By Christina VanGinkel
The next time you are invited to a baby shower, give the mother-to-be the ultimate gift that any guest could bring, a scrapbook of baby's first year! While this will surely be one of her favorite gifts, if not the favorite overall, and will appear as if you spent large amounts of time assembling the book. It truth, it is one of the easiest and most economically priced gifts anyone could pull together, especially if scrapping is already a hobby that you enjoy, and you have many of the tools and supplies available.
Before you assemble it though, consider how much fun it will be for a friend who is about to enter motherhood for the first time. She may even have some idea of what sleepless nights and baby drool is all about, but at the same time, have some ideal picture in her head that life will be just as it was before that small wonder comes roaring into her life. This same friend might be a scrapper herself, or have mentioned to you that she would love to keep a detailed scrapbook of baby's first year, something more than your typical pre-manufactured baby book. By providing her, with a gift that will allow her to do just that, and chronicle all of baby's firsts in a handcrafted scrapbook (that she can still personalize with journaling), it will allow her to keep some of that idealism about how easy it is to care for baby!
Begin by creating a list of all of a baby's typical firsts. First picture, first trip home, first bath, first smile, first solid food, first haircut, first steps, etc. Also, list some other common additions that you could include pages for, such as going to visit the grandparents, meeting big brother, sister, cousins, and sleeping like an angel.
Assemble the book in a manner that the new mother will be able to simply add photographs of these milestone events. Also, add plenty of journaling options, but in ways that if the mother is so overwhelmed and short on time, that it will not look like she is leaving blank spaces. Consider matchbook style journaling, and small envelopes that tags can be stuck inside, anything that will allow the option to add journaling, but if it is not added, the pages will still look complete.
Include extra paper, tags, stickers, embellishments, and such for the new mom to make a few of her own pages from scratch too, on the chance that she does find a few spare minutes and wants to express her creativity. By providing all the basics, she will also be able to lend her own touch the pages you assembled for her if she so desires.
As a huge fan of scrapbooks in general, I am always looking for ways to include them in my gift giving, and this has become one of my favorite ways to both share my love of the hobby, and to give a gift that I truly believe will show a new mother or mom-to-be just how excited I am about their impending little bundle of joy. In addition, it is a gift that will continue to remind the recipient just how happy you were for them. Many gifts given at baby showers are outgrown quickly, or are duplicates of others that are exchanged or returned. In addition, while diapers and onesies are always welcome gifts for any new mom to receive, it is even more fun to receive a gift that is different from the crowd of other gifts. Giving a gift such as this is also tons of fun and will show just how much you care!
If you think this, might be the perfect gift, for you to give at the next baby shower you attend, choose a blank scrapbook, and start assembling it now. Almost all of the work can be completed before you even know who will be the lucky recipient. Just personalize right before giving, with details such as the mom and dad-to-be names, maybe a picture on the cover of the parents or of mom in her state of pregnancy. Wrap up with lots of ribbon and a big bow, and give with a healthy dose of love and wishes of future happiness!