Get the best baby shower ideas, baby shower games, baby shower menus, baby shower decor and more! The Mom-to-be will love everything you've planned for her baby shower -- from the invitations to the cake!
Anyone, from a family member to a coworker -- but generally not the expectant parents themselves -- can host the event, which is usually held during the last two months of pregnancy. Some couples, however, hesitate to stock a nursery before the child has arrived, and some like to hold out until the baby can be the guest of honor. Ask the couple if they would prefer a pre- or postbirth shower. Typically, showers are held for first children only, but this is not a rule.
Although a phone call can be sufficient invitation, written ones are more in keeping with the momentousness of the event. Invitations should be sent at least three weeks in advance to an intimate number of friends and family members. The parents-to-be can help make the guest list so that no one important is forgotten. Also, decide if men and children will be welcome. Traditionalists prefer a women-only event, while modernists believe that the father should be invited.
A party theme, although not necessary, can bring a greater sense of festivity to the event. Inventiveness and thoughtful touches can make the party great. If you opt not to have a theme, avoid pastels. Keep the decor bright. Flowers are particularly appropriate for a celebration of birth. Remember to keep decorations to a few: All attention will be focused, anyway, on the belly of the mother-to-be.
Shower horror stories tend to center on intricate yet tasteless finger foods. Rich, full-bodied foods set the right tone for an event celebrating the start of a rich, full life. Keep last-minute work to a minimum. Choose foods that are easy to prepare and can be eaten out of hand at room temperature -- cheese and vegetable tarts, grilled-chicken salads, homemade pizzas, fruit or green salads. There's no shame in potluck, either, particularly if each guest brings a dish for which she or her local gourmet store is famous.
Gift opening is the main event, but another activity can enliven the gathering. It can tie into the theme (bingo for a polka-dot-themed party), serve as a way to educate the mom-to-be, or simply provide entertainment. Try this activity: Guests write their favorite names for boys and girls on slips of paper that are dropped in jars for the parents' consideration.
This shower theme was inspired by the French countryside in summer, where the fields are carpeted in lavender and the sky is nursery blue. Most of the food, which includes potato leek soup, pissaladiere, madeleines, and chocolat blanc for favors, is easy to prepare and can be eaten out of hand at room temperature. And the decorations are few: embroidered linens, a tiny arrangement of forget-me-nots, and a few dangling wired wreaths, making planning a breeze.
A simple and cheerful flower inspires an outdoor baby shower with fresh-picked decor, favors, and food. The daisy is easy to replicate in decor and favors, but not every detail is flower-shaped; yellow-and-white favors -- lollipops, rubber ducks, and paper cones holding penny candy -- are just as fitting; a gingham tablecloth is summery.
The color white signifies goodness, innocence, and purity -- all of which describe a baby. Give a white-themed shower and you will honor mother and child in style. Creating a white theme is simple. Fill a living room or dining room with white balloons and streamers. Ask guests to bring their gifts wrapped in snowy hues. Glass and white porcelain dishes for serving complete the theme. The only centerpiece needed is a towering white layer cake and a candy bar where guests can nibble on sweets and later bundle their favorites in swatches of white tulle or muslin to take home as favors.
But what if the mom-to-be doesn't live nearby? You can still celebrate by instilling the spirit of a shower into a thoughtful care package -- a shower in a box. If you like, invite other would-be shower guests to participate and add a theme to the box. With all the supplies on hand -- colorful tissue paper, gift tags, and so on -- have a wrapping party. When the presents arrive (it's best if it's a surprise), the mom-to-be can open each present and savor the affection with which the collection was assembled.
Combining bright balloons and sweet flower shapes is an ideal way to celebrate the anticipated arrival of a bright and beautiful baby. You can set the party indoors or outdoors, where a sunny day and garden can decorate the shower for you. All that you need are a few special touches.
The ultimate present for any new mom? Wisdom from those who've been there. Give the mom-to-be a basket of things that you and other mothers have grown to rely on and love, or fill the box with essential items for a new baby, such as booties, a thermometer, nail scissors, and a cotton undershirt; for Mom, a candy-filled baby bottle and bag of herbal tea.
Help a father-to-be prepare for the baby's birth with a hospital pouch packed just for him. Include a snack; a prepaid phone card; a camera with extra film; a stopwatch for timing contractions; and a notebook, so he can keep track of important telephone numbers, insurance information, and gifts received at the hospital.
It's never too early to begin a child's library, and a set of classics -- from "Peter Pan" to "Mother Goose" -- is sure to be appreciated in the reading years to come. To personalize a gift of books, include a set of handmade bookplates: Color-copy borders from clip-art books to make the plates, stack them together, and tie with a bow -- or have bookplate images made into rubber stamps.
When it comes to gifts, let others buy the burp cloths -- you can supply some of the newborn's first sights and sounds. Compile custom CDs of nursing and bedtime tunes. Make scrapbooks to show the baby who's who in her new world: Have grandparents-to-be email family photos and make color printouts and corresponding labels, sticking them into books using double-sided archival tape.
Friends and relatives who live far away may not be able to read their favorite books in person to a baby, but they can still share stories in a meaningful way -- by making a recording of themselves reading one aloud. Label the tape, and send it with a copy of the book.
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