Introduction .................................................................................................................................... 2 Chapter 1 - Where Do Baby Showers Come From? ................................................................... 4 Chapter 2 - Basic Training ............................................................................................................ 5 Chapter 3 - Primary Colors ........................................................................................................... 8 Chapter 4 - Special Showers ...................................................................................................... 10 Chapter 5 - Baby Showers Across the Miles ............................................................................ 12 Chapter 6 - Your Theme Song .................................................................................................... 14 Chapter 7 - Great Baby Shower Themes ................................................................................... 16 Chapter 8 - Decoration Day ........................................................................................................ 18 Chapter 9 - You've Got Game ....................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.21 Chapter 10 - Talking Party Favors ............................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.25 Chapter 11 - Un-Baby Food .......................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.26 Chapter 12 - Good Hostess/Bad Hostess ................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.29 Appendix A - Questions to Ask .................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.30 Appendix B - Timetable and Checklist ........................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.31 Appendix C - Registry Checklist .................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.33 Appendix D - Hers 'n' His Shower Tipsheet ................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.35 Appendix E - Office Party ............................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.36 Appendix F - Top 5 Shower Gifts ................................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.38 Appendix G - Word Scramble ....................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.40 Appendix H - Baby Animals Game............................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.41 Introduction There's a baby on the way! And whether the mother-to-be is your best friend, your sister, your work colleague, or you, planning a baby shower is joyous and fun. But if you're not someone who routinely throws parties, the thought of hosting a shower may be a little daunting. There's a theme to consider, games to plan, lists to prepare, invitations to send, food to order or prepare, and enough details and etiquette that you may start to wonder if a baby shower is such a good idea after all. Hold on! Help is on the way. In fact, it's here! Baby Showers for Beginners answers all the questions you may have…and some you may not have even thought of. We've got lists and timetables to help you in the planning stages, and tips to help you with the guest list, invitations, party favors, and more. You'll learn about the do's and don'ts of showers, including "forbidden" foods and drinks, gift registry, and inviting 'guys.' And we'll offer up plenty of insights and tried-and-true tricks that will make party day a breeze…and a pleasure for everyone Why Have a Shower? Baby showers serve several functions. First and foremost, they give friends and family a wonderful way to express their joy about the new life waiting to enter the world and to offer support to the new parents. Expectant mothers and father may be understandably nervous about their new role as parents. At the shower, guests offer encouraging words, calming advice, and the "been there, done that" anecdotes that will help ease the stress. The gathering of friends and family is a comforting display of support and love that says "You are not alone." Of course, the expense of a new baby can put quite a strain on a couple's budget, especially if the mother will no longer be working. Baby showers offer a chance for friends and family to help expectant parents with the costs of preparing for and caring for a newborn. New parents always need both fun and practical things, and hand-made gifts or toys create memories that last a lifetime. Keep in mind that a shower can be as simple as a gathering of friends for coffee and cake, or as elaborate as a catered 5-course coed dinner party with a theme, decorations, speeches and games. It can be a girl-power gathering, a coed party, an office outing, a mommies-and-babies get-together, or anything that the mother-to-be will enjoy. Chapter 1 - Where Do Baby Showers Come From? The History of Parties for Expectant Mothers Before getting down to basics, we wanted to equip you with a little baby shower history. You