Baby showers are a rite of passage for many pregnant women. After all, what can be a better reason to celebrate than the upcoming birth of a baby? But throwing a party in honor of the new addition can often pose a challenge for friends and family. How can you differentiate your party from every other baby-related get-together?
Luckily, there's plenty you can do to freshen up your shower. While it may seem like you've been attending the same old pre-baby party for years, they're still a fairly modern American tradition. Baby showers gained popularity after World War II, during -- appropriately enough -- the baby boom, but these days, they don't have to be limited to diaper cakes and old-fashioned games. Hosting a baby shower can be a creative and exciting event. This article offers five fun ideas any mom-to-be would want to be a part of!
5: Go Green
Maintaining a green lifestyle with an infant is hard. Mom probably won't be thinking about the environment at 2 a.m. when she discovers she's out of clean cloth diapers, but that's no reason you can't host an eco-conscious baby shower. Here are some ideas for a fun party with a small footprint:
- Save trees: Instead of paper invitations, send out electronic invites with all the details. You'll also save money by not buying stamps and paper.
- Ditch the disposable dishes: There are many recyclable options for dishes, utensils and cups, but it's still greener (and cheaper) to just use your own dinnerware for the party.
- Go gently used: Ask each of your guests to bring in a gently-used onesie instead of buying a new outfit.
- Buy local: Buy your food from local growers. Not only will your food be fresher, it also won't have to travel as far to reach your plate.
4: Spice up the Games
Shower games are a notorious part of baby showers, but they can be a bit outdated. Pregnant woman may not want the focus to be on them and their burgeoning bellies. It's time to revamp Guess the Girth and those fake poop-smelling games people are expecting. Here are some ideas:
- Guess That Baby: Ask guests to bring baby photos of themselves to the party. Write the names on the back of each photo, so you don't forget who's who. The person who matches the most babes to adults wins.
- Baby Food Critic: Baby foods now come in a wide variety of flavors and textures. Test the most unusual varieties for a chance to win a food-related prize such as a cookbook or cookware.
- Baby Olympics: Set up an obstacle course or relay race that must be navigated with a stroller or baby carrier. The new mommy may not be able to play, but she'll get a huge kick out of everyone else running around with baby dolls!
3. Spoil Mom (and her friends!)
Once the baby is born, Mom will have little time for anything else, especially self-pampering. If the mom-to-be is someone who loves to spend time at a spa, celebrate with a relaxing afternoon for her and her girlfriends. Here are some suggestions for planning a spa-themed baby shower:
- Spa treatment: Hire a masseuse for gentle foot or back massages and an aesthetician for facials or cucumber masks. If bringing in the pros is out of your budget, set up a manicure and pedicure station. Just because the mom-to-be can't see her feet doesn't mean they shouldn't look amazing!
- Healthy food ideas: Keeping lunch on the light side goes hand in hand with a spa afternoon. A variety of salads and finger sandwiches won't weigh anyone down. Set up a smoothie bar for a sweet touch. Desserts can be petite and creative, such as mini-cupcakes or small fruit salads.
- Create a relaxing atmosphere: Playing meditation or classical music will keep everyone's spirits relaxed and focused on each other. Decorating with candles and simple, light colored flowers will also add to the quiet, relaxing atmosphere.
2: Get Bookish
A book-themed shower is thoughtful, fun and will greatly benefit the new little one. Here are some ideas to get you started for an infant-lit party:
- Books: While books for babies will be the most immediately useful, guests can bring literature for all stages, not just newborns. Picture books, easy readers, and even standard kid's books will all be appreciated as the child grows. If you want to bring a present for Mom, go for a journal, scrapbook or even an audiobook (as it'll likely be a while before she has time to do any non-baby-related reading).
- Décor: Theme each table according to famous children's books. For example, a "Curious George" table could be yellow in honor of the Man in the Yellow Hat and feature monkey-themed paper plates and cups. No two tables should be alike, and everyone can choose where they sit based on their preferred character or book.
- Food: Potential food-related literary themes are endless. Go for an "Alice in Wonderland" crazy tea party with cakes and finger sandwiches. Bring fruit to the forefront for "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
1: Travel the World
Celebrating a new family member also means celebrating the culture that the baby will be born into. Have fun playing up on Mom's and Dad's cultural backgrounds with food, décor, gifts and games. This is a great theme to use when the party is for the entire family, not just the mom-to-be.
An international-themed baby shower can be a great collaborative experience for the parents. Transform the party space into a Moroccan oasis, the Italian seaside or a French bistro. Talk to Mom about what aspects of her background she'd like to see represented at the shower. Make a CD with cultural music to set the theme and have a party!
Lots More Information
- How to Make Homemade Baby Shower Favors
- Throw an Eco-friendly Baby Shower, Celebrity Style
- 5 Unique, Homemade Baby Shower Gifts
- Babycenter. "100 most popular baby names of 2011." (Jan. 27, 2012)http://www.babycenter.com/top-baby-names-2011
- Babycenter. "Baby shower planning and etiquette." Aug. 2011. (Jan. 27, 2012) http://www.babycenter.com/0_baby-shower-planning-and-etiquette_1642.bc
- Babycenter. "Top 10 baby shower gifts." Jan. 2012. (Jan. 27, 2012)http://www.babycenter.com/0_top-ten-baby-shower-gifts_5387.bc
- Bjerga, Alan. "Cost to Raise 2010 U.S. Newborn is $226,920." Bloomberg. June 9, 2011. (Jan. 30, 2012)http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-06-09/u-s-child-born-in-2010-may-cost-226-920-to-raise-usda-says.html
- CBS News. ""7 billionth" babies celebrated worldwide." Oct. 31, 2011. (January 30, 2012)http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-20127743/7-billionth-babies-celebrated-worldwide/
- Eng, Heather. "14 Festive Baby Shower Games." Parents.com. (Jan. 28, 2012) http://www.parents.com/baby/shower/games/fun-baby-shower-games/
- Immergut, Debra Jo. "A Quick Etiquette Guide to Baby Celebrations." Parents.com. (Jan. 28, 2012) http://www.parents.com/baby/shower/planning/a-quick-etiquette-guide-to-baby-celebrations/
- Sorensen, Janelle. "Hosting a Green Baby Shower." Healthy Child Healthy World. March 26, 2008. (Jan. 20, 2012) http://healthychild.org/blog/comments/hosting_a_green_baby_shower/
- Washington Post, the. "Miss Manners: Modesty is the best party policy." Sept. 11, 2011. (Jan. 30, 2012)http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/10/AR2010091005903.html
- Webber, Rebecca. "New Baby Trend: Grandma's Getting a Baby Shower." Grandparents.com. (Jan. 30, 2012) http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/expert-advice/new-grandparents/article/ababyshowerforgrandma.html