Last fall I hosted my first baby shower, and it’s hard to believe this weekend is his 1st birthday party! I’ve also been to two showers this week, so I’ve been thinking more about them.
Baby showers are an important milestone, and way to show support for the family-to-be. I remember being overwhelmed by the love and friendship that came with ours. But I also think there’s a lot of room for greening up this right of passage to lessen the impact and deepen it’s meaning.
It truly takes a village, and people want to help host. Recruit close friends to set up and clean up, and any other talents they may want to share. Prepare in advance and try to share the work load.
Invitations – Go paperless with an e-invitation. I used to send with E-vite, but I was recently turned on to Socializer. It’s free and green.
Decorations – Keep the decorations simple. My favorite is decorating with a clothesline and baby clothes. If you want centerpieces, create them around baby items they can keep – like reused books standing up or a homemade lovey. A co-worker created towers of blocks in Danish for our shower, and I was so surprised. Now Girly plays and learns from them almost two years later, much better than something that goes in the trash!
Games – Go with a more personal approach. Know your guests and tailor any games to a mixed age or co-ed group. For the co-ed shower I threw, the parents-to-be answered questions about their childhood in advance and guests guessed the answers. At another friend’s shower where I did the games, the theme was “A Star is Born,” so I taped the names of famous mothers on the backs of guests to guess as an icebreaker. Guests also tried to guess the baby names of celebrity stars. I gave organic/free trade chocolate bars as prizes.
Non-Games – Don’t feel like you have to do traditional games, many of which are honestly quite wasteful and not very meaningful to the expecting parents. While many groups may not be comfortable doing a more spiritual blessingway ceremony, you can still go a little deeper. Create something together for the parents. Share stories.
Gifts – Let guests know that reused gifts are welcomed. Since having a plentiful supply of used kid stuff, I’ve been giving a combo of reused and new. Here’s a short list of my favorite gifts:
- Store credit at a local baby consignment shop
- Membership to local kids’ museum (great group gift!)
- Pre/postnatal massages – these are priceless!
- Baby Food Mill – making your own baby food saves lots of money!
- Milk storage bags – breast milk is free…minus the extra calories you need!
- The Eco-Nomical Baby Guide: Down-To-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet
I’m hoping that my experience will help you plan an eco-friendly shower. The Oregon Environmental Council has a fantastic resource, with an entire Tiny Footprints Baby Shower how-to kit.
Have you hosted an earth-friendly baby shower?
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