can amaze your guests (and yourself) with your knowledge of the beginnings of this popular custom. Did you know… Because they are generally somewhat scaled-down affairs, baby showers for mothers having their second or third child are called 'sprinkles.' Giving gifts to the mother-to-be has been popular throughout the world for centuries, with special etiquette in style during different eras. In the lands of the ancients, Egyptians and Romans gave small gifts to newborn children, with special emphasis being placed on male offspring. Parents were also presented with tokens, usually handmade, commemorate the birth. In the late 19th Century, teas were held for new mothers weeks after the birth of the child, not before. In Victorian times, women didn't appear in public if they were in a 'delicate condition.' Instead teas were held at the home of the mother- to-be. Why is it a shower? It was customary for women in the Victorian era to carry parasols. It has been suggested that the site of a gathering of women with their 'umbrellas' is another reason baby parties are called showers. Until the middle of the 20th Century, it was common that no one was invited to see the baby for at least a month after its birth because of the fear of disease and illness. The gift-giving and celebration was usually tied-in to a religious occasion, such as a christening or baptism. Gifts at this time were still handmade, except for heirloom silver that was presented to the babies by their grandmothers. Today's baby shower -- often a raucous girls-only gathering filled with madcap games, food, gifts, and loving support -- really came into its own after World War II. As the Baby Boom exploded, so did baby showers. Okay! It's time to get ready to take your first baby steps on the way to your first baby shower. Chapter 2 - Basic Training Baby Shower Basics Whether you're a strict traditionalist, relatively conservative, or a free spirit, chances are you've got some basic questions about baby showers. So we've assembled the following FAQ from Baby Shower HQ. Basic "recipe" for a successful shower: Guests + Gifts + Food Question: Who should throw a baby shower? According to the Emily Post-Gloria Vanderbilt-Miss Manners etiquette 'police,' a non-relative should host the baby shower. (This custom came about so that the family did not appear to be asking for presents or charity.) That's what the etiquette books say, but we say anyone should feel free to throw a baby shower -- a relative, a friend, a co-worker and even the expectant couple. In today's world, everyone knows the challenges new parents are facing, especially the financial ones. Besides, do you think of a birthday party as a sneaky way of getting gifts? Of course not! And what is a baby shower, after all, if not a birthday party? Question: What kind of party should a baby shower be? There are no limits to what you can do for a baby shower. The only considerations are time, budget, and what everyone will enjoy. In our next chapter, we'll explore the general types of baby showers to give you some ideas as a launching pad. Question: When should the shower be held? Originally, baby showers were held after a mother gave birth because holding one before the baby was born was considered, by some superstitious people to be an invitation to the 'evil eye.' Thanks to advancements in obstetrics, the miracles of modern medicine, and a little less reliance on superstition, we are much more confident today about the birth process, so you can hold the baby shower any time you like. Most people choose to do something during the last 3 months (trimester) of the pregnancy when every mother could use a diversion and some pampering. Showers held after the baby is born can be gender-specific, themed to a little boy or a little girl. This also takes the worry out of the "Pink or blue?" question that many of the guests will have when it comes to buying gifts. Best of all, the baby serves as a natural centerpiece to the event: the focus of oohs and aahs, as well as a natural ice-breaker, centerpiece, and party game all rolled into one sweet- smelling, pink-cheeked little package. Remember: There's nothing worse than planning a great party that no one can attend. Unless you're putting together a surprise party, and baby showers often are surprises, the first person you need to consult with is the mother-to-be. You certainly want to select a date that will work best in her schedule. After all, she and the little visitor-to-come are the guests of honor!. After checking in with mom, you'll want to consider the needs of important guests (like grandmothers-to-be) who may have scheduling conflicts and the needs/availability of out-of-towners who may have travel plans that need to be factored in. Question: Who should be invited to attend? Traditional shower guests include family members, business colleagues, friends, neighbors, and sometimes even the doctor! Again, unless you're going for a surprise party, it's best to consult the mother-to-be before you send out invitations. As guest