By Christina VanGinkel
Baby showers are often filled with gifts of booties, blankets, and bibs. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you are throwing a shower for a friend that has all these things already, either because they saved everything from a previous child, or they have been on a constant shopping frenzy since learning about their upcoming bundle of joy, there are still ways to have a great shower.
When sending out invitations to family and friends, enclose a note that the shower is a special one, and instead of the usual gifts, you are requesting everyone to bring a gift certificate for things such as dinners out, housekeeping services, babysitting, etc. The gift certificates could be ones purchased or homemade by the giver, with the giver providing everything from a home cooked meal, to a laundry pick-up and drop off. One woman I know always gives the parents-to-be a coupon good for one day of her errand services, the date to be determined later between the two. She then shows up on the date decided, retrieves a list of errands the new parents need done, and does them. Everything from grocery shopping, dropping off 'Thank You notes' at the post office, dropping off and picking up dry cleaning, even running to the library and grocery store. This way she does not intrude on the new parents, yet she provides them a day free from a few of life's hurries. Other gift certificates could include services such as chauffeuring the family's older kids to practices for whatever activities they are involved in for a few days or a week, an afternoon at a health spa, with the giver also providing babysitting services, or something as simple as a gift certificate for a favorite magazine.
Other gift suggestions could center on a specific focus, either such as requesting every shower attendee to bring one book of their choice, a picture book for the baby, or if the parents are readers themselves, a mixture of books for them and baby. A themed party is another great way to go. When an invitation announcing a shower for a couple that are both huge Green Bay Packer fans arrived, it requested that whatever gift be brought, that it be either Packer themed, or at the least, green and yellow. The couple received everything from a hand crocheted green and yellow sweater set and blanket, to a tot sized Green Bay Packer outfit and onesies. Another shower I recently attended asked every attendee to bring a scrapbook-oriented gift, from albums to embellishments, for the new parents to document their child's first years.
Whatever party theme you end up choosing, remember that the main idea of any baby shower is to show the parents-to-be that you are as excited with their upcoming arrival as they surely are, and that you want to celebrate with them this blessed event. Plan accordingly; make sure the food is fantastic, the decorations fitting, and the guests and guests of honor have a good time.