I loved my daughter’s baby shower. We did things a bit differently, and it fit her personality and preference.
- Open House – Instead of having a block of time to which people had to commit, guests could come and go throughout the two hour time frame. Some stayed the entire time; others stopped by for 15-20 minutes. Whatever fit into their schedules. It created a casual atmosphere, which was especially welcome during a hectic time of year.
- Display Shower – Gifts were brought unwrapped. Sure, there were a few people who wrapped gifts, but in general, people put gifts in a basket (which gave the added benefit of having quite a few new storage and decorating options) or wrapped everything in clear cellophane. Others tied a bow around their unwrapped items or simply piled gifts on top of a gift bag to be used later for transport. All gifts were placed on long tables, so guests could look through them during the shower. We didn’t spend an hour opening everything, which meant there was more time to visit with people. Not to mention there were no comparisons among people who tend to feel bad about giving a small gift or proud about giving a large gift.
- Games by Choice – We all know what it’s like to be trapped in the game whirlpool. Instead of structured games, we had two that were available but none that were required. One was a paper game (deciphering the titles of children’s books through a string of emojis), placed on the tables. As people completed the card, they could place it in a bowl at the head table, and we drew a door prize from the bowl every now and then. The second game was included in the slide show. It was a series of ten images of elephants that occur in children’s books or movies. (Well, there were technically eight elephants. Somehow, a pig that sort of looked like an elephant made its way into the slideshow; plus, my daughter was adamant that a heffalump from Winnie-the-Pooh didn’t technically qualify as an elephant.)
- Slideshow – It’s nice to have something to look at if there are awkward moments of sitting alone or a lull in the conversation. We had a slideshow that included, in addition to the elephant game, photos of my daughter and her husband as kids, then more as they dated, married, and found out they were expecting their first daughter. We inserted basic facts of their journey among the photos. We also included basic reminders and instructions about the various options guests had during the shower: enjoying refreshments, looking at gifts, and signing the guestbook.
- Head Table – At the main table, we had several things people could do. They could pick and choose. We asked people to address an envelope to themselves to make it easier for my daughter to send thank you notes. We had a guest book that included a page for each guest with space to write the name and relationship to the expected little girl, tips to the parents, and a note for the baby. We also had a jar with colored paper beside it and asked people to write a prayer for the baby. The plan is to keep them in her room as she grows up, and she can read through them from time to time as a reminder of the faith-filled encouragement and love she has from many others.
- Signs – Signs are nothing new, but it is always nice to communicate in multiple ways. Even if we try to catch everyone as they come in the door, we’ll miss some people, and some we talk to will forget the instructions and options. Having signs made it easier for people to choose what they wanted to do.
You might not be planning a baby (or other) shower, or the ideas here might not be your style. But consider what is. You don’t have to do what everyone expects. You don’t have to go above and beyond. Simply consider the person you’re celebrating. How can you help her or him have a good experience and walk away feeling celebrated? You might not like change, but you certainly like the person you’re celebrating. Be flexible, and love well by thinking outside the box. Sometimes keeping it simple is exactly what we all need to enjoy the celebrations of life.