Home < Baby Shower Gifts to Avoid

Baby Shower Gifts to Avoid

Posted on April 14, 2014
By Nikki Martinez

If it isn’t wedding invitations coming in the mail, the baby announcements are plastering your fridge, right next to your grandkid’s zebra drawing and the reminder to go to the dentist in 2 days. As exciting as it is to have a friend, child or sibling welcome a new life into the world, you have to be careful to not go overboard with the presents. It can be easy to do, seeing that every store and garage sale seems to have baby stuff “on sale” just at the right time.

Benji Birthday

Yeah, I’m not a proud aunt or anything…



How do I know this phenomenon seeing that I don’t have any children of my own? Here writes an older sister who was all about grabbing onesies, toys, and blankets galore for her brand new nephew! The sale section at Walmart and Target very much could have been my enemy, but a little voice inside said, “Your sister already has that for the kid.” That same voice is going to have to come in again as I prepare for nephew #2.



When you find yourself in this very similar predicament, may I suggest looking at this list writer Jill Smokler came up with to help you cross off the “Not-Needed” from the “Needed Always.”


~Anything that needs to be ‘grown into’ past year one. It’s okay if the outfit is a little big — after all, babies are tiny, and they grow super fast! Or if you got a pack of level-3 diapers. That’s fine, I’m sure they will come in handy. But do you have any idea how much space it takes to store things that baby can’t wear until the first grade? A LOT. So, unless you’re prepared to store it for mom, skip the “someday” clothes.

~ Anything hard to clean or, worse, dry clean only. Just don’t. Unless you plan to take care of that for her. Are you doing that? Because if so, I have a couple things for you to take …

~ Personalized gifts. There’s not a thing wrong with going the extra mile and getting something with baby’s name on it or having something monogrammed … unless you forget to double-check the spelling on baby’s name. Whooops.

~ Anything vintage/used. Some people don’t mind hand-me-downs or thrift store items, and then there are some people who mind it a LOT. Regardless of where your giftee falls on this scale, please, for the love of salt, make sure that everything is stain-free and in good repair. Unless you think handing over a bag of useless trash is the best way to welcome a new baby.

~ Dollar store gifts. Just because you bought it new from the store doesn’t magically make it better than if you purchased it at a yard sale (see vintage warning), and it’s probably lower quality.

~ Anything that makes assumptions; a collection of pacifiers (she may not use them), breastfeeding supplies (maybe she’s using formula), etc. The last thing she needs is stuff she doesn’t need. (Note from Nikki: it’s ALWAYS good to look at her registry, and if she doesn’t have one, just ask)

~ Clothes with team logos. Unless you know beyond all doubt that mom and dad are fans of a particular team, avoid the temptation to get Junior his first jersey. I know, I know. What’s the harm, right? And you found THE most adorable little Yankees jersey in a size three months that’s just too cute not to buy! Well guess what? Mom and Dad are Mets fans (*gasp*) and that delightful little onesie is going straight in the trash, possibly after being set on fire.

~ Seasonal items. If it will be Christmas in a month, please don’t get a holiday outfit in a size nine-month. It will be way too big this year and too small next year (i.e., USELESS). Baby also does not need a cute little swimsuit in a three-month, when she was born in September. Know what I mean? It’s a waste of money, time, and storage, and it makes it look like you don’t know how calendars work. Which is totally not true. Right? RIGHT?

An invitation or gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or day spa, if it has an expiration date anytime soon. This is TOTALLY a thoughtful and awesome gift, it can also end up being more of a problem that it’s worth. Leaving a new baby for the first time can be an extremely emotional affair that can take a long time to work through. Aside from that, she may not yet have a support system for childcare. So, by all means, get this one — just make sure it can be used at least six months or a year from when it’s given.

