How to Host a Baby Shower
My Story: The Baby Shower
Help! I am hosting a baby shower and got everything done, except buying a gift for the couple. This is their first child. They are very "green" in everything. I am not crafty enough to do anything or make anