Celebrating birth: the baby shower

What does a baby shower mean to you? To me it is a way to pre-celebrate the birth of a child with friends and family, and to present the parents-to-be with gifts for the baby. Here in Switzerland (and also in most part of Europe) baby showers are not popular like in the US, Canada or Brazil but I must say that more and more people have started doing it.

Planning the shower

the hostess: Tradition says that a baby shower should be hosted by a close friend of the parents-to-be and not a member of the family since it is considered rude for families to beg for gifts on behalf of their members. Nowadays, it is very common for the mother, sister or mother-in-law to host a baby shower for their relative. Many expecting mothers are also getting in charge of their own shower, go girl!

the guest list: Close friends and family members are the guests. Baby showers are traditionally known as an “only women” event. Although it has become more common to include the dad-to-be, male relatives, spouses and friends on the guest list, I think that male guests somehow change the chemistry of the event. I would organize a parallel event only for the men, on another site, and keep the “women only” tradition.

setting the date: Just to make sure that the baby doesn’t arrive before the party, showers should take place about eight to six weeks before the baby’s due date.

choosing the venue: It is all about the budget. Beautiful baby showers can be held at home, it only depends on the quantity of guests, size of your home and your availability. Restaurants and tea rooms are good venues for those types of events and some of them offer rooms dedicated to private parties. You can also look up for room rentals in churches, private buildings and hotels.

the invitation: As you already know, I am a big fan of written invitations and a baby shower is such a special occasion to send out a beautiful invite. Regardless of the type of the invitation (written or a phone call), they should be sent at least three weeks before the shower takes place.

gifts: Guests are expected to bring gifts to baby showers. Some parents prefer to register but I particularly don’t agree with it, I think it takes away the spontaneity. Typical gifts for a baby shower include baby clothes, diapers and toys. A friend of mine hosted a baby shower a few years ago and she asked the guests to bring diapers for her baby. It was a very good and inexpensive gift idea.

theme: A theme can make the baby shower even more special. Some people think that choosing a theme will make the party more expensive but it is not really true. The rule “less is more” also applies here and, with creativity, is possible to throw a beautiful themed baby shower with a low budget.

food: Hummm food, who doesn’t like food? There are many options of (easy and chic) dishes that will make any baby shower menu delicious. First you need to decide if the party will be a brunch, an afternoon tea or a happy hour (alcohol-free of course!), and then it is time to plan the menu. I have a few menu suggestions for showers at home:

brunch: Fresh fruits, mini-croissants, mini breads, integral bread, cheese, butter and margarine, cream cheese, yogurts, turkey breast, eggs, lemon cake, fruit juice, tea and coffee.

afternoon tea: Coffee and tea, fruit juices, fruit salad with yogurt, cakes: banana, walnut, chocolate, orange, lemon, scones or biscuits, home-made cookies, truffles or Brazilian favorite party treats: Brigadeiros and cupcakes – at least one per guest, everybody loves a cupcake!

happy hour: Non-alcoholic fruit cocktails, ice tea, healthy finger food (no deep fried food!): tomato-mozzarella-basil sticks, bruschetta, polenta mini-pizza, mini cheese quiche, pop-corn, etc.; panini, veggies and dips (yogurt, hummus, eggplant), cheese plate, breads and hot soup (great idea for a cold evening).

guestbook: This is a very nice gift for the expecting mother and the baby. In the guestbook, friends and family can share fun baby predictions, wishes and advice for the parents-to-be. Make sure to reserve a space in the book for a photo of each guest.

take home treats: A small gift to remember the shower is a good idea, and it doesn’t need to be an expensive present. Lotions, perfumes, soaps and homemade treats in a pretty package will impress all the guests and you won’t spend too much cash.
thank you notes: Thank your guests for coming to your shower and for the gift you received sending them a thank you note within one to two weeks after the shower.

Sources and photo credits:

1. Andréa Cocchiarale
2. babyshowersideas.info
3. Zazzle.ch
4. Uprinting.com
5. Bettycrocker.com
6. Better Homes and Gardens
7. Blog scissors and spatulas
8. Revista Crescer
9. Better Homes and Garden