Tips for giving the ultimate baby shower


Party planner Gia Russo, who threw "the ultimate baby shower" for a Baby Gap contest winner, says modern showers should skip the games but not the unwrapping of gifts - it's really what the event is all about.

The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 23, 2006 at 9:43 p.m.
A baby shower is supposed to be a happy occasion, so why do so many people cringe at the thought of attending one?
Sometimes it's even the mother-to-be who is thinking of an excuse to leave before it starts.
''A shower can be boring,'' acknowledges entertainment consultant Gia Russo.
To make a baby shower the pleasant experience it should be for everyone involved, it's important to have a plan beyond some snacks and the opening of gifts, Russo says. However, traditional shower activities - bottle bowling or name games, for example - shouldn't be on the schedule. They're the things that make people cringe most.
Instead, Russo suggests projects or crafts that become keepsakes for the baby, or spa treatments such as manicures, pedicures or reflexology as activities. Another idea is to ask guests to bring a copy of their favorite children's book as a contribution to the baby's library.
Watching the almost-mom open presents shouldn't be scrapped since giving her supplies and gifts is indeed the purpose of a shower, Russo says.
It's OK if the gift is bulky (maybe a stroller or a Diaper Genie) to send it to the expectant mother's home and simply bring a card to the shower alerting her the gift is on the way, Russo says, but it's not OK to show up empty-handed, even if the guest is superstitious or religious about pre-birth gifts. In that case, the guest should decline the invitation to attend the shower - and send the gift when she's comfortable with it.
''Gift-giving is such an important part of the shower. Most moms open them at the shower and it might seem strange to not have one,'' Russo observes.
If the expectant mother thinks it's bad luck to receive gifts before birth, she should forgo the shower and consider a ''welcome-the-baby'' party when she feels up to it, adds Russo, herself a new mom to a 3-month-old boy.
She had two showers, perfectly acceptable by etiquette rules as long as the same people aren't invited to both. One was intimate for close family members and friends, the other was for business colleagues.
''What was fun about one of my showers was that everyone was asked in their invitation for a (gift) theme. They were 'baby's first' something. First outing at the beach. First plane trip. It was kind of a game because I had to try and figure out the theme,'' Russo recalls.
One of her personal favorites was the beach gift, which included a shovel and other sand toys, a bucket, a passport holder and baby-styled luggage tags.
''The baby's actually here with me in New York now and it was great to have those things, which I never would have thought of getting,'' she said.
Russo, half of the MiGi party-planning team that wrote the book ''Baby Showers'' (Chronicle), is based in Los Angeles. She was in New York to stage ''the ultimate baby shower'' for the winner of a Baby Gap contest.
At the event at the posh Four Seasons hotel in Manhattan, Russo treated guests to an Asian-themed buffet, sleek, sophisticated and mostly brown decor instead of pink and blue streamers, and those aforementioned spa treatments.
The guests also made a scrapbook for the baby using a Polaroid camera and pretty stationery with written explanations on how each guest met the baby's mom.
Baby showers are best held in the early or late afternoon for either lunch or tea, Russo says. Another option is a coed shower in the early evening, which often becomes a cocktail party.
''Consider it more of a celebration for the parents-to-be,'' Russo said.

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