‘Twinkle twinkle little star, can’t wait to see how cute you are…’
While the first part of the phrase might bring back alive some of your precious childhood memories, the last bit of the phrase might leave you wondering what this is all about.
Well…Of course.. It still talks of a childhood, just not yours, but that of a soon to be born little angel. The most common place where you might come across a phrase similar to the above, would most probably be at a Baby Shower.
While the concept of Baby Shower, dates a bit farther back to the 19th century, it has even to date considered a way of celebrating the expected birth of a child and certainly an occasion of celebration. While varieties of cultures across the globe, have their own way of celebrating the occasion (even the name can be different from place to place), the innate idea remains the same.
An occasion where the mother of the child soon to be born, is presented or most likely, showered, with gifts, by friends and family close to her, thus highlighting her transformation from a woman to a mother.
While the celebration has its own dependencies on the cultures, this article will mostly focus on general points, which might come in handy if you’re planning a baby shower or even if you’re about to undergo one, as the parents of a ‘twinkle twinkle little star’.
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What is a Baby Shower and who throws it?
As per the part one of the question, I believe you already have some idea as to what exactly a baby shower is. In a nutshell, it’s an occasion of celebration, an event planned by the friends and family of a mother to be, to celebrate the soon to be arrival of her child. In some culture, baby showers are planned only for the first child, meaning, to mark the transformation of a woman to a mother. Either way, it is a gathering of people close to the family, (mostly delegated by women only, although there are exceptions, which we’ll discuss later on), to celebrate birth.
Throwing up a baby shower is a task that is usually not dedicated or put upon a person, but rather in an ideal world, either a close friend or a relative would come up with the idea of hosting a baby shower for the expectant mother.
In most cases, a baby shower will be organized or hosted by a close female friend of the mother. It may also be a grandmother to be that does it for you. Sometimes, it can even be a sister of the mother who might step up. Anyhow, it has to be a close friend or a relative who host the event. It is generally considered rude to ask someone to host your baby shower, as this is one of those tasks that come with a sense of surprise. Although there are no hard and fast rules or beliefs around throwing a shower, the general understanding also suggests that neither the expectant mother herself nor her spouse should throw the party. Once again, as this is one of those self implemented activities, overlapped with an element of surprise.
However, depending on the circumstances, you may even organize your own baby shower. For an instance, if you’ve newly moved to a particular location and have no friends or family around, hosting your own baby shower, will not only help you address your emotional need, but also would be the ideal platform for you to socialize, get to know the people residing around you. Like I said, no hard and fast rules, Just feel free to improvise as required. However, just ensure that you do not have to end up giving all the gifts, but instead there are other would contribute with something. In such a case, where you have to host your own shower, the best option would be to share your idea with someone, and get that person’s support right throughout.
If by any chance you do not have anybody stepping up, not even your friends, all you need to do, is to just pass some casual hints and give them a slight reminder J
Who should pay for the baby shower?
As mentioned in the section above, every baby shower will be accompanied by a hostess (with certain obvious exceptions) and it is usually the hostess who will take care of all the costs associated with throwing a baby shower. First and foremost would be to finalize the budget, once that is done, you will have a pretty clear cut idea about the costs that will have to be incurred. Thus, if you’re a hostess, after considering the budget, if you feel like it’s a little over your expected budget, you can always get a few close friends or a few family members to pool in with some money. They may even co-host the event along with you. Like mentioned before, there are no strict rules, not one person alone need to plan everything, it can even be a group of friends who would want to pan it and they may even share the expenses among them, thus even the unit cost per person will decrease too. Just ensure, you do not get the expectant mother to pool in cash as this may be considered rude in most cultures.
Where should it be hosted?
Baby shower is considered a purely celebrational occasion, where the mother to be, get to spend time with her close loved ones, and prepare for her journey to be a mother. Although the agenda, of a baby shower event may vary from one to another, this is expected to be a serene, calm and smooth event. And thus the general perception, is that a baby shower be held at a place where the mother is most comfortable to be. Thus, usually, it is held at the house of the expectant, but depending on the need, the venue can even be shifted to a house of another friend of a cousin per say.
