Miss Manners: I think my brother’s baby registry is outrageous

Placeholder while article actions load

Dear Miss Manners: My mother and I agree that we are very much not fans of registries — wedding, baby or otherwise — and find them rude. For my part, I can understand the idea behind them, but I still find them tacky.

My brother and sister-in-law have created a baby registry ahead of their shower, and it is, in our opinion, outrageous with a capital O. Along with big-ticket items costing several hundred dollars, there are also specific children’s book titles, loads of stuff no child would need at any age, and what I call “grocery store items,” such as petroleum jelly and plastic bags.

My mother is super embarrassed about having her friends and relatives who will be invited to the shower see this registry.

Conversations with the parents-to-be go nowhere, especially because we feel we should tread lightly in the first place. The expectant parents think it is reasonable and don’t understand how it could be offensive.

Is there a way to curtail any judgment on the part of our friends and relatives who will see this registry? I suggested to my mom that she tell her friends/family in advance that it is coming and it is ridiculous, and that she finds great shame in it.

Added info: Our immediate and extended families come from much more modest means than my sister-in-law’s.

Well, then they get first dibs on the plastic bags … would be your sister-in-law’s (still very rude) justification.

While Miss Manners has sympathy for your situation, she assures you that telling your friends and relatives of your family’s impending shame is not the best way to celebrate this new baby’s arrival. Just as you, your mother and Miss Manners have endured countless rude registries, so have these guests — and they know by now to ignore them or resentfully succumb.

As etiquette mercifully dictates that no family member host a shower, no one will be blaming your mother. You may gently remind your brother and sister-in-law of that fact, when they undoubtedly ask her to throw it.

Dear Miss Manners: A dear friend of mine began sending me gifts for my birthday a few years ago. We had never previously exchanged gifts at all.

After the first gift, I sent a thank-you note, and, when my friend’s birthday arrived, I sent a long letter and some pictures, hoping she would take the hint that I would prefer not to exchange gifts. As senior citizens, we both thankfully have all that we need and more.

Her gifts are increasing in extravagance. Is it rude to ask someone to not send gifts? I appreciate my friend’s generosity, but I don’t want to enter into what may become an escalating gift exchange.

You do not have to reciprocate in kind, especially if the culmination of this journey will result in matching sports cars. Miss Manners suggests, instead, that you continue sending cards and letters. Eventually your friend will get tired of the one-sided expenditures.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

Miss Manners: I think my brother’s baby registry is outrageous

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to top