of honor, she'll be able to guide you as to who absolutely needs to be included and who she would prefer to omit. Question: What's the best way to invite people? You can call guests and give them the details of the shower over the phone, of course, but nothing says "party" like a formal invitation. Now when we say "formal," we don't mean an expensive custom-printed affair with envelope, tissue paper and a response card -- unless that's your taste and it works with your budget. But there are literally thousands of beautiful, sassy, funny, charming, silly invitations that you can choose from at card stores, specialty gift shops, and even your local drugstore. If you're creative and artistic -- and frankly, even if you're not -- you might want to consider the fun of creating your own invitations on your home or office computer. There are lots of easy-to-use software programs and many of them come with everything you need -- cardstock, envelopes, etc. -- to do a great job. If you're a 'hard-core' do it yourselfer, handmade invitations are a lovely way to inform guests. And, if you're planning a themed shower, you can create invitations that get guests into the swing of things even before the party begins. It can be a simple as a folded piece of construction paper with the date, time, and place written in magic marker, or you can use calligraphy, rubber stamps, glitter, puffy pens, and all kinds of craft materials to make the invitation as jazzy as you like. Let your imagination be your guide. Here's a unique idea we think is inexpensive, truly unique, and great fun: Inflate pink and blue balloons, but don't tie them permanently. Write the information about the shower on the balloons, deflate them and then send them to your guests with instructions to blow them up again . Don't skimp on information in the invitation. Be sure to include the basics of who's being honored, why, where the party will be and when. If the expectant parents have "registered" for baby gifts at a local department store or online, you can include that information. Or, if you think it would be more tasteful, you can share that information verbally when guests call to RSVP. And don't forget the RSVP! You need to know as soon as possible how many people will be attending so that you can plan seating, snacks, beverages, etc. And don't assume that people will automatically RSVP. If the invitation doesn't request a response, some people may think the party is an open-house and will just show up unannounced -- and unexpected -- on party day. Timing is Everything A real key to the success of your shower is giving people adequate notice so that they can clear their schedules to attend, and enough time that they can shop for an interesting gift. We recommend that you send invitations out 4-6 weeks prior to your party and ask guests to respond no later than 2 weeks before the shower. Question: Are there any "special circumstances" showers? Although baby showers were traditionally thrown for first-time birth parents only, today friends, family and co-workers throw showers for adopted children as well as for the second, or even the third child born to a couple. In our "Special Showers" chapter, we offer some ideas for these less common showers. Remember: Every baby deserves a special welcome into the world Chapter 3 - Primary Colors Six Basic Types of Baby Showers Just Us Gals (J-U-G) The most traditional baby shower is usually an all-women affair. In addition to squealing over new gifts and getting silly with party games, the just-us-gals party is a great opportunity for women to talk about their own experiences with babies to give the mother-to-be an idea of what to expect. Note: Femme-friendly and as serious or light-hearted as you like, your J-U-G party can be a sit-down luncheon, an early evening buffet, a formal dinner, or even a weekend buffet. It's Raining Men Women's liberation have liberated men, too -- freeing them up to get in touch with their 'feminine side' and attend baby showers, too. Mothers-to-be aren't the only ones who need help and support, so bringing together husbands, fathers, and significant others to talk about the challenges and rewards of being a new dad is a great idea. A weekend buffet or cookout is ideal for a coed baby shower. Barbeques are especially guy-friendly and provide the kind of built-in activity -- grilling -- that men prefer to just sitting and talking. For more ideas, see the His 'n' Hers Shower Tipsheet in our Appendix Family Affair If the expectant mother's family is large and/or especially close, having a Family Affair party is a perfect idea. Part baby shower and part reunion, it provides the perfect opportunity for brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, and everyone in the family tree to come together to welcome the a new branch. These showers may take a bit more planning if family members are spread out nationwide. Y'all Come Almost the polar opposite of a Family Affair, open showers invite everyone to come and celebrate baby's arrival. Frequently held