Good Idea: Baby Shower ‘Thank-You’ Text Messages

This is an occasional post series I’m trying out! Short and sweet, sharing clever ideas I’ve picked up from my ridiculously smart and well-mannered friends.

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When you enter your thirties, everyone you’ve ever met will begin to have babies. You will become well-versed in Facebook pregnancy reveals (my favorite was a runner friend who changed her profile photo to include a tiny pair of running shoes next to hers!) and you’ll spend every Saturday afternoon at baby showers.

Common etiquette tells us that when we give someone a significant gift – especially a baby or wedding gift – we can/should expect a thank-you note. But when someone is preparing their life for a loud, sleep-depriving new human? Those thank-you notes are probably low on their priority list.

And then they might feel guilty. And you might feel annoyed.

So let’s all steal my friend Laura’s idea: instead of that new mom spending her limited free time handwriting thank-you notes that you’ll immediately recycle, how about she texts you a photo of her baby using the gift you gave her? 

It’s way easier and lots more fun. Just have someone take notes on who gave her what and their phone number so she can photograph and text at her leisure!

If you’ve got any tips for making baby or bridal showers easier or more fun, I’d love to hear them!

photo by Vanessa Kay // cc

24 Comments

Molly Mogren Katt

I always write "no thank you card necessary" when I give a baby shower gift. There's something romantic about a hand written note, but I am all about making things easy and practical for a new mom.

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Sarah M

I think I might be a bit old-fashioned for this one, but I prefer a handwritten note. Short and sweet is great. A lot of people who go to showers spend quite a bit of money, and then their time (especially those who help put the thing on) and a few thoughtful sentences with a signature just feels more appropriate than a text. Sometimes texts can feel like an afterthought, and I know many women who are older have told me they appreciate that I still write thank-yous. I think our generation is definitely going the way of no thank-yous, but it was hammered into me when I was young that if you get a gift, you thank [them] for it.
Sarah M

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Kate Tichy

Girl. As one of the beneficiaries of Laura's hot idea, and as a person who is always. always. shamefully late with thank-you notes, I cannot overstate how awesome it was to not feel that task pressing on me. Plus I feel like as a gift-giver I would rather see a photo anyway! Spread this idea faaaarrr and wiiiide.

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katielookingforward

Yep! I got a text photo of a baby gift I gave last summer, and it was so special to me that she remembered what I had bought. If you've got great, true friends, this is perfect!

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Anonymous

A hand-written thank you note will ALWAYS be proper etiquette in the south. Sorry but you are 100% way off on this one. A baby shower is held BEFORE the mom has the baby. We are ALL busy and if you were raised correctly, you will send a hand-written thank you note when someone does something nice for you, and goes out of their way.

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Kelbar

How much time does it take, to set up a photo of the baby using the gift; shoot one or more photos; choose the best one; and then text the photo to the gift-giver, presumably with a few words of message, compared to the time that it takes to write a thank-you note? Also, as Anonymous said, baby showers are usually held before the birth of the baby. Why wait until a much busier time (after the birth) to send thank-you messages?

What about the folks (maybe the elderly) who don't have texting receptivity?

Last, Sarah: the comment to Anon "I do not live in the south" seems pretty dismissive to me and ignores a significant part of the world-wide population that has "old school" views regarding ettiquette. As the Keeper of The Network of Nice, I'm sure that you can't have meant to appear dismissive or otherwise unkind.

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Sarah Von Bargen

Kelbar,

If you read up the comment thread, my friend Kate is the mom whose baby shower originated this idea and you can see that she found it super useful. This post is merely a suggestion for people who don't feel they have time to write thank you notes, or would prefer another method. I'd personally prefer a cute photo of a baby in the onesie I gave her. Of course, no one HAS to follow this suggestion. I trust my readers to know the people giving them gifts better than I do.

I'm not sure I need to be terribly polite to someone who tells me I'm 100% wrong about something while simultaneously refusing to attach their name to their snarky comment.

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Barbara Kelly

Yes, I did read the whole thread before responding. And, I do see the suggestion as one option of several.

