Friday, December 24, 2010

Baby Shower Planning Steps

Throwing a baby shower for a best girlfriend, co-worker, or sister can be a lot of fun. But it can also be a lot of work and stress for the host. How can you throw an unforgettable shower without an over-the-top budget and 'round the clock planning?

Looking for original ideas to enhance your best friend's baby shower? From fun foods to giving the right gift, these 25 terrific tips will make any baby shower memorable for the mom-to-be and guests.

Fabulous Food: Create a Theme

1. Baby Shower Buffet: Buffets are great for ease of use and presentation. Have fun with the menu and get creative. Offer a variety of high-quality Thai take-out, plates of Italian antipasti, a salad buffet, a selection of tropical fruits, or assemble a delicious collection of French pastries.

2. Cake Creativity: Fun baby-themed cakes can easily be made with a few standard cake pans—how about a diaper, baby bottle, or bootie cake? For a super-easy cake, just use a round cake pan and draw a big baby's face on the cake top.

3. Baby Food Fun: Ask guests to bring foods that they have named in a baby theme or use items with the word "baby" in them, such as baby snap peas and carrots.

4. Get Fruity: Healthy and easy to prepare and serve, fruits make for a pretty presentation. Try a spiralled fruit tart with various sliced fruits circled in a pastry shell and drizzled with a sweet glaze.

5. Easy Potluck: New moms are grateful for healthy recipes that are simple and tasty. Arrange easy-to-make dishes your guests can bring for you all to enjoy, and combine the recipes in a binder for the guest of honour.

Party Planner: Give Guests Something to Do

6. Game Time: The Internet is filled with baby shower games. There are games you can buy (Baby Bingo, Baby Shower Scratch Off, etc.) or games you can do on your own (diapering blindfolded, identifying baby pictures of guests that they bring with them). Research the party games that will best suit your audience, whether tame and silly, or intellectual.

7. Innovative Party Favours: Instead of toiling away constructing cute party favours, supply your guests with inexpensive craft packets of fun projects such as a sachet, painted flowerpots, or simple jewellery.

8. Party with Purpose: "If you stage an activity it always makes for a better time," shares Foxman. "We recently planned a scrapbooking shower where everyone put a page together at the shower itself. They had a ball." To throw your own scrapbooking shower, supply the materials for the pages or ask guests to bring materials to make their page as part of the shower.

9. Charity Crafts: Does your guest of honour have a really generous heart? Throw a shower that celebrates her new arrival and helps many other babies, too. An even easier charity idea is to collect a toy or supply at the door for donation.

10. Conversation Starters: Buy a pre-made conversation game or make up your own questions about parenthood, babies, and pregnancy. Just ask a group of moms about labour and you're sure to get an earful!

11. Take a Test: Use an online quiz website and print out copies of especially themed tests, which can include such topics as children's nursery rhymes to popular names and baby stats. Give a prize to the winner!

Great Gift Giving: Tried and True Ideas

12. Online Registries: Make gift registries easy on guests by choosing a conventional store that also has a secure online registry, giving them more options for choosing that perfect present.

13. Personalize It: New parents love personalization! A simple hand-painted toy box with the baby's name or initialized socks and onesies make for classic gifts.

14. Make it Memorable: Make a memory of the day by documenting the event. Use a camcorder, camera, and journal to record all the gifts, guests, and goings on.

15. Sage Advice: Ask each guest for parenting advice. Compile all the quotes into a pretty book that can be labeled for Mom and kept as a useful keepsake.

16. Mom-to-Be's Baby Days: Research what the mom-to-be was like as a baby and create a mini-presentation. Discuss her habits, tantrums, and messiest moments, all accompanied by pictures. Store your notes and photos in an album for the new mama to share with her little ones.

17. Homemade Heirlooms: Make an heirloom-quality quilt, christening dress, or petticoat. Embroider the baby's name and birth date (or christening date) on the item and offer to embroider the same information for each successive recipient.

18. Baby Bathtub Gift Basket: Assemble bath-time items in a baby bathtub. Wrap the filled tub with a large sheet of cellophane, tie it with a colourful bow, and top it with an adorable rubber duck.

19. Nursery Gift Basket: Decorate a basket or even buy a sturdy laundry basket or hamper and fill it with nursery supplies contributed by the guests.

20. Flex Your Buying Power: Ask baby shower guests to contribute to the purchase of major baby gear item, such as a crib, bassinet, cradle, high chair, stroller, or portable play yard.

21. Spa Time for Mom-to-Be: In the parade of strollers and layette gifts, sometimes Mom is forgotten. Bubble bath, gourmet chocolate bars, a pretty candle, and a few coupons for babysitting bring a smile to any tired new mother's face. Add some soothing music for late night feedings and some chic outfits specifically designed for breastfeeding moms.

22. Hospital Readiness Kit: Make Mom's time in the hospital comfy and stylish by giving her specially designed birthing loungewear. Add other touches like soft slippers, massage oils, and a stylish overnight bag.

23. Stick to the Classics: Silver rattles, spoons, porringers, mirrors, or other items engraved with the baby's initials and the date of birth are treasured keepsakes.

24. Picture Perfect: Compile a memory book with pictures of the baby's parents, brothers, sisters, and relatives. And remember, new parents can never have too many picture frames.

25. Book Club: Ask each guest to bring a favourite book from her childhood or a favourite story of her child's to create a library for baby-to-be. Don't forget to include a few parenting nonfiction staples.

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