How to Choose a Baby Shower Theme
Baby showers give us a chance to spoil little ones. The unborn child usually collects enough items to fill a nursery. As the guests arrive, each one carrying a gift, a small mountain of useful baby accessories takes shape. Baby bibs, rompers, toys and books, all wrapped in pretty papers and bows, are ready for the newborn.
But a shower is more than just the gifts. It’s a party where friends and family gather to celebrate and have fun. Because attendees are mainly adults, throwing a great shower takes a bit of thought. You need a party that’s focused on babies, but still entertaining for grownups.
Most expectant parents don’t organize their own baby shower. That happy task usually falls to a close friend or relative of the parents.
If you’re planning a baby shower for a friend or family member, you might wonder if you need to choose a theme. The decorations, food and games for a themed party revolve around a single idea, such as a nursery rhyme, the gender of the baby or a hobby of the parent-to-be.
You don’t need a theme to throw a fabulous shower, but having one can make things easier. The theme guides you in planning and organizing all the details. Plus, themed showers are a lot of fun!
How to Choose a Baby Shower Theme
A theme should be happy and hopeful. Ideally, the shower will emphasize something the parent loves. Here are some categories that might inspire a theme:
- Songs, books, movies, cartoons
- Something silly that makes people laugh
- A parent’s interests
Before you decide on an idea and start planning, check with the guest or guests of honor. Your parents-to-be might have ideas for a theme. At the very least, run suggestions past the parents. You don’t want to get knee-deep into choo-choo train decorations or a clown (eek!) cake only to find that the mom or dad hate those ideas.
Another thing to consider is how much to emphasize a baby’s gender. There are lots of ideas for baby boy shower themes and baby girl shower themes. But a shower doesn’t have to be geared toward the baby’s gender.
Many delightful ideas work for both boys and girls. For example, a honey bee theme is cute and appropriate for any child. Ask the parents for their preferences. There’s a growing trend toward gender-neutral baby clothing and that also carries over to showers.
Once you have a theme, start brainstorming ways to incorporate the idea into everything from invitations to party favors. To get inspired, check out Pinterest posts from some party-giving geniuses.
Don’t feel that you need to achieve picture-perfect decorations or food, though. And don’t go it alone. Ask friends or family for help in planning and preparing. With a few people working together, you can put together a great shower that will have your mom- and dad-to-be feeling thrilled and loved.
A Brief History of Baby Parties
Every culture has its way of rejoicing in new life. In the U.S., throwing a baby shower for expectant parents is how we show our love and excitement for a soon-to-be-born child. Celebrations to welcome new babies are nothing new, but the modern baby shower is a relatively recent development.
The baby shower gained popularity in the 1930s in America. Before then families tended to celebrate a child after the birth rather than before. Soon after a baby was born, people held so-called christening parties and other types of religious ceremonies.
Many women still gave birth at home in the early 1900s. Many did so without the benefit of medical care. People didn’t usually celebrate until both mom and baby were safely on the other side of delivery.
The modern baby shower took form through the 1930s and 1940s. That’s when it became the norm to give expectant moms everything they needed to take care of a newborn. Party food and games were part of the mix, and for whatever reason, men weren’t invited to baby showers. Possibly a pre-birth party was seen as something only women should attend.
Not For Ladies and First-Borns Only
For decades, showers were a female domain. They were usually given only before the birth of a first baby. Many people still hold to the tradition of all-female showers, but today, it’s common for both moms and dads to attend a shower.
Technology has become a major part of planning a shower. People have online baby registries. They send out digital invitations. They share photos and videos of the event. Just about everything, from the buying decorations to shopping for a special gift can be done online.
Today’s showers emphasize fun and gift giving. They’re vehicles for babies to collect everything they need for a good start in life, and they’re all about making parents feel good.
The fun is no longer limited to firstborns. Second and even third siblings also inspire baby showers. Some people call these parties “sprinkles” since the new baby might only need a few items. When a shower is for second- or third-time parents, often a baby shower theme will have a more adult vibe.
If you’re giving a shower for a second or third child, invite both men and women. If the older siblings are attending, make sure there’s something for them to enjoy. Tone down the baby decorations and make the party more of a family celebration.
More Baby Shower Themes
Still can’t land on the perfect idea? Consider a shower based on these ideas:
Vintage: Decorate with muted colors, antique toys, handcrafted baby accessories, lacy baby clothing, handcrafted signs and invitations
Nature: Sunflowers, roses, ladybugs, snowflakes, sunshine
Themes for a girl: Dolls, ballerinas, mermaids, hair bows, unicorns
Themes for a boy: Mustaches, airplanes, astronauts, sports, superheroes, bow ties
Colors: Plan a party around one color: white, pink, blue, yellow, green
Storybook: Decorate based on a favorite storybook. For example: “Winnie the Pooh,” “Peter Rabbit,” “The Little Prince.” Or, make the party about children’s books in general.
Animals: Circus animals, woodland creatures, farmyard critters, teddy bears, elephants, dinosaurs
Elegance: Tea party, garden party, gold or silver toned decor, simplicity in food and decorations
Seasonal: Decorate for a season or holidays
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