It's a baby shower

Hosting a baby shower? Have no clue where to begin? Think theme! A theme can help give the event some structure, define the decor and give guests some gift-giving direction. You don’t need to have a theme to have a good shower, but a clever theme will make the event all the more memorable. Here are some ideas to get you started:

A star is born
Plan a shower where baby is the star. Send out invitations that look like VIP passes. For this very special, exclusive event, add a red carpet to the entry. Record each guest as they give a special message to the mom-to-be. For an added touch, the cake could be shaped like a star on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard and say “A Star is Born” or “Coming Soon: (Name of the baby, due date).” Serve star-shaped sandwiches and cookies, rent a popcorn machine, and decorate with movie posters (with baby’s sonogram picture), glittery accents and hanging stars.

Little cowboy
Go Western with a warm and inviting baby shower that hollers “Howdy, lil’ guy.” Cover tables with vintage cowboy print linens and a long row of small daisy arrangements displayed in mason jars. Instead of chairs, guests can sit on bales of hay topped with pillows. Spell out baby’s name (if you know it) in large wooden letters, line snack baskets with bandanas and offer guests a Southern-style barbecue lunch, complete with homemade mini pies for dessert. Serve lemonade and iced tea in mason jars, and set out a variety of old-fashioned bottled sodas, like root beer, cola and orange cream soda.

Build a library
It’s never too early to begin building a child’s library, and a set of classics – from “Peter Pan” to “Mother Goose” – is sure to be appreciated in the reading years to come. Ask guests to bring a favorite book, along with a gift. Guests can write a message and sign their names inside the cover, so each book becomes a keepsake for the baby. Choose a favorite children’s book to inspire the decorations, menu, party games and more. For instance, the classic children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” makes a great shower theme. Find invitations featuring the caterpillar, decorate in the bright colors that are throughout the book and serve a caterpillar cake.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
It’s a jungle out there for new moms, so make sure she’s prepared with all the essentials at this jungle-themed send-off. Serve sweet animal faces on creamy frosted cupcakes and decorate with cute, cuddly animal accents. Create “grass skirts” out of raffia (readily available at craft stores) for each of the tables and/or chairs. Fill a drink dispenser with fruit punch or lemonade and label it “Jungle Juice” (for a green color, try adding a splash of food coloring or mix in lime sherbet).

Fill her freezer
The first few weeks with a new baby are the most tiring – and freezer meals are the perfect gift for new moms! In this themed baby shower, guests bring a homemade dish or meal that can be heated up and consumed during the early, hectic days after the new baby arrives. Prior to the event, ask each guest to bring along a freezer meal in a disposable casserole dish that the new parents can pop in the oven or microwave when needed.

Beach party
Celebrate the two beachcombers becoming three. Invite your guests to attend in beach-wear and flip flops. Greet them at the door with an “Aloha,” floral lei and have some Island music playing. If your guests are feeling playful, hand them a name tag as they enter with a fitting “title” added to it for conversation during the party (Hula Teacher, Pearl Diver, Surfer Girl, Mai Tai Tester, Scuba Diver, Beach Bum, Coconut Artist). Serve tropical treats such as fruit kabobs, shredded barbecue pork sandwiches, surfboard-shaped cookies and tropical mocktails. For fun, decorate with beach towels, inflatable beach balls, sand buckets, umbrellas and sea shells. Beach shovels and pails are a great gift and can be filled with baby products that can be used by the parents-to-be.

Service shower
If you really want to bring a few tears to the new parents’ eyes, throw a service shower. At a service shower, instead of bringing gifts, each guest brings a card with the promise of some type of service enclosed. Some service gifts include a homemade meal, free babysitting for a date night, some help around the yard, or two hours of prepaid house cleaning. New parents need time to focus on their new arrival, not housekeeping and mowing the lawn. By offering service-based gifts, you’re able to pitch in and give new parents a much-needed break.

Time capsule
This is a fun idea for guests and a thoughtful gift for the expectant mom that she’ll enjoy many years from now. Let all of the guests know that during the baby shower you will be creating a time capsule for the baby to open when they are a teenager or a young adult. On the invitation, ask everyone to bring a small item that they would like to include in the time capsule for the future. It could include photos, newspaper clippings, magazines, letters, gifts and more. At the end of the party, seal up everything in an airtight box and hide it away. Later when the child has grown, they will be delighted to discover this historical marker of their birth!

Pamper party
For this shower, all the gifts pamper the mom-to-be and help her relax and unwind before baby arrives. Gifts might include luxurious bath products, gift certificates for massages, nourishing treatments, aromatherapy candles, comfy lounge clothes, fluffy towel sets, etc. Indulge in healthy spa food, play some relaxing music, light candles, hang tranquil pictures, and provide comfy pillows and blankets. Set up a Mom-osa Bar – a fun way to put a “mom spin” on the traditional mimosa bar (with a variety of different purées and fruits with non-alcoholic sparkling cider for moms to be). If you want to make it really special, hire a masseuse to come over and give everyone a foot rub!