in a house of worship after religious ceremonies (like christenings), open showers can be announced in the church/synagogue bulletin inviting everyone in the congregation to attend. A formal RSVP is not generally required. Food and beverages are usually brought by friends of the mother-to-be, but may be provided by church or temple, or prepared by a professional caterer. Strictly Business Many expectant mothers are working women these days, so business baby showers are becoming more and more popular. They can be scheduled before a colleague takes maternity leave or held after she returns. A business party is different that a social gathering, and some unique considerations apply at the workplace that you don't need to worry about at home. See Appendix E - Office Party for some guidance. It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To Many people like to hold a baby shower after the birth of the child. This takes way the guests can bring a gift appropriate to the gender of the baby. It also give the new parents a chance to show off their 'special delivery.' One thing to keep in mind about showers held after a baby is born is how tired the baby's parents are! Mom and dad are probably up half the night and sleep- deprived, so an early day affair may be preferable to an evening party. Keep it simple and keep it short. Chapter 4 - Special Showers Showers for Multiples, Adoptive Parents and Parents with Children Double Your Pleasure/Double Your Fun A mother expecting twins is twice-blessed and probably needs twice as much of everything! One of the best ideas is to hold a Noah's Ark Party. Since this is a popular theme, invitations, paper goods, treat bags, centerpieces, etc. are readily available at card stores and online. The heart of this theme is animal pairs, and that should be your focus: Put duos of stuffed animals (Beanie Babies work well) as the centerpiece on the main table and side tables. Fill a glass bowl with pairs of "Teddy Grahams" that have been "glued" together with frosting. Animal crackers, or made-from-scratch cookies in animal shapes, make charming party favors and game prizes. Tip: A great mixer game for a Noah's Ark party where there are lots of people is "Two By Two." Before the party, buy a variety of inexpensive pairs of stuffed animals. When guests arrive, hand each of them an animal. When you're ready to play, simply tell guests to find their "twin." Adoptive Parents Loving parents who adopt a child would certainly welcome a shower just as much as natural parents, whether the child is an infant, toddler or youngster. Mom and Dad need all the same necessities as any expectant couple, including advice on coping with the challenges of the first days of parenting. Most adoptive parents will know something about the child that's coming into their lives, so be sure to get some details: Is the child a boy or a girl? How old? What size is he/she? Tip: Rather than planning a celebration immediately, it might be wise to give the new family some time to get to know each other before the shower. Particularly with older children, it's likely the family will go through an "adjustment phase." Larger Families Unless there's a large gap between the newborn and the couple's previous children, the expectant parents probably have enough baby items that can be handed down to the new arrival, removing one of the primary reasons for throwing a shower. But wait! The birth of every baby is a miracle and Miracle #2, #3 and #4 deserve just as much celebration as the first-born in the family. Instead of a full-scale baby shower, how about hosting a baby "sprinkle." A more-modest version of a traditional shower, gifts at a sprinkle tend to be little things that babies need -- socks, diaper cream, lotions, bibs and the countless other necessities that get used up, lost in the dryer, or disappear. Tip: If the expectant parents have parents who they will see frequently with the baby, it might be fun to have guests bring baby things to keep at grandma and grandpa's house: toys, socket protectors, portable bassinette, etc. As with the shower for adoptive parents, you'll want to get input from the expectant parents about what they want and need in terms of gifts. Here's a quick list to get you started: Gender-specific clothing Season-specific clothing (If the first baby was born in winter, Mom and Dad probably don't have a lot of newborn summer wear) A second car seat (if the first child is still small enough to need one) Another approach is to orient the party towards the expectant couple rather than the baby, celebrating their joy and showering them with parent-friendly presents: Gift certificates to a spa for mom to use during pregnancy or after delivery "Coupons" good for babysitting, household chores, cooking or errands Gift certificates for take-out food for the first week after delivery "Coupons" to take the first child on special outings Chapter 5 - Baby Showers Across the Miles A baby shower is a celebration of life. It doesn't matter who plans the party, who throws