Whenever my kids let me pick the books I read to them at bedtime, a few stand out above the rest. There's the melodic board book On the Night You Were Born, the ridiculously funny Dragons Love Tacos, and a pop-up alphabet book about animals for which I can never remember the actual title. I love these three very different books for very different reasons, but they all have one meaningful thing in common.
They've all got a heartfelt, handwritten inscription on the front inside cover from the loved one who gave it to us. Every time I open one of these books, I feel a connection to my support group – whether a great-aunt, a close friend, or my parent's neighbours – and am reminded of how much they care.
I wish more of my children's books had such sweet words inside. But too late did I discover the new baby shower trend that tasks the entire invite list with building up a baby's library in such a sentimental way.
Recently, more and more baby shower hosts have asked guests to reconsider spending a few bucks on a Hallmark greeting card that will likely be recycled at party's end or, at best, tucked away in a memento box that goes unopened for years. Instead, they are asking friends and family to bring a baby book that they've signed, ideally alongside a heartfelt inscription.
Many invitations now even include a short poem prompting this gift idea:
Personally, I love the concept. Not only is it highly personal – guests can purchase their most beloved childhood book or a story that has a message they value (ahem, Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!) – but it allows those sweet well wishes to remain accessible for years of constant viewing.
Sure, some people might consider it bad etiquette to make such a specific mandate, likely one that is in addition to a gift off their registry, but with most greeting cards costing $4 to $7, it's not so ridiculous to instead spend that on a similarly priced copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Goodnight Moon. Plus, gently-used books can be found for pennies. And who doesn't have that in-law who'd come with a handmade scrapbook filled with family photos?
What do you think? Do you like the idea of skipping the greeting card or do you prefer not being forced into a specific gift idea?