If the plan is to move to a public location, I would rather suggest you to reconsider, as this is not the usually accepted practice, however, if you still want to have it at a neutral location, best would be to reserve a secluded place if it’s in a restaurant or a hotel, so that the participants, including the mother can have some time for themselves, as after all, what is predominantly expected would be the happiness of the mother sprinkled with a sense of calmness and actualization.
In addition, you may even move out of the city to a location of selected by the mother, ideally a place where she can relax and enjoy. However, if this is the case, it would also be wise to take in to account the due date of the mother. Usually the baby showers are held 32 weeks in to the pregnancy, however, the timing of when to hold is totally up the hostess and the expectant mother.
When to host the Baby Shower?
Baby showers are precisely held before the birth of the child. This is both as a practice and makes much sense as well, as ones the baby is here, there will hardly any time, for the mother to focus on anything other than the baby. Although there are no hard and fast rules as to when exactly a baby shower be conducted, the general rule of thumb is to have it around 32 weeks in to the pregnancy. This is so, so that by then, the pregnancy is well established and it is nether too close nor too far from the birth. It is undoubted that a mother should be kept as healthy as possible, not only physically but also mentally, once the birth is approaching, and having the baby shower after about 32 weeks will ensure that the mother is under the keen affection of her loved ones, approaching the birth.
Whom to be invited? Can men take part?
Well if the occasion is hosted and the expenses managed by the hostess herself, then ideally it is also the hostess who should determine whom to be invited and who is welcomed to the party. However, if the baby shower is not a surprise event for the mother to be, then the host might as well consult the expectant mother, when making the guest list.
Almost half of the baby showers are organized as total surprise events to the mother, and in such cases, the hostess, will get the support of her close quarter to figure out who to invite and most likely keep the participant list limited to a particular cross section, such as the family, close friends, work friends etc. However, if the mom is in on the evet, in a case that it is not a surprise any more, then the mother should ideally be given the chance to pick her own audience.
Baby showers shall ideally be restricted to a limited crowd, the people with whom the expectant mother closely associate with. This may be her immediate family, her closest of friends etc. Key to making a guest list is to include all those whom you would miss having. It’s advisable to have just one baby shower before the birth, as too many, hosted by not one people, can become hectic for the mother to participate, and this is also likely to exceed her comfort quarter.
Therefore, it is always better to limit the guest list only to the closest of people to the mother. Not to mention the logistic advantage this may have on the part of the hostess, once the crowd is limited and selected.
It has always been a burning question whether men are invited to be a part of the baby shower. Well.. as mentioned numerous times, there is no fixed rule, but still, baby showers, even to date, are considered an all women gathering. Having said that, this is totally at your own discretion. An innate expectation is to prepare an expectant mother to the journey of motherhood and this of course, theoretically have no need for the men to be a part of. Still, in many modern day baby showers, it can be seen that the mother actually prefers to have at least the father of the child to accompany her. It is evident that the event will be carried on with the mother and the father will join her to begin the gift opening.
Thus, likewise, you have the freedom to make a list of the delegation you would want to have at your baby shower.
Do you need to have a theme for the day?
Well of course, yes!, theme is a must. This is to both spice up the evening, and also to get the people more engaged and interacted. By the time you have the baby shower, the mother would ideally know the gender of the child, whether she is about to give birth to a baby girl or a boy.
Theme can even be made based on that. Baby showers are meant to be a positive vibe that the mother is expected to remember and recall for the rest of her life. Thus, it is advisable to come up with a theme that may be personally attributed with the mother, so that It becomes more personal and thus, much more worth.
Most common baby shower themes for baby girls would be categorized as ‘Cinderella Shower, Little Red Riding Hood, fairy tale showers, little birdy showers and even candy themed baby showers’. For baby boys, ‘spaceships and laser beams, MIckey Mouse, Lion King, Dr. Seuss baby showers’ could be named a few.
However, irrespective of the gender, you can pick any theme as appropriate as usually, it is through the designing and decorations only that distinguish is made whether the party is thrown for a boy or a girl. Having said that, even if you do not know the sex, it is still fine. Most of the themes and gender neutral and basically, as long as the mother is happy and enjoys the theme, that is all that matters.
