What's sweeter than a new baby!?! [Hint: NOTHING!!] And putting together a memorable shower for the arrival of one of these little ones and his or her mama is a privilege and joy! I have hosted, or helped host, countless showers and receptions of one sort or another over my 6+ decades on Earth, and I don't plan to stop anytime soon!
Over the years, I have developed a variety of projects for baby showers and share my favorites with you here today! If you like easy, creative, and inexpensive, keep reading!
Oh! And I have some FREE PRINTABLES to make it even easier for you!
Whether the little one is still "a bun in the oven" who's arriving soon or he or she has already made their grand entrance... whether it's a first, fourth, or tenth child... whether it's a boy or a girl... a new baby is always cause for a joyous celebration!!!
Starting a planner checklist when you first start thinking about your shower will enable you to capture your accumulating thoughts and keep them from becoming fleeting thoughts.
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I have a free printable of my Baby Shower Planner for you that will help you organize all the ideas you'll be collecting and keep you on track! But first here's a picture of it so you can get an overview of it: (Don't try printing this out; links to the actual documents will come next.)
I originally created this in Word so that you can edit anything in it that you want! But in case that doesn't open for you, or open correctly, I also made it into a PDF file that you can open in Adobe Reader, but you won't be able to edit the PDF file. So here are links to both versions:
(Word file / editable)
(not to be confused
(PDF file / non-editable)
Next let's go over specific points on the above Baby Shower Planner to help you better utilize it. The first four lines will be easy to fill in...
FOR, PLACE, HOST,
& CONTACT INFO
You obviously know who your shower is FOR.
The PLACE will depend on how large or small your shower will be. If you have to host it in your home, consider how many guests your largest room can hold, including bringing in kitchen and folding chairs. For example, if the very most your room can hold is 15, don't invite 25 people.
As for HOST... Unless your shower will be really small and simple, it would be helpful ~ and less overwhelming (if you're prone to getting overwhelmed, like I am!) ~ to have someone share the work and costs with you. Plus a co-hostess could help you make "all the above" (and below) decisions! You just have to be willing to "work well with others" and not just do things your way.
The CONTACT INFO is for either your guest of honor and/or your helpers. Just a place to get those email addresses, text numbers, Facebook name ~ whatever you'll want to use. In fact, I would highlight the contact info that's best for each.
Here are three options and considerations about each of them:
Paper Invitations: These are fun, pretty, and make a nice addition to a baby book or scrapbook, but with so much now being online (even magazines and newspapers!), you may not feel you need to do them. They are more expensive as you not only have the invitations to buy, but also stamps for mailing them. More time-consuming, too, since you have to fill them in by hand ~ unless you type as much of the info as possible and insert it. Consider who's on your guest list. If you have a good number of older folks ~ who are not as likely to be online, or who just like the personal touch (literally) of a paper invite, that might be the way to go. If so, your to-do checklist is on the planner!
Online Invitations: I like www.evite.com, although I'm sure there are many other good invitation sites. This type of service is handy in that you don't have to write and mail out your invites. But I also like that you can keep track of the RSVP's right there at the invitation site!
People can even leave comments there, too: their "regrets" if they can't make it, or their excitement about coming to the event and/or any questions they might have. You can also send out your invites and reminders from right there at the site via email and/or Facebook!
Another online option is to set up an event on Facebook, at which you can keep track of RSVP's and comments. Plus it has some nice "bells 'n' whistles" that are nicer (in my humble opinion) than evite.com. But the "con" to this is that those who are not on Facebook will be unable to access your event there on Facebook, whereas anyone who can get online can access evite.com.
Online + Paper Combo: One last option that I've done myself and have also seen done ~ and really like when I'm on the guest end ~ is to start with an online invitation, and then, right in the invitation, tell your guests that, if they would like a printed invitation, to get their home address to you, and you'll mail them one! This is "the best of both worlds"! You can either buy a pack of printed invitations OR you can copy the online invitation text, add a picture or two of the guest of honor (or just something babyish and/or pretty), format it all onto a single page, and print that to mail them!
Main Cake/Cupcakes: You can always buy cupcakes or a cake, but I have enjoyed making many of mine. As for cupcakes, you can frost them and add a tiny baby decoration of some sort that you get at a party shop. One time I printed out little pictures I found online, formatted them to fit inside a 1.5" circle, printed them out, punched the circles, and stuck toothpicks onto the backs so I could stick them onto the white-frosted cupcakes. (I can't share this since the designs were ones I just found online, so I'm not free to share them.)
