. There are "online" shower sites. The one my mom used to host a shower for my older daughter was a pay site ($50) but there was a journal page, a place for pictures, games (yes, silly shower ones), and it stays up til you have the baby. There is a "guestbook page" as well, for friends & family to leave messages. When you're done, they will (for an extra fee, of course) turn it all into a book. My 4 year old loves her book. We look through it together & I read all the messages to her. It has bump pics, u/s pics & pics of her birth in it, plus my journals from when I was pregnant with her. I think the fee for formatting & the book was like $50 too, and since all my friends & family were far away, it was awesome for me to have.

    1 agrees
  16. I am in the process of attempting a Skype baby shower for my sister!! lots of good ideas on here and I hope it goes as well as I plan. We're meeting at the same time here as she will have her shower where she is, via Skype. Full party with gifts, food, and cake. Then I will get everything to her when its all said and done.

    3 agree
  17. My mom and I received a shower invitation last October in honor a cousin who doesn't talk to us and didn't invite us to her wedding (or even tell us she was pregnant, her grandma told my mom) It was being hosted by her mom and her aunt, who is in better touch with us (but just, she's really fallen off). We live in Washington and they live in Arizona and it was just 3 weeks away, even if we wanted to go. It really seemed in poor taste. I'm sure this wouldn't be you, but I would suggest being really conscientious about who you send invites to. I like the ideas of sending a birth announcement with no expectation of a gift. The Skype shower sounds like a good idea, although what could really be done via Skype, other than watching the mother-to-be unwrap gifts?

  18. Being someone who has moved a bit I find it hurtful that someone can call it "tacky" to send out invites to your own baby shower. I dont have a "bestie" or anyone that would organise something for me. 🙁 Another thing I miss out on celebrating due to not staying put?
    I think wording is critical. Maybe acknowledge the distance, give options to help celebrate (Skype, phone call, a message??)
    To add, being far from my friends, I do get hurt if someone doesn't bother to extend the invite especially if its their first. I truely want to celebrate with people and enjoy beautiful moments of life.

    1 agrees

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