the shower, or how elaborate an event it is. Welcoming the new baby is what's important, along with making the parents-to-be feel loved and supported. So what happens if you're in eighth month of pregnancy and your friends and family want to throw you a shower…but they live across the country, or even around the world? Travel is difficult for most pregnant women, and strictly forbidden for some, so the mother-to-be can't go jetting from coast-to-coast for a party. And, unfortunately, it's probably going to be equally difficult (both time- wise and money-wise) for faraway friends and family to travel long distances. Okay, that's the problem…what's the answer? We've got three alternatives: Wish You Were Here Party If several family members and/or friends live in a town that's some distance from the expectant family, they can get together for their own celebration. The party includes all the same elements as any shower -- games, food, gifts, stories. The only thing missing is mom! To make this really fun, videotape the shower. Then the tape, along with all the gifts that were given, can be sent to the expectant parents to enjoy. Coming Out Party Instead of a pre-birth shower, it may be easier for everyone to celebrate after the baby's arrival. You may want to wait at least 4 weeks before having this kind of shower to allow the new parents time to adjust to their new routine and responsibilities. Shower in Cyberspace If the new baby's "fan club" is comfortable with technology, you can set up a free web page online as a home for your party. Or you can use one of the many online baby shower services available. Unlike a traditional shower, an online shower isn't held at a specific time…it's more like an open-house on the Internet. Guests can drop in any time, leave messages, see, photos, etc. Be sure to include a picture of the mother-to-be (or both parents) on the website to really personalize it. What's included in an online shower? Just about everything -- except the cake…and some of the costs associated with a traditional shower -- including: Invitations Sent via email, invitations cost nothing more than time. Use one of the hundreds of available online templates, get some ideas at your local card shop, or create your own. Remember, there's no right or wrong…only fun! Gifts An online registry as part of the shower site makes it easy for guests to select the appropriate gift. You can even include links to online stores that offer the items in the registry. If the expectant parents have a digital camera, they can photograph gifts as they arrive and include pictures on the site. This will generate lots of ooohs and aaahs on the message board! Games Online games are usually limited to word games, image games, and guessing games. Guests can unscramble a list of baby-related words (like the ones on the Game page in the Appendix) or they can guess when the baby will be due (along with gender, weight, etc.). Some people get really creative and write interactive games and quizzes. One of our favorite games is "The Way We Were." Prior to the online shower, you can have everyone submit photos of themselves as babies and adults. Post the pictures online, scrambled, and have guests try and match the then-and-now pictures. Good wishes Set up a "guest book" page where people who attend can sign-in and leave a message. You might want to consider two message board pages: one with messages for mom and dad, the other with messages for the baby. Tip: One of the nicest things about an online message board is that it can be easily stored and shared with the new arrival when he/she is older Chapter 6 - Your Theme Song Orchestrating a Well-Coordinated Party Around a Unified Theme In addition to tying everything having a theme to your party is just plain fun! Although you might think a theme would complicate things, it actually helps to streamline the process and make preparations easier. Once you know your theme, whether you choose a Pretty in Pink, Candyland, or Noah's Ark, decision-making is a snap because you know have a unified concept that will apply to decorations, games, food, and everything else you'll be thinking about. For example, if you decide to throw a party with a Baby Bottle theme, here are some questions that are immediately answered: What kind of invitations? Construction paper cut in the shape of a baby bottle What kind of decorations Plastic baby bottles filled with flowers, name tags shaped like bottles What will we eat and drink? Beverages in baby bottles, snack food (like pretzels) in baby bottles tied with ribbons What kind of games? Spin the Baby Bottle. Whoever the bottle points to has to tell an embarrassing story about being a new mom What can I give for party favors and game prizes? Baby bottles filled with candy The theme of the party may also be used to determine what kinds of gifts the guests will bring. For example, the popular Around the Clock shower. Each guest is assigned a time of day (either on his/her invitation or when calling to RSVP) and asked to bring a present that would be used at that time. For example, someone who is assigned 1AM might bring a baby monitor while someone who gets 2PM might bring a lullabye record for naptime. Similar to this is a Baby's Firsts showers where guests bring a teething ring for the first tooth, a cup and spoon for baby's first breakfast, shoes for those important first steps, a car seat for the first trip to the doctor, etc. Our goal with this chapter is stimulate your creativity, not limit it. Here are some ideas to get you started, but feel free to expand and enlarge, trim and scale down, or use them in any way that works for you! Chapter 7 - Great Baby Shower Themes Basket Case Flower baskets for decoration and finger foods presented in baskets tied with pink and blue ribbons is just part of the fun of this theme. Guests can be encouraged to make present gift baskets such as diaper baskets, sock baskets, boy baskets, etc. North Pole Shower Perfect for a winter shower and funny in the middle of summer, a North Pole Shower asks guests to bring frozen dinners and snacks that the expectant couple can stockpile for those busy days ahead when there's no time to cook. This is a great theme when you don't want to serve a meal -- a make-your-own-sundae party fits in perfectly with the North Pole. ABCD Baby Shower Why not use the 26 letters of the alphabet as your theme? Decorate the room with alphabet blocks, serve alphabet soup, create alphabet-letter name tags (A for Anne, B for Barbara, B2 for Betsy). Play the New Mommy's Alphabet Game and ask guests to pick words that are appropriate to a new mom for each of the 26 alphabet letters: B - Busy, F- Formula; S - Sleep-deprived Colors in the Nursery This is a perfect theme when you're trying to plan a party on a tight budget. Nursery colors are simply pastels, so you have unlimited flexibility in what you buy. You can take advantage of sales at the card store or visit your local close- out or 99-cent store to see what you can purchase at a good price. Nursery Rhyme Similar to the nursery colors, but this one uses the actual theme of the nursery. "The Cow Jumped Over the Moon", "Noah's Ark", are examples. Ask the mom- to-be what she plans for her nursery decor and go from there. If her decor is lace and cream, then keep to that same look and feel for the party, decorating with that color and pattern. It's Raining Money This is particularly appropriate for couples that may already have children, have very specific tastes, or are on a very tight budget. Invitations can be written in magic marker on play money, or you can enclose a dollar-bill as "seed money" in each invitation, and say that you're trying to grow a "money tree." In lieu of gifts, guests are asked to contribute money. Bills are folded into small triangles and are put together one-by-one with paperclips to form a money-wreath or money- tree at the shower. People who win games can be paid in funny money and you can give lottery tickets as your party favors. Time Capsule As adults, we're all intrigued with our past and what was happening when we were born. The Time Capsule theme lets guests create that future memory by creating a snapshot in time of the baby's natal year. You can use newspapers and magazines for decorations and play current music from the radio. Best of all -- ask guests to bring mementos to put in a time capsule for the newborn. It can be a book that was published, the "hottest" CD on the market, a video of the #1 television series, or anything that is dated from the year the baby will be born. This is a keepsake that the family will cherish for generations. Tip: Be sure to assign someone the task of buying a newspaper on the day the baby is born that can be added to the time capsule later. Reading is FUNdamental The goal of this baby shower is to create a library for the newborn and create a lifelong love of reading. Each invitation can be a little book -- use an index card for the "cover" and put in 2 or three sheets of paper for the pages. Purchase books for decoration from the remainder bin at a large bookstore or visit your local thrift shop. Guests should be encouraged to bring books of all kinds -- their own childhood favorites, books to be read aloud, learning books, and classics that will be read one day in the future. There are beautiful bookmarks and charming miniature books, very affordably priced, which can be given as prizes and party favors Safety First This is a shower with a different twist -- its goal is helping parents take better care of children. