By Christina VanGinkel
With a hectic schedule, I often complain when I am invited to yet another party, with the one exception being baby showers. I do not know what it is, but I actually get a small thrill when I open an invitation to one. Part of the delight is that it means I get to go pick out something to give both the mother and baby.
As I am an avid crochet devotee, sometimes the shopping expedition is to the yarn department, where I can choose from a wide variety of soft yarns suitable for blankets, bonnets, booties, or a sweater. A handmade gift is always suitable for a baby shower gift, it just depends on if I will have the time to make something. I often make blankets with the intention that they will be used for the next baby shower I may be invited too, but they usually end up being given away before I have a chance to use them for a shower gift.
Other times the excursion may land me in the toy department where I can select a baby toy, or the layette section where I can literally lose track of time perusing all the tiny outfits and accessories such as onesies, receiving blankets, sleepers, tiny hats and booties, fleece blankets, and more.
Wrapping the gifts is just as much fun. Thankfully, there is a dollar store near where I live, and for just a few dollars, I am able to wrap up a gift complete with frilly bows!
One recent baby shower I was invited to I was asked by two good friends if I would like to go together with them on a gift. By pooling our funds, we were able to purchase a larger gift and assemble an assortment of smaller items in a nice wicker basket. We ended up buying a deluxe bouncy chair that had a built in vibration motor to soothe baby. It also had a built in toy across the handle that both lit up and played music. The basket contained a pack of newborn onesies, a matching pack of receiving blankets, two sleepers, several different bottles of lotions and soaps. The basket itself was one that would be able to be used in the nursery for holding diapers, extra blankets, or even to stash a few toys in.
Besides all of this, we also put together a small gift for the mother. We knew she loved to read mysteries, so we got her two new paperbacks, along with a box of her favorite tea and a new mug. We put a note inside reminding her to put her feet up when baby napped and continue to take pleasure in her favorite pastime of reading and enjoying a soothing cup of tea. I think we all got as much pleasure from seeing her open our gifts as she did from receiving them.
The more I think about why I enjoy baby showers; I have come to realize it is a perfect reason to get together with friends I do not always have time to see. We can sit and chat with no phones or email intruding, usually with a cup of coffee, tea, punch, and even a dessert or two. We can share some of what we have learned as mothers and grandmothers, with the new mother-to-be, and we usually end up sharing a few stories of our own children's births. Friendships are both formed and nurtured, and what better than that for an excuse for a get together.