Regarding the politeness thing, I see it as more satisfying to take the high road and respond politely ("I can't agree with you", or "We must agree to disagree" ) to someone who tells me I'm 100% wrong, rather than returning snark for snark. Anyone can post any name for him/herself , in responding to a blog post; so the anonymity thing , IMHO, is a non-starter.
For the record, I'm a communications consultant; and my real name is Barbara Kelly.

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Rachel T

I thought Sarah's reply was just right, to the anonymous poster. Goodness, the post was focused on making life easier for new mums, not following rigid etiquette rules.

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Anonymous

Sorry, I have to agree with Annon, Kelbar and Sarah M. on this one. Proper etiquette advices that a thank you not is always necessary, unless of course someone writes "No thank-you note necessary" on the gift. I've written thank you notes religiously since I KNEW how to write (I'm in my mid-twenties now). I think its incredibly important that we keep this old fashioned tradition alive in today's digital society. Plus, what if your baby doesn't play with every single toy that was given to him/her at the baby shower? Would I put the toy in his hand for the sole purpose of snapping a picture and sending it to the gift giver? This is a cute idea in theory, but not foolproof. I think doing a hand written thank you note is still the golden standard. Send a text message with a picture later.

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Anonymous

Why does everyone seem to think the thank-you card burden has to fall to the woman always!? This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Make Dad write some of the thank-yous, or *gasp* all of them! This is even more true for wedding shower/gift thank yous…the guy is benefiting from the stuff as well! I completely agree you can be super stressed around this time, so have your other half (assuming there is one, because I get in a baby shower scenario, it's not a given), make the man write the cards.

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Anonymous

By definition a gift is "a thing given willingly to someone without payment." In the context of this discussion, a written thank you would constitute a payment back to the giver. Who really gives someone a gift and then holds it against them if something is not given back? The entire purpose is to be selfless. Your gift is about the person you're giving it to, not you. If someone wants to send you a note and let you know how much they appreciate it, then great. If they don't, that doesn't mean it or you aren't valued. Gifts are paid forward, not back.

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Sarah M

This is exactly why my husband (also re: above conversation between Anon and Sarah) refuses to write thank-you cards.

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Sarah Von Bargen

For the record, I am a compulsive thank-you card writer but I know not everyone is. Think it's important that we all have options – particularly during a time of life when nerves and time are short 🙂

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Alysa

I'm with most of the people who commented. Especially considering we don't really send snail mail anymore, a thank you note in the mail is really special. I had a baby in November, and I made sure to send out thank you cards. It was after my daughter was 4 months old, but I feel you have a little bit more of a window for sending out thank yous when it's for a baby 😉
I'm not in the south either, but I think it's really important to send the thank you cards for showers and weddings where bigger gifts are given

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Maureen

I don't see this as either/or. I always send thank you cards (it's seriously not that hard!) and then depending on the relationship, I often send a text of the kid wearing/using the gift later. I honestly don't get the big fuss with thank you cards. I have two kids under two and a full time job and I've managed to send them off in a timely manner for both kids. And I'm certainly not extraordinary. You just bust them out during a movie one night and you're done.

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Komal

I am in the midst of writing thank you's from my shower. Mostly because I know my Mom's friends will appreciate it. However, I find it extremely thoughtful when a friend texts me a picture of baby wearing or using something I gave them. It amazes me that they can keep track of every single gift AND remember to take a picture and send it. I can only hope to be so organized when baby arrives!

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Amanda

It's funny how much controversy a simple tip can create!

Sarah, I'm excited for this new series! Can't wait to read more!

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kari

I think this is a great idea. I am a new mom, and my shower was thrown for me only a few weeks before my due date so as to avoid the holidays. My daughter ended up coming two weeks early and I hadn't sent thank you cards yet. I was majorly stressed out, and wholeheartedly agree that isn't something new mothers should need to worry about. I did end up getting the cards done, but it wasn't a joyful task. It would have been much more enjoyable to take photos to send, and I imagine also more joy to the recipients, too.

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