Gift Etiquette and Moral Dilemmas

Gift Etiquette and Moral Dilemmas

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Carrie McBride
Feb 1, 2011

Q: Looking for advice... I recently got an invitation to a baby shower that conflicts with three of my own personal morals! First of all, this is a shower for a second baby. Secondly, the invitation asks, "in lieu of gifts, please bring diapers size 1 or 2." Not only do I have issues with having a shower for a second baby, I also don't find it appropriate to ask for specific gifts on an invitation. My third issue is that I don't want to buy something that is just going to be going to a landfill and won't biodegrade in our lifetime. With my baby, we use only gDiapers (an earth-friendly alternative to disposable diapers). I don't want to seem unsupportive to my friend by not attending, yet I don't want to attend with a different sort of gift and make the other people feel like they should have also given something other than diapers. And before you recommend that I give my friend gDiapers - I doubt they will use them as they are both very busy professionals (he's a CPA, she's a medical resident) - too busy to have any sort of diapering system. Any ideas on how to handle this?

Sent by Lydia

Editor: I expect you'll get a wide range of responses to this. Here's my take: I think second (and third, and fourth) children deserve to be celebrated and welcomed into their community of family and friends as much as the first. And asking guests to bring something practical, as your friend did, sounds like a good plan. Giving her something that goes against your own ethical outlook is murkier territory. It's one thing not to judge our friends on a green scale, but harder to be asked to contribute to something you feel strongly opposed to. However, if I were in your place I would support my friend and give her what she's asked for (maybe Seventh Generation or another disposable diaper that's somewhat less harmful to the environment?). An alternative that likely wouldn't make other guests uncomfortable is to create a gift certificate for babysitting, errand running, a casserole drop-off or another useful service.

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(Image: Reader Lydia)

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