Are decorations required?
Well Duh!.. Of course! Decorations are required. Irrespective of what the theme is going to be, decorations would play a major role for the effectiveness of the baby shower. As mentioned before, this is expected to be an event which the mother is expected to recall and cherish and one good way to ensure that is that she has the best of time. Decorations may vary depending on the place where the occasion will be conducted. If it is done in the house of the family or even at a house of a relative, putting some effort in to getting the decorations done would not go in to waste. This will completely rest on the host’s shoulders. If the host feels, she may even have a decorations’ head so that that person can overlook the entire event decorations.
It does not need to be complicated arrangements. As long as you can ensure there is the decorations done as per a theme color and the theme in general, even something simple would be totally fine. Having the tables arranged as per the theme, having the gifts wrapped as per the theme, getting the people to come dress in a theme color could be named as a few hints to look in to while arranging the decorations.
What to do in a baby shower?
One of the purposes of a baby shower is for the loved ones to cherish the birth of the child and to greet the parents (mainly, the mother), with gifts and good care. Thus, the entire evening, would be a celebration. A few must haves for a baby shower would be the fun games, light food, some casual chit chats here and there and also, lastly, the gifts.
Basically, a baby shower event would last about 2 to 3 hours. The attires can be casual (or if preferred, it may even be the formal attire and if required, the host can request the participants to come in theme colors, of course with the exception of VIP participants like the grandparents etc.).
A few prerequisites for the event could be named as the baby shower card and the baby shower guest book.
Baby shower cards are bought by the individuals to be handed over to the mother with the gifts. Traditionally, these will include a greeting of best wishes coupled with an attractive and a sensible quote, similar to what is written at the very beginning of this article. J
The baby shower guest book is more of a souvenir, ideally hand prepared by the host, where each of the participants will once again, share their recollections with the mother to be. The expectation been that the mother will be able to recollect good vibes.
It is also customary, to accompany the event with good light food (preferably some cupcakes, baked food, and light drinks) for the event. Saying goes good food and good friends, makes everything a bit more perfect. Thus reserving some effort in to ensuring that these prerequisites are available will ensure the success of a well-planned baby shower.
Furthermore, do not forget the music. True enough you do not need a live band playing. Just have some acoustic classical music playing in the background that would not only be refreshing, but also be ensure smooth flow of the evening,
Rough agenda would flow as follows. You start off with some chitchat, have some mild games played, and then move on to the gift unwrapping, eventually marking the end of a lovely evening.
Many people choose have gamed played at a bridal shower, as will be refreshing and will help reduce whatever the stressfulness, if any, that the soon to be mother might have. While the choose of games totally depends on the host and the mother, a few suggestions of commonly played games would be as follows.
Guess the baby game: Get the guests to bring with them a photograph of themselves as babies. Shuffle up and see whether you can recognize who they are.
Mommy and Daddy secrets: This would be super fun if the dad is also present. Ask 10-20 identical questions from the parents (while one of them is away). Questions such as, where were you when you go the news, what would your first gift be to the child etc. Then share the answers with each other and have a good laugh.
Feed the baby: Give everyone a large bib, make couples, blindfold one and get her to feed the other. Guaranteed fun
Then comes the gift unwrapping, which is pretty much the most exciting part of the evening, at least for the mom to be, many expectant mothers also have their spouses accompany them during the gift opening.
Depending on the creativity of the host, gifts opening can be made more fun and enjoyable as well. Usually, the winners of the games played will also be given gifts (sometimes, along with the mother to be).
One key factor that slip most hosts is to photograph or videograph the entire evening. So, if you’re a host or a mother about to take part in a baby shower, do not forget to video and keep. You will certainly enjoy it when looking back.
In a nutshell, the baby showers are a very commonly celebrated event, all around the globe, as an occasion of happiness, to cherish the birth of a soon to be born child, where the family and the close friends of the expectant mother participates and have few hours of fun filled recollection, better preparing the mother to be, mainly mentally and emotionally, for the birth, while also ensuring she gets to spend some quality time with the people closest to her.
‘Twinkle twinkle little star, can’t wait to see how cute you are…’