Baby Bootie Cake: I've made many of these ~ pictured below ~ over the years and they're always a hit! People think they require lots more work and talent than they do! If we know the baby's a boy, I make it in blue or green; if it's a girl, pink; or if it's a surprise, yellow or white!
In this next FREE PRINTABLE I give you all my tricks and specifics for making this cake! I explain how to create the shape of the bootie from a rectangle cake, how to make the frosting look like knitting (super easy!), and other tips to make the process simpler!
Baby Bootie Cake
Accompanying Food: I have my favorite go-to foods for showers, but now there are so many more FUN ideas on Pinterest! You are welcome to use any of the ideas I've collected there!
Like this first one!!! You could use half-weiners or little smokie sausages, and wrap them in crescent roll "blankets"! Aren't these just TOO CUTE!?!?!?! (By the way, all of these Pinterest board graphics are clickable links that take you to these boards at my Pinterest site. You may have to be signed up with Pinterest to view them. Could someone let me know? You might want want to wait until you have read this whole article before going to them just so you can stay focused here ~ IF focus is an issue for you?)
Of course, what you choose for food depends on what time of day you have the shower. If it's at lunch or dinner time, it's nice to include something "of substance" (like the above "babies in blankets," or mini sandwiches, etc.) But if it's an afternoon or evening shower, sweets are enough. And you'll find several ideas for both on my Pinterest board above!
Beverages: Take a look at my "Baby Shower Beverages" Pinterest board for a few darling ideas for punches served in fountains, punch bowls, and individual "bottles"! Aren't the rubber duckies in the blue punch pond below cute?!?!
Based on the gender of the baby, (or lack-of-knowledge-thereof,) you'll want to decide on your theme, and then your colors. A few ideas are "fox," "sweet 'n' feminine," "boyish sports," "super-soft minty green and yellow," and "woodland animals." Pinterest abounds with cute and creative theme ideas! Just type "baby shower themes" in the Pinterest search box, and you'll find more ideas than you can use in a lifetime! (No exaggeration!)
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Next, with your theme and colors in mind, decide on options for what to put on the table, hang from the ceiling or a light fixture, and/or put on the walls. No need to be elaborate, unless you're into that. I've done several showers where all we did was decorate the table. In those cases, the Baby Bootie Cake actually acted as both decoration and food!
You can go as elaborate or as simple as suits your style, the amount of time you have to prepare, your skill set, and your budget. There are some darling but simple ideas out there!
For example, see the picture in the lower right corner below? That's a baby buggy made out of diapers and scrapbook paper!!!
Diaper "Cake": I made this one for the adoptive-arrival of my niece, Brenna, a few years ago. These are a lot of work, but not difficult to do. Here's a link to some directions that are very clear. (These aren't the directions I used, but they're similar.)
You could have your guests create a special book(let) for Mom, both parents, and/or for Baby. It could contain advice for any or all of them, tips for living a good life, for raising a child, and/or prayers or Bible verses. Even the youngest guests can do this! If they can't write, they can draw a picture! (Be sure to have someone write any notes that would add to the cuteness, or to understanding what's in their drawing!)
WORD TO THE WISE: The more of this project you can finish at the shower, the less you will have to do at home later! So even have the guests decorate their own pages with stickers you bought, or items you or they have punched and can glue onto their pages.
You can also have guests take turns sharing "a frustrating moment and how I solved it," and/or have everyone pray for Mom and Baby.
If you have a game for which people need to write, consider having pens and pencils ready and also having magazines, catalogs, or books for them to write on. But have them only use the backs so that covers don't get writing imprints on them.
Here are a few of my favorite baby shower games on my Pinterest board for this topic:
There's one game you won't find therein, it's one that I don't care to have at a shower I'm hosting... It's the game where everyone starts out with an item of some sort ~ like a clothespin or diaper pin stuck onto their clothing, or a binky tied to a "necklace" of some sort and hung around each person's neck. A certain word ~ commonly "baby" ~ is "taboo," (or "bride" or "wedding" at a bridal shower,) and when a person hears someone else say it, they get to grab that person's clothespin or necklace, add it to their own collection, and the one with the most wins. There are two things I don't enjoy about this game...
The second thing is that it gets rowdier and rowdier as greater numbers of the collectible item are gleefully grabbed and regretfully let go, making the atmosphere unrestful and even agitated. Just not my idea of fun, especially for a pregnant mom.
Of course, you can do whatever you like at your shower! Maybe this is a long-time beloved game for you. If so, please don't let me ruin it for you. I'm just sharing my thoughts on why, as a seasoned (nice word for older) hostess, I appreciate and prefer more gentle conversation and interactions, plus I like for the attention to be on the Mom and the gift opening. I still totally like to have fun ~ which is exactly what Baby BINGO is ~ which is comin' up next!
