Southerners sure know how to welcome a new baby in style.
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Multi-generation women smiling in backyard
Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc

If your friend or family member recently welcomed a new addition, they may invite you to a sip and see to celebrate. Here's everything you should know before you attend.

What is a Sip and See?

A sip and see is a small, informal gathering to introduce friends and family to a new baby. At the open-house-style celebration, guests can expect light refreshments (that accounts for the "sip") and to "see" the parents' little bundle of joy. Sip and sees originated here in the South (who but the Southern hostess could have coined such a catchy name for the fete, after all?), but folks all over the country have since adopted the tradition.

What's the Difference Between a Baby Shower and a Sip and See?

A baby shower (typically reserved for a couple's first child) or sprinkle (a nice gesture for any children after that) happens before the baby is born, while a sip and see happens after. Beyond the difference in timing, there's another differentiating factor between a shower or sprinkle and a sip and see: who hosts the event. While close friends, siblings, aunts or cousins, or coworkers typically throw parents-to-be a baby shower or sprinkle, the new parents themselves often host the sip and see. If the new parents live far from home, the grandparents may also host hometown celebrations so that friends and family there can meet the baby too.

Should I Bring a Gift to a Sip and See?

While new parents will not expect a gift (especially if they've already been the recipients of a sprinkle and shower), it's up to guests to decide if they would like to bring one. A small token of congratulations, like a personalized rattle or a meaningful children's book, is always a thoughtful gesture. Of course, if the parents were never given a shower or sprinkle, it's more customary to bring a gift, though it still wouldn't be expected.