Jackie’s Journey #3: Baby Shower? High Tea? Kegger?

“Oh my god, you’re having a baby. I MUST throw you a shower!”

Sometimes this is great to hear. You’re tired, you’re suffering from morning (afternoon and night) sickness, and your hormones make you smell so funky that your cat has “Unfriended” you in real life. Hearing this excited proclamation means that all you have to do is hand over a list of friends, brainstorm a couple of ideas, and someone you love will plan the whole shebang for you. Sweet.

However, there’s also a chance that this exclamation will leap out of the mouth of someone you don’t really like or whom you wouldn’t trust to plan an escape from an empty room with only one door. Whatever your idea of a baby shower is, their idea will be the opposite.

My husband and I discussed our shower with a friend very early in the pregnancy. That way, when someone offered to throw us a shower, we could say, “Thank you so much but we already have something in-mind. We hope that you’ll be able to join us.” That way, my initial response (“Are you high? I don’t even really like you.”) never crossed my lips. I was polite but also didn’t get stuck with someone else’s dream shower.

We decided to go low-key and have a “Baby Celebration” rather than a baby shower. We wanted to celebrate with a diverse group of friends and family, rather than with a few close female friends, and felt that using the word “celebration” instead of “shower” would make everyone feel included. (Plus, I didn’t think my husband’s friends would ever attend anything labeled “Shower.” Wusses.)

For our venue, we selected a public park that offers picnic tables, a mini-golf course, a playground, and a carousel. Then we simply invited everyone to join us for a lovely Sunday afternoon of play, food, and fun. It was a perfect way for us to talk babies and bottles while including everyone we love.

However, there was some pushback from those who were surprised that we didn’t want a traditional shower. In response, we said that we would love to have them at our celebration but, if they weren’t comfortable coming, that was okay. There would be plenty of occasions to celebrate the babies after their arrival. In the end, only one person didn’t attend and, frankly, given their crummy attitude (a celebration in the park wasn’t a “real” baby shower) it was probably for the best.

Our friends have planned showers that range from relaxed gatherings to highly structured events. Here are some party ideas:

  • Nix the baby shower and have several small dinners with friends at nice restaurants (where you won’t be able to go with the baby)
  • A baby brunch where the mom-to-be has her last (and significantly watered-down) mimosa; the brunch could also include a pancake bar with every pancake topping you can imagine available
  • A formal tea service at a luxury hotel
  • A traditional baby shower but instead of gifts ask everyone to bring children’s books to donate to your favorite children’s charity/school; Read the books aloud instead of playing games
  • A potluck dinner and double feature of baby-themed movies
  • A traditional baby shower with games, gifts and a beautiful catered lunch
  • Nix the idea of a baby shower or celebration entirely and just focus on spending time with friends and family when you feel up to it
  • Rent out the party room of a pottery studio and have everyone paint numbers/letters in the same color scheme as your nursery to hang on the baby’s wall
  • A lunch where everyone brings baby pictures (of themselves, their partners, and their own kids); Swap baby stories
  • Kegger! (Okay, no one we know has done this yet but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.) The mom-to-be is stuck with apple cider but everyone has a blast and incorporates the babies’ names into various Guitar Hero Karaoke songs.

Have fun and make the day your own. Your kids are going to be unique, why shouldn’t their baby shower be, too?

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