I created this Baby BINGO page, and have made it into a FREE PRINTABLE for you!! (I used ~ with permission ~ graphics from one of my favorite online graphic artists, Helena! I didn't create those myself!) The thing that's different about this version from others is that I have an Idea Starters section on the left side!
This is very helpful at a shower when people aren't thinking in terms of what all a baby needs. (Especially people who no longer have babies they care for.) Since it's too small to read in this sample, here's what it says above the list of ideas:
1) As you put any of the items on the list below into boxes on the Bingo chart, cross them off below. You may think of many other ideas instead of or in addition to these!
2) You’re even welcome to find out what any of the gifts are that were brought today!
3) You may write in items that you or others brought, but NOT in a row.
4) You may put the same item in more than one box, but block out only ONE box if that item is given; a separate same-item gift must be opened to block out another.
5) Once the first gift is opened, all writing-in of items stops. (Cuz then the crossing-off of them begins!)
Here's a link to the
Baby BINGO Game
(PDF file / non-editable)
This is such a fun and creative game! Even the least artistic ones have a good chance of winning because of how I have designed the categories. Plus the fact that there are EIGHT winners! ~ unless you want to use fewer, which you're totally free to do!
Guests are given two things:
a little square of something that will be the tiny blanket: either actual fabric or scrapbook paper ~ cut with pinking sheers or fancy craft scissors, if you want. 3 or 4 square inches is a good size. They need to write their name on the bottom of their blanket right away. (Cuz once they have their baby sculpted and on or in the blanket, it'll be a pain to write their name on the bottom.)
a lump of polymer clay*, modeling clay, store-bought play dough, or home-made clay. *What I like about Sculpey polymer clay is that it is soft and pliable and won't dry out when exposed to air. I also like that it comes in small strips, making it handy to pull off and dispense to your guests.
Whatever type of "clay" the guests are given to use, they form their little blob into a clay baby and put it on the blanket, or wrap the baby in the blanket ~ whatever they want to do.
After the babies are sculpted, the Mom/guest of honor gets to look them all over and decide on the various categories of winners.
In keeping with my "no skill needed to win" theme, I have created awards of various types, which are just plain FUN! And I will give you a free printable for them, too!
Judge Jessica looks
over all the clay babies, with
her sister, Abby, watching.
Here are the categories of the "Creative Clay-Baby Awards":
The Mama’s Personal Favorite - The mom-to-be gets to choose her own favorite.
________'s Personal Favorite - This could be the favorite of the shower host, or a grandmother, sister, niece, friend, or auntie.
Most “Creative” Baby - There will be ALL sorts of "creative" clay babies, and this award goes to the one that's the ... uuuuuh ... most creative!
Most Likely to Succeed in Life - There's no way to know this, of course, it's just another fun and funny category, and an excuse to give an award!
Most Cuddly Baby - One of the clay babies will look like you might actually want to cuddle it. (Don't, or you'll squish it.)
Most Adorable Baby - Another sweet category to give a prize to.
Most “Interesting” Baby - This will most likely be the clay baby that looks the least like an actual baby. I have heard it said at more than one shower that some of these look like little space aliens. So "interesting" is a kind way to say this.
Most Humorous Baby - Many of these clay babies will be downright funny, and the funniest one will get this award!
And here are the winners that Jess chose ~ all eight of them ~ along with their certificates and prizes:
(I wish I'd gotten clearer pictures and close-ups of the clay babies, but this was 6 years ago, before I even thought of blogging and getting good detailed pictures for my readers.)
As you can see, next to each award certificate, there's a little blue and green prize. This is a square Ghirardelli chocolate candy encased in a decorative little holder that I made. (HERE is where I got this darling idea!)
It wasn't really necessary to have labels on these candy packets, because they are the same as the certificates, but I just wanted to do them anyway. If you're short on time, you could do just one or the other ~ either the candy with the title, or the certificate.
I printed all the certificates and mini award labels onto cardstock (glossy photo paper would be fine too), and then stamped little baby feet and rattles in light blue. (My favorite foot arrangement is the second one up ~ with the two feet in the middle.)
I punched the mini award titles with an oval punch (Stampin' Up), but you could just cut them into rectangles.
Next time I do this, to save time at the shower, I would have the mom-to-be write her signatures on the certificates ahead of time, or I'd put her name in a scripty font, or just have it be my signature as the shower host.
