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Miss Manners: Mom-to-be wonders about a drive-by baby shower?

Dear Miss Manners: I am expecting my first child in August. What to do about the baby shower? I’m disappointed to miss the chance to gather with our friends and family, and like many couples, we would greatly appreciate gifts. Sweet toys and blankets will be loved today and treasured keepsakes tomorrow, and more practical gifts will be greatly appreciated lifesavers!

I have seen “virtual” or “remote” showers suggested. One forum even recommended a drive-by shower, where people drop off gifts in the driveway while the couple sit in lawn chairs and wave, like some sort of feudal lord and lady gathering tributes from their subjects!

To me, a baby shower should be an opportunity to celebrate with friends and family, and should include food, drink, entertainment, party favors, conversation and togetherness. Gifts are an optional yet non-negligible “bonus” of the event. Without the party, a registry seems a purely materialistic grab. On the other hand, if it were a friend having a baby in this uncertain time, I would eagerly contribute a gift and be the first in the tribute-drive-by!

What would Miss Manners do?

Aside from not planning her own shower? And aside from reacting in horror, as you do, to the idea of presiding at a sort of viewing stand for the purpose of collecting tributes?

She would be happily anticipating the birth of the baby, secure in the knowledge that friends and family will be even happier to celebrate after that event (and perhaps to bring those keepsakes-to-be).

It should not matter that this will not take the form of a shower. If, by then, people are still not able to pay the customary first visit to a new baby, surely you will want to have virtual visits with them.

Dear Miss Manners: May I please cut the label flaps off my good towels? They are nothing but a bother.

Only if you allow Miss Manners to cut those pesky little tags off her scarves. No matter how she drapes the scarf, the tag insists on being on top.

Dear Miss Manners: I inherited a silver bracelet from my mother. It is a Greek key design featuring ancient Greek temples, gods and boats between the stations. How should l wear it?

I like having the stations and designs face me, but maybe they should face outward so others could see them?

The acceptable reasons for wearing jewelry are to enjoy it oneself and to show the person who gave it to you how much pleasure you get from it. Showing off, however satisfying, is not a proper reason.

Therefore, wear your bracelet facing you. Should you be seized with the secret desire to show it off, Miss Manners could point out that by merely raising your arm from the elbow, you will give anyone within range the proper view.

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

2020, by Judith Martin



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