Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Unconventional Baby Showers

by Christina VanGinkel

It has long been traditional that first time expectant mothers were given a baby shower by friends or relatives. Any gifts that could be used for additional bundles of joy were stored away to be used when the next baby arrived. Cribs, high chairs, bouncers, clothing, bedding, bottles, even toys were all reused for additional children. Nowadays, it is common for women giving birth to their second and subsequent children to have another shower complete with repeat gifts that were often received at the first shower. Gifts given the first time around may have been given away for lack of storage, sold at a rummage sale, even discarded. Today, if one or two children have used an item, the new parents, or extended family, often think that a new addition to the family means brand new everything.

If you happen to suddenly find yourself in different circumstances, such as going right back to work after the birth and could use the extra equipment to outfit a grandparent's or babysitter's house, by all means go ahead and have a second or even third traditional style baby shower.

However, if you find yourself pregnant with a new addition and already have all the equipment that goes hand in hand with having a baby in the house, consider some alternative ideas. Think about celebrating the coming arrival with all your friends by requesting, or asking the party throwers to request, either a no gift party, or an unconventional gift list, such as gift coupons for free babysitting for the older siblings, or some other unorthodox but useful items.

Nothing is wrong with celebrating subsequent births; it just makes more sense to have party goers know that the gifts they give are actually things you can use. If you choose to go the no gift route, consider asking everyone to bring a baby gift to be donated to a local hospital or shelter. On the other hand, ask everyone to come with a gift of a non-perishable food item to be donated to a shelter. Try to find the spirit to spread the joy to some other newly expectant parents who may not be as fortunate as you may be.

Celebrating the arrival of your brand new baby should not be tied to gifts if you already have everything you need. Still, you will want to remember the party for your future child. Mark the day by having all the attendees write a note about how they know you and the rest of the baby's family in a scrapbook, so when baby is older, he or she will have a solid remembrance of this special day.

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