Here are links to the FREE PRINTABLES:
Clay Baby Certificates:
Word - editable
PDF - non-editable
Clay Baby Mini Award
Word - editable
PDF - non-editable
You'll want to decide on a total number of prizes to have at your shower. I looove prizes, so the more the merrier! In fact, I buy them on sale, make them, and generally collect them year-round so that, when I help at a shower, I can bless the hostess with extras!
Because of all the prizes I've gotten that were not things I could use (fruit-fragranced lotion, a journal (I already have enough to last me three lifetimes), and much more), I like to wrap my prizes in clear cellophane bags. So I get lots of different sizes and shapes of these and just have them on hand. I love that guests are able see what they're getting and choose something they can use, that's in their taste.
When I explain this to people, some tell me that, if you get a prize that you can't use, you can just re-gift it, or use it for another shower. Yes, you can. But if you have the "technology" (cello bags and ribbon) to do it in a way that people can choose what they want and can use, that matches their stuff and fits their taste, why not do it?!?
Besides, I will be honest... I am the one who went to the shower, I'd like to enjoy and get to use the prize.
Here are links to a few bag sizes, if you have no idea where to start:
5"X7" flat bags 6"X9" flat bags 11"X14" flat bags 4"X9.5" gusseted bags (deeper)
The shower I donated the prizes below for was for a baby girl, so I put pink ribbons on all of them.
By the way, in case you're curious, the above-left prize ~ the brown and beige one in the smallest bag ~ is not a rattler from a rattlesnake, but is a keychain made from para-cord that my 9-year-old grandson makes to earn money. Since this shower was for guys as well, I wanted to bring at least one prize for a guy.
I like having unconventional criteria for awarding prizes. Like, I not only give prizes for the most points, but also for least number of points, and the average number of points! To figure that out, just average the highest and lowest scores! A little rusty on math? There is a math-lover at every shower who would be eager to figure this out!
[Want a quick refresher now? If not, skip to the next paragraph; if so... Let's say the highest score was 24 and the lowest score was 10. Add 24 + 10 and you get 34. Divide 34 in half, and you get 17!]
Or, unbeknownst to my guests, I might give a prize for the first one done, the last one done. (For obvious reasons, you don't let them know this ahead. You just quietly watch.)
When playing Baby BINGO, I give prizes to the first 5 or 10 (or more) who get a BINGO.
I lumped "Favors" and "Prizes" together onto the same Pinterest board because many of these darling favors can be used as prizes!
Here's a picture of the Shower Agenda, which is actually the second page of the free printable I showed you at the beginning of this blog post ~ which was the Shower Planner. I thought I would wait to show you this second page until after I had shown you several of the ideas that it contains.
So take a look at this, but it's okay if you can't read it very well as I'll be sharing the same ideas ~ along with my thoughts on each ~ right after this...
Switch the order of any of these that you want to, and add or delete anything!
First things first! Explain where the bathroom is. (The older you get, the more you'll appreciate this one.)
This is also a good time to give directives for phone use during the shower. Fewer and fewer people have a sense of propriety regarding this, and will answer their phone right in the middle of the room and just start talking right there, loudly.
To cover both bases, say something like: "The bathroom is down the hall, first door on your left. The guest room is the first door on your right as you head down the hall, and that would be a good place to take a call if you receive one that you need to answer during the shower."
Also explain briefly how you're handling coffee and food, like if it's okay for them to go out and get coffee or tea at any time throughout the shower, say so at this time.
Introductions: One way to do this is to have each guest share how they know or met the mom. Another is for each guest to share a quality about the mom that they think will make her a good mother.
Game(s): What game(s) do you want to play? Be sure to get your supplies for them before the day of the shower.
Activity(s): Decide on any other activities you want to do at the shower.
Group Photo: If you want to do one ~ which I highly recommend ~ consider doing it before serving food and opening gifts as people start leaving while gifts are being opened. (I have yet to be at a shower where they don't.)
Mom opens gifts: Have someone designated to record the gifts. With how much more we type these days, be sure to get someone with legible handwriting.
Serve food: You can either have guests go to the table to get their own food (my preference), or you and a host serve it to them sitting in their places.
Other notes: For any "notes to self" that you want to remember to do, buy, or gather.
Last but not least, here's a link to some of my favorite ideas on Pinterest for Baby Shower Gifts:
Many of these gifts are DIY's, others you can purchase. Click on them (once you're at my Pinterest board) to see if there are directions, as there often are. (Some pins may not lead to a valid site, but I keep these anyway as the picture is enough to inspire me.)
"The fragrance lingers in the hand of the one who gives the rose" ~ or who gives the shower, in this case! Your recipient mom will be blessed by any and all effort you put into this event, but you will also be blessed in the process!
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