This new trend among parents-to-be means a new set of rules about what's appropriate.
Marshmallow Gender Reveal Cake
maxicake/Getty Images
| Credit: maxicake/Getty Images

Finding out a close friend or family member is pregnant is a time of celebration. It's an exciting season that calls for buying gifts for the baby shower, offering to help with the mama-to-be's nesting projects, and—in 2019—it often calls for attending a gender reveal party.

You know the ones: A group of family and friends gets together to witness the expectant parents find out whether they're having a boy or a girl, usually through some activity that suddenly reveals pink or blue when the time is right and the cameras are ready (shooting off confetti, cutting into a cake, hitting a golf ball, etc.).

Gender reveal parties are a fairly new tradition, so it's understandable that you might have questions before attending one for the first time—especially on the subject of gifts.

We've found that there's a well-accepted assumption that gifts are not required or expected at a gender reveal party. You can think of it like being invited over for a dinner party or other casual get-together (though we know these parties can stray far from casual). So, if you feel it's appropriate to bring a hostess gift to the parents or whoever is hosting the party—like a bottle of wine or flowers—go for it.

But we think it's more than polite to arrive empty-handed (other than perhaps sporting the color of your gender "bet") since the gender reveal party will likely be followed by a more formal baby shower. And if the parents are making a to-do about whether their little bundle of joy will be sporting pink or blue, you can assume the registry will be full of gendered gifts they'd rather you shop from once the cat is out of the bag.

Some folks may simply not be able to resist shopping for little socks or sweet stuffed animals (who can blame them?), so don't feel uncomfortable if you see other guests come to the party with gifts. It's more than appropriate to wait even until the baby is born to give a gift, so it's certainly nothing to worry about. Sharing in the couple's joy and excitement of receiving this significant announcement is gift enough.