Showering a mom-to-be with gifts is a tradition that dates back to ancient times. In modern culture, the baby shower is a staple for a first-time-mom. Though recently, some millennials have started throwing diaper parties for dads. As with all things related to gifting and soliciting gifts, this begs the question: Is a diaper party tacky? Should I have a diaper party, and if so, what is the accepted etiquette?
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What is a diaper party?
A diaper party is a new social gathering gaining popularity among young parents. The goal of a diaper party is to stockpile diapers by requesting each attendee contribute a case of diapers. Diaper parties are typically for men only.
I’ll make no bones about where I stand on this issue. A diaper party is tacky.
First, stockpiling diapers before your little one is born is not beneficial, and you can read all about that here.
Second, soliciting gifts from and friends is never a good look. Society is shifting such that more people are becoming increasingly centered around themselves and meeting their own needs. This shift has become so pervasive and widely accepted that people behaving in this way don’t see themselves as acting selfishly because it has become the norm in some circles.
Having a diaper party or having a raffle-style donation at a baby shower is like asking people to buy you more gifts.
Many people love to give gifts, but that quickly vanishes when the person receiving the gifts seems greedy, ungrateful, or expectant. Giving gifts is an act of love, not an act of obligation. If someone wants to gift diapers, they will. And if they don’t, it is in poor taste to conjure up a situation in which they are expected or outright asked to gift diapers.
The very worst thing you could do is throw a diaper party for yourself (or your dad-to-be).
This feels icky just writing about. It would be like throwing your own birthday party or baby shower. It is just tacky. There’s no way around it.
If someone offers to throw the dad-to-be a diaper party, there is a lot to consider.
Can you politely decline and explain your reasons for not wanting a diaper party? (Try “That is such a generous offer! We are actually going to hold off on stockpiling diapers until we can see which ones our baby tolerates the best.” Or, “That is so thoughtful! We are so overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and family who have already showered us with gifts for our baby, and we cannot possibly accept anything more!” Or, “The most important thing to us is having loving family and friends to support our baby! Instead of a diaper party, let’s have a gathering once the baby is born, so everyone can spend time together and get to know our new little bundle!”)
If there is no way to politely decline the offer of someone else throwing your dad-to-be a diaper party, you must consider the guest list. Just as with a baby shower, you should invite only close family and friends with whom you normally exchange gifts (birthday gifts, holiday gifts, etc.). And of course, be sure to follow all of the standard party etiquette below.
If you have a diaper party thrown in your honor
- keep the guest list small
- make it clear on the invite that diaper donations are much appreciated but not expected
- convey your sincere thanks at the party to each guest who attends
- send hand-written thank you notes to each guest who attended regardless of whether or not they gifted diapers
What can be done instead of a diaper party?
- Encourage the new dad to have a celebration with his friends that would have attended the diaper party. They can trade advice or funny stories about being a dad.
- Have a small party after the baby is born so family and friends can meet them. If people are organically moved to give a gift, they will give one.
- Use the opportunity to promote the idea of time over money. Start expressing to friends and family early that you value them spending time with your little one over giving them material gifts.
- If the new dad feels excluded, throw out the the idea of a female-only baby shower and have a unisex baby shower instead.
I hope this helps you navigate the difficult social waters surrounding gifting!
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