How to Host a Baby Shower That Isn't the Worst
Raise your hand if you enjoy going to baby showers. How about hosting them? Being the guest of honor? We're guessing based on the proliferation of online posts calling for showers to be banned and proclaiming all-out hatred for them, plus the opinion of every woman we know, that the number of raised hands right now is approximately zero.
While we're hoping that the next big trend in baby showers is choosing to forego them, we're not holding our breath. Because there's really no stopping them, here are the dos and don'ts we wish every host would subscribe to when throwing the fateful baby shower.
If at this second you're saying to yourself, "What's wrong with baby showers? I love them, they're so fun!" then we have a few things to get out of the way real quick. First, you are delusional. And, second, please cross us off your invite list. Baby showers are parties we're forced to attend by the bitch known as obligation. Then, only perpetuating the awfulness, we host vindictive parties when we're pregnant because, well, if she made us go to hers, she's coming to ours.
There is absolutely nothing fun about spending your free time at the closest baby store trying to buy something off of your friend's baby registry that's still available and not totally lame, then devoting an entire weekend afternoon mingling with a bunch of the mom-to-be's family and co-workers you've never met before, while being forced to play atrocious games including "fun" icebreakers. (Hint: if anything is dubbed "icebreaker," it is automatically not fun, and the only thing being broken is your nose in the fantasy of every guest you're forcing to play said icebreaker.)
The only thing worse than being invited to your friend's shower is being invited to a distant acquaintance or co-worker's shower and still feeling obligated to go. Think suffering through childish games and sad attempts at conversation is bad at a close friend's party? Imagine going to a shower where you only know the mom-to-be, give or take a couple other women. We're guessing you already have anxiety just thinking about it.
Don't Play Games. Period.
If you insist on having a shower, can we at least agree on kicking the infantile games to the curb? Playing guess-what-candy-bar-is-melted-in-the-diaper-to-look-like-poop is pure torture, and honestly, pretty degrading. Ditto on making us taste baby food and guessing the flavor. Then there's Pregnant Twister, which requires guests to strap on a pillow and put on a fanny pack with hand weights, then play Twister, while the real pregnant lady sits out to
point and laugh spin the wheel and serve as judge. Then there's the game where guests guess the size of the mother-to-be's belly bump, which is just awkward and embarrassing for both the MTB and guests, not to mention, not fun. The Diaper Pin game involving a word like "baby" that guests can't say and must forfeit their pins upon being caught doing so is just obnoxious. There's always some overzealous guest who stalks everybody and tries to trick them into saying the word, in attempts at winning some prize like a sleeping eye-mask. No thanks!
Don't Do Money Registries Apparently this is a growing trend, but we think it's tacky. Everybody already knows the only reason people have baby showers is to get gifts, but when pure cash is chosen over those personally-picked-out or handmade gifts, it makes us feel a little used. We feel a lot better about the thought of your baby donning a cute pair of shoes or snuggling with a blanket we bought them versus giving you a card with cold hard cash to spend. Sure, some people prefer to just give cash and save the time of getting a gift -- likewise on weddings -- but when money's the only "gift" registered for, it comes off as greedy and impolite.
Do Ask for Advice Have guests write advice and well wishes during the party. Compile their bits of wisdom into a scrapbook for the MTB.
Do you want to watch this chick open all these gifts? We sure don't.
Don Richards via Flickr
Don't Open Gifts at the Shower Absolutely zero people enjoy sitting in an awkward circle with the MTB while she opens up every single gift and card she received. We understand that the tradition was probably established as a polite way of showing appreciation for the gifts. While we appreciate the appreciation, we'd appreciate it more if you opened the plethora of pink onesies, bibs, and other baby items on your own time. Feigning interest in every cutesy contribution to your baby is exhausting -- for the almost-mom and her guests. We're guessing the MTB would really rather not put on an Oscar-worthy act of appearing genuinely delighted with every monotonous gift she gets. So save the gift opening for after the party. If anyone really wants to see your gift reactions, then they can stay for a personal viewing.
This is the face of every woman after being forced to perform during gift opening ceremony
Jason Meredith via Flickr
Do Create a Time Capsule Have guests bring a small gift to put into a "time capsule" chest or box that will serve as a window to the past for the baby to go through when he or she is older to see what the world was like the year he or she was born. Another great idea along the same lines is to make a scrapbook for the baby with personalized, decorated notes from guests detailing "how I met your mother."
Don't Invite Anyone with Whom You're Not Close It's bad enough to force your friends to mingle and make conversation with your weird aunt or your significant other's grandmother, but when you throw in acquaintances and co-workers into the mix it gets downright painful. Not to mention that these "friends" will notice that they've only been included in something in your life when they're expected to bring you a gift. Baby showers should be personal, and there shouldn't be any obligation to invite people you're not actually friends with.
Don't Succumb to Non-Traditional Showers This category includes "Sprinkles," which are (supposedly) mini-shower versions for additional kids, "Grandmother Showers," where her friends buy her gifts she'll need for to dote on her grandkids, or the cringe-inducing "Man Shower," also known as "Daddy Diaper Parties," where the father-to-be's friends gather round to imbibe on beers and apparently contribute a pack of diapers. The only thing worse than a co-ed shower is sending cutesy invites to your dude's friends to essentially beg for diapers, under the pretense of male bonding. We're not discounting the excitement expectant dads have for their impending child, but we doubt they're clamoring to host a "man shower" -- unless it's one like Kourtney Kardashian's boyfriend, Scott Disick, threw for himself in Miami.
Don't Host a Virtual Baby Shower What's worse than having to attend a baby shower in person? Attending one "virtually." This new trend usually occurs when the MTB lives out of town and an in-person shower isn't possible. For the virtual shower, the host often sends decorations to the MTB and instructs her not to open gifts that are sent prior to the "shower." Then, pictures of the decorations are sent to the guests so they can see what the shower would have looked like if they were there. It's also common to send links to food you would have liked to serve... if you had been able to host a physical party. And if you thought that with virtual showers you'd be free of playing the games, think again. Just because you've gone digital doesn't mean you'll escape guessing how big the MTB's stomach is. Bottom line: Virtual baby showers force a weird version of a party that is obnoxious enough to begin with. If you are our friend, we'll be happy to buy you a thoughtful gift regardless of where you live.
Do Give Favors Give attendees favors they will enjoy and appreciate-don't skimp. Think eco-friendly, non-toxic candles, gift cards to a local coffeeshop, luxe nail polishes (non-toxic), perfume or other beauty products. Many stores offer trial sizes of many highly-sought after products that would be pretty pricey if you purchased the full-size version, but are equally appreciated in its mini version.
Don't Skip Booze Just because the MTB can't drink doesn't mean you should make your guests suffer through their duty of making small talk with people they'll never see again, sniffing faux-poop-filled diapers, or pretending to care that you got that top-of-the line transforming so-and-so while sober. Whether it's mimosas or sangria, your guests deserve some sort of cocktail.
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