~ Anything you were given at your shower that you didn’t want. Obviously. (Side-note from Nikki: I don’t fully agree with this one. If you had all girls and for some reason someone gave you something specifically for a boy, AND it’s still in good condition, give it. It may be just what your friend wanted)


  1. Jules

    I think this list comes across as a bit rude and coming from the perspective of a mom of five, I don’t agree with several of things on the list. In fact, I disagree with the very first item on the list. I think with all of my children I was given quite a few clothes for them to grow into and it was a blessing not a curse. With my son, a friend have us an entire wardrobe from birth to 3 years and did we ever need it! Sure I had to put some of it in some boxes in the top of his closet for a little while. No big deal! What is a big deal and a huge blessing is that we didn’t have to buy him clothes over the next three years during a time period where we couldn’t afford much to buy him clothes. I also don’t agree with not giving used or vintage clothing. I have had friends give some such things that I was blessed by because I knew even that had been a struggle financially for them to give. I would never consider being so rude and turning my nose up at a gift someone is giving me, used or not! Same thing with the dollar store gifts! Maybe that person was in a money pinch and that was the best they could do and they’d rather do that than come empty handed to the baby shower. Beyond that, I have seen some pretty cute little baby baskets put together made from dollar store stuff. I also am not bothered when I have been given something I may not need. If it’s not something I can use, I may know someone who can and if not, then chances are I can return it and get something I do need. A lot of that can be avoided by looking at the person’s registry, but I will also say this, I have looked at some registries before where I couldn’t afford anything on it and therefore maybe had to pick something I wasn’t 100% sure they used. I wasn’t just real impressed with this list or the person’s perspective who wrote it. I’ve been given a variety of the “no” gifts on this list and I am certainly never going to be rude to someone over it. Those people took the time to think of me and my child and give me a gift and I am going to choose to be blessed by it and I hope others would make the same choice with gifts I gave them that might not make the “list.”

    • Nikki Martinez

      Hi Jules. So sorry that this article made you a little upset. I’m not certain that the writer was being intentionally rude, but honestly I don’t know the lady personally–came across the article while combing through quite a bit of sources. I saw her list as a place to start with possible gift giving in the future, but I wouldn’t trust everything she lists as “No-no’s,” including the Dollar Store bit (I buy quite a bit from the Dollar store, hehehe). Thank you for reading an commenting! It doesn’t happen too often, so I’m grateful that you even took the time to read and respond. Know that a good chunk of the blogs I post are tips from other sources, and I do try to filter as much as I can–could’ve probably filtered a little more with this one.

  2. Meagan

    I have to take a moment and say I actually chuckled over the list, now note, I have been the one so poor not only did I have to have someone pick me up and drive me to said babyshower I couldn’t afford the gas but also put my name on their card because I also couldn’t afford the present so I definitely take a ‘something is probably better than nothing’ approach when it comes to gift giving and if it is someone I know is against 2nd hand (by the way, chances are if I give you a gift I either made it–I make really awesome home made goats milk soap from our goats milk–or I got it used–I sometimes will give gifts I didn’t even pay for but that I was given and cleaned up, yes, I am that ‘ghetto’ as my brother use to say because guess what, I have been that poor and yes, putting food on my table is more important than giving the best present at the shower…..but I degress, if I know they aren’t into that type of thing I simply don’t give a present at all and honestly, sometimes I skip the shower all together because lets face it, I don’t like hanging out with judgemental people who are going to get upset by a gift (just my own feelings) A true friend honestly doesn’t expect a present anyways.

    I can see how Jules would get upset, she does come off as rude, but it really isn’t worth losing sleep over, just know I won’t be going to her babyshower (and yes, I am not as poor these days, but I still don’t like hanging out with people who are judgemental of those who have less, I still love and accept them but that doesn’t mean I have to put myself out there to be put down by them if that makes sense)

    just wanted to leave my opinion and say you both are doing a fabulous job

    • Nikki Martinez

      Okay, now you got me interested in your homemade goats-milk soap! Glad that you could find a little humor in the article, and I totally get the “I’ve got 5 dollars to my name for a gift, I’m doing what I can do!” times in life. Glad that you enjoyed the read!! And always happy to hear from you miss Meagan. Blessings for this Easter coming up 🙂


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