When it comes to baby showers, most women seem to fall in to one of two groups. There’s the “I freaking love showers so much that my heart might explode” group. Then, there’s the “I’d rather be getting a root canal group.” Then, there is the third group. The men. Nearly every man that I have ever invited to a shower or attended with has asked the same question “why am I here?”I’ll confess that I’m a member of the first group. I am all about the baby shower! Attending. Hosting. There is a scar on my left hand from a third degree burn I sustained while preparing a particular baby shower game (more on that later). All in the name of a great party!
The thing is, as any host or hostess knows, the biggest challenge to a successful party are those folks in the other groups. They are the whiners. The complainers. The late arrivals. The “I stopped at Walgreens on the way here and bought a package of random diapers, what more do you want from me?” folks. They roll their eyes at games. Devour the perfectly themed and displayed cookies without even noticing that they are shaped like tiny mustaches. Those monsters. Just kidding. Sort of.
As much as I tease those other groups, I appreciate them. By tailoring a party to them, we improve the party experience for everyone! The following list is compiled with the help of feedback from both men and women from those second groups, who have left a baby shower saying “wow, that was way more fun than I thought it would be.”
1. The Food Buffet. Your spread doesn’t have to be huge in quantity or variety. You just need to have one. Make sure the snacks are ready when guests arrive and remain accessible throughout the party. A growling tummy is definitely connected to an unhappy party guest.
2. Consider beverages. Ask the mom- and dad-to-be to make sure they are OK with this. Some new parents get a little bummed seeing everyone else enjoying libations that they can’t partake in. If you’ve got the green light, might I suggest “mommy-mosas,” which can be served with frozen fruit and an optional ginger ale for those who can’t drink? A cooler of craft brews are usually also usually a fan favorite. My general advice is to treat the party like any other backyard barbecue or casual party. If you’d serve drinks then, serve ’em now.
3. Game Stations. Instead of the typical “let’s all sit in a circle and play a boring game” scenario, pick games that can be set up in stations around the party. This way your guests can play a game, graze the chow line, hit up another game, and then chat with friends. It keeps things moving freely without that uncomfortable circle.
4. Choose your games wisely. No shower should ever have a game that involves guessing how big mama’s belly is or how much she weighs. No shower. Ever. Choose games that are fun to play, easy to do, and fast to finish! Some suggestions for good station games include: Name the Baby (using 8-10 paper “scrabble” letters drawn at random), Guess the Poop (melted chocolate bars in diapers – just be careful pouring the melted bars into the diapers, because hot chocolate will result in third degree burns). One fun game is the Clothes Pin game. Each person puts on five clothes pins. If you hear someone say “baby,” you can take one of their pins to add to your collection. The most pins wins! Another idea that might be dangerously close to the “boring circle” is a tournament for diaper changing. There is nothing quite as rowdy as a group of competitive men trying desperately to out diaper the other dudes in the room.
5. Have prizes for the new parents AND the game winners. Prizes for mom and dad might include pacifiers, bibs, boogie wipes or any other small baby items. Prizes for game-winning guests might include $3.50 copy of Animal House on DVD, fancy wine corks, a key chain fart machine. You can put the gifts in brown paper bags to keep the prizes hidden, and you can stuff the bags with different colored tissue paper to differentiate between baby gifts and game prizes. Prizes provide a little extra incentive for game participation, and it is another great way to shower the new parents with gifts.
6. The Digital Guest Book. We live in the age of the iPhone and Shutterfly. Using a dry erase board, chalk board, or even construction paper, ask guests to write a note to the new baby. Snap a picture with the guest and their note. Take pictures of everything involved in the big day. Then, compile it all in a picture book that the new parents can keep. Someday, when Junior is old enough, he will be able to look through the book and see the smiling faces of all the people who loved him and his parents so much that they were willing to sit through a baby shower!