Should the grandmother express her shame on the baby registry?

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My mother and I agree that we are very not fans of registers – wedding, baby or otherwise – and find them rude. For my part, I can understand the idea behind them, but I still find them corny.

My brother and sister-in-law created a baby registry before their shower and it is, in our opinion, outrageous with a capital O. In addition to big ticket items costing several hundred dollars, there are also specific children’s book titles, heaps of things no kid would ever need at any age, and what I call “grocery items.” “Like petroleum jelly and plastic bags!

My mother, especially, is super embarrassed to see her friends and relatives who will be invited to the shower see this register.

Conversations with expectant parents lead nowhere, especially since we believe in being cautious first. The expectant parents think this is completely reasonable and don’t understand how it could be offensive.

Is there a way to limit any judgment from our friends and relatives who will see this registry? I suggested to my mom that she tell her friends/family ahead of time that it’s coming, it’s ridiculous and she finds it a great shame.

Additional Info: Our immediate and extended families have much more modest means than my sister-in-law.

NICE READER: Well, so they get the first dibs on the plastic bags… would be your sister-in-law’s (still very rude) vindication.

Although Miss Manners has sympathy for your situation, she assures you that telling friends and family of your family’s impending shame is not the best way to celebrate the arrival of this new baby.

Just as you, your mother and Miss Manners have endured countless rude registers, so too have these guests – and they now know how to ignore them or succumb resentfully.

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

DEAR MISS MANNERS: A very dear friend started sending me birthday presents a few years ago. We had never exchanged gifts before.

After the first gift, I sent a thank you note, and when my friend’s birthday came around, I sent a long letter and some photos, hoping she would understand that I would rather not exchange gifts. As seniors, we both fortunately have everything we need and more.

His gifts are more and more extravagant. Is it rude to ask someone not to send gifts? I appreciate my friend’s generosity, but I don’t want to get into what could become an escalating gift exchange.

NICE READER: You don’t have to reciprocate in kind, especially if the highlight of this trip will be matched sports cars. Miss Manners suggests instead that you continue to send cards and letters. Your friend will eventually tire of one-sided spending.

Please send questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to his email, [email protected]; or by mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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