Perfect Ideas for Baby Showers

You won't feel stressed thinking up ideas for baby showers if you get as much as you can done ahead of time, leaving the mother-to-be and guests to focus on the party.

Pre-Shower Planning
In the past, non-relatives gave baby showers, but today it's common for the new mom's mother or sister to host a baby shower. Decide where you will host the shower, whether it's at your home, a church or community center or even after work in the conference room. Some restaurants can provide small private dining areas for small to medium-sized groups. No matter where you hold the event, make sure that it is centrally located and easy for guests to find.

Baby showers should be given about a month before the due date, although a growing trend is to have baby showers a month or so after the baby is born. This way, everyone gets a chance to see the new arrival and take turns holding and cuddling the baby. Whatever you decide, make sure you don't plan the shower too close before or after the due date, as that could become complicated with either an early arrival or the new mother simply not feeling up to socializing.

Invitations
Unless you are throwing a surprise baby shower, let the mother-to-be take a look at the guest list before you send out invitations. She may have a few people to add as well. While written invitations are still the best way to go, you can also use any of the popular online invitation sites, where it's easy to RSVP to the clever animated electronic invites. Either way, take the time to come up with cute and creative invitations to set the atmosphere for the theme of the baby shower. Send invitations at least three weeks before the party to ensure guests have sufficient time to make plans to attend.

Themes, Decorations and Favors
The theme for a baby shower should reflect the personality of the mother-to-be. If she's a laid-back kind of woman, a casual theme would suit her, while another new mom may enjoy a more cosmopolitan atmosphere. Either way, make sure that the party theme and decorations reflect her style. After all, the party is for her and the new baby and it should be something for her to remember and record in the baby book. Here are a few themes that can fit a variety of personalities:

Classic Cutie. Charm everyone with an oh-so-cute baby theme. Decorate using a clothesline with plenty of cute baby items that mom can take home afterwards, or hang diapers on the line that spell out B-A-B-Y S-H-O-W-E-R in pastel paints. Use old-fashioned ABC blocks and stuffed animals to create a cute centerpiece. Party favors can include little quote books with bookmarks, novelty soaps or baby bottles filled with candy kisses.

Par-Tea Time. Evoke the luxurious Victorian era with a tea-themed baby shower. Decorations can center on Victorian pastel colors, ornate teapots and teacups and elaborate frilly details. Consider using small lace bonnets, frilly baby socks, delicate teacups and lacy parasols for a clever centerpiece. Party favors can include samples of gourmet teas, which can be packaged in vintage teacups found at consignment shops or thrift stores.

Sweet Surprise. This theme is especially good when the mother-to-be doesn't know the gender of her unborn child. Focus on rich chocolate colors, offset with light blue or yellow, and focus on all things sweet. The centerpiece can be a pastry pyramid, and party favors are easy with gourmet truffles, personalized candy bars or novelty cookies.

Noah's Ark. Perfect for the mother expecting twins, the Noah's Ark theme can be decorated using bold colors and groups of stuffed animals. Offer food treats "two by two" including two mini-cupcakes, two apple tarts or two frosted cookies. Party favors are a snap with boxes of animal crackers or rain-scented candles.

Baby Shower Games
Finding games for baby showers is often the trickiest part. As host, you want to ensure that everyone is having a good time with creative games:

How Much? Before the party, purchase about 10 baby items, and note the exact price. At the party, display each item, and have guests write down how much they think each item costs. The one with the most correct answers wins a prize, and the mom-to-be receives all the items in a basket.

Decorate Clothes or Quilt Squares. Many baby shower hosts opt to have a craft project in lieu of games. Set up a decorating table where guests can use fabric paint or other baby-safe embellishments to create designer onesies, T-shirts or hats for the new baby. Another idea is to have each guest decorate a quilt square, and they can be sewn together later into a memorable keepsake.

Baby Food Games. Play "Feed the Baby" by pairing up guests. The blindfolded person must feed their partner all the baby food from a jar. The fastest feeder wins. Another game is to select 10 to 12 different baby foods and remove the jar labels. Guests take turns sniffing and tasting and write down what kind of baby food they think is in the jar. The most correct answers wins.

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