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Division (along with the Gerber Products Company) has created a learning party where the activities revolve around home safety. These showers are fun for parents and caregivers, combining entertainment with information. You can arrange a baby safety shower for any number of people -- from 20 to 200. At larger baby safety showers, parents can visit a variety of workshops where volunteers illustrate important safety information with games, prizes, and other activities. At smaller showers, a few volunteers can lead the group in safety games. Up to five copes of the kits are available free of charge (item #207 for the English version and #207S for the Spanish version) from the CPSC. Contact the CPSC, Washington DC 20207; 800-638-2772 or email: email@example.com Chapter 8 - Decoration Day Easy, Affordable Ideas for Dressing Up Your Party Not everyone has Martha Stewart's talents or Martha Stewart's budget when it comes to decorating for a party. But that's okay. You don't have to turn a room into the Palace at Versailles to make it suitable for a baby shower. The following easy and inexpensive ideas can serve as the an element in your decorating scheme, but they're also fun and attractive enough that nothing else is needed. Baby Clothesline Get a clothesline and a bag of wooden clothespin at the hardware store. String the line around the room and hang things from it -- pictures of babies, diapers, bibs, hats, plastic bottles, toys, etc. This decoration is a great conversation piece and it makes a wonderful gift at the end of the party. The $5 Umbrella Since your party is a shower, why not use umbrellas as your decoration? You, your family and friends probably have lots of different ones that can be used in a variety of ways. Open them up and fill them with balloons, confetti, or inexpensive yarn in "baby shower" colors. Put your party favors in a small purse- size umbrella, or line small umbrellas with aluminum foil and serve snacks in them. You can even hook umbrellas upside-down to ceiling fixtures, then attach pink and blue streamers that will flutter over your guests' heads. Bun in the Oven This common expression for pregnancy suggests a wonderful decorating ideas -- buns! Sweet buns, cinnamon buns, hamburger buns. They're easy to display, pretty to look at, and some of them can be part of your menu. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Buy some white tulle at a fabric store. It's not expensive and, if you're lucky, you may be able to find some on the clearance table. Then pull out the little white lights that you put on the Christmas tree. Bunch up the tulle and wrap the twinkle lights around it, the way you would a swag valance on a curtain. You can hang it on the wall since it's not very heavy or run it along the baseboards. You can even mound it on a table like a fluffy white mountain and use it as a centerpiece. If you hang it on the wall, it gives a wonderful diffused light to your party space. And, you can hand little bows or tiny baby things along it, too. Family Tree Put a painted dowel in a flower pot and use picture wire to attach bunches of dried flowers and ribbons. Then attach baby pictures to make a family tree. You can use baby pictures of family members, or just cut out adorable baby faces from magazines. Use Styrofoam to hold the dowel and cover it with moss, ribbons, or anything you like. Tip: If you're crafty, and if your budget allows, you do a forest of these trees in miniature as your centerpiece. Use small terra cotta pots, fill with jelly beans, insert the dowels with flowers and ribbons and attach a single picture to each tree. Diaper Cake This decoration shows up at a lot of baby showers and with good reason -- it's really fun to make, guests always laugh when they see it, and after the part it is a truly valuable gift for the hostess. A diaper cake is easy to make: Get a large package of diapers. Roll the first diaper. Roll the second diaper on top of the first, the third on top of the second, and so on until you have a roll of diapers. Secure this roll with a ribbon. Now it's time to move on to the next roll. Do the same thing, but with a fewer number of diapers to make a smaller roll. Continue to make rolls of diminishing sizes until you have all the cake "tiers" that you desire. Tip: You can use washcloths in white or pastels to do miniatures Watermelon Cradle You need a little bit of skill to create this centerpiece, but the effort is worth the pay-off in oohs and aahs. Make a lengthwise cut in a watermelon about 1/3 rd from the top that runs about 3/4ths of the length of the melon. Cut down at a right angle and remove this section. The remaining shape looks like a covered cradle for an infant. Hollow out the watermelon by cutting the pink flesh into chunks. Combine watermelon with other fruit to make a salad and put it back into the carriage. Gifts as Decorations Many people put a lot of time and effort into wrapping the gifts they'll give at a baby shower, so why not make those beautifully decorated packages a focal point of the party. You can create several gift areas and as people arrive, you can display the presents in all their glory. You can use a bassinette or carriage (if one is readily available) to display gifts on and in, as well as baskets, a cradle or any other large item that you have. As more and more gifts arrive, it looks especially beautiful to have the presents tumbling out of the basket or carriage and onto the floor.
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