Throw an Around-the-Clock Shower
Baby showers are all about celebrating the mom-to-be — they're also about helping her prepare for her baby's arrival. A great way to organize the gifts and plan a party that's fun for both the guest of honor and the invitees is with an around-the-clock theme. Each guest is assigned a specific time of day or activity (such as bathing, feeding, or napping) and brings a gift or gift basket with the necessities for that activity. It's a smart way to ensure that gifts don't overlap too much, and that the mom-to-be will have the essential tools she needs for each day with her baby.
PLAN FOR THE THEME:
Decide how to assign gifts. Make a list of the daily rituals with a baby: bath time, changing time, nap time, play time, snack time — and any others that pop to mind. Decide whether you want to ask each guest to create a gift basket for their theme — or, if your guest list is large, you can ask each person to bring just one or two items for their theme, and you can assemble the gift baskets together before the party.
Organize a birthday-letter activity. Have each guest write something sweet and sentimental in a letter for the baby to open on a future birthday. Encourage them to write something special about the pregnancy, the mother or what they remember about their own childhood, and enclose it in an envelope marked with the birthday it's intended for.
Get creative with the invitations. Now you get to let the guests know about your shower theme. You can get creative with the invitations by having them shaped like clocks, or even using small boxes to make it feel like a tiny gift for each guest. Make sure it's clear what "time" their gift should be for, and which birthday their letter should celebrate.
Provide suggestions for each theme. Especially if your guest list includes non-parents as well as parents, it's a great idea to give them a short list of suggestions for their gift theme to get their creative juices flowing.
• Sleepy time: Blankets, stuffed animals,
a white-noise machine, a music box, a nightlight, a lullaby CD, a few storybooks, a thumbie
• Snack time: A baby-food cookbook, feeding utensils, bibs, freezer trays, snack containers, bottles, sippy cups, burp cloths
• Bath time: Soft towels & washcloths, bath toys, a bath mitt, bubble bath & lotion for infants, waterproof books
• Changing time: A changing mat cover, a mobile, diaper cream & powder, a rattle, a wipes warmer, a supply caddy
• Play time: Colorful books, a play mat, rattles, soft toys, a CD of kids' music
DECORATE & CELEBRATE:
Let the theme be your guide. Make your home festive with clocks, numbers and the hours of the day. Set up food, gift and activity stations with a "time" theme — for instance "tea time," "gift time," "lunch time." Old-fashioned hourglasses can add a playful retro element to the look.
Be creative with food and snacks. Use our recipe to make cookies that are shaped like clocks and arrange them prominently in a basket.
For a shower, simple, nourishing food is best: try our chicken skewers and orzo salad for a menu that's equal parts tasty and healthy for the mom-to-be.
Arrange the letters to present as a gift. As guests arrive, collect their letters and put them in a box or basket to present to the mom-to-be. That way, she'll have them all in once place, where they'll be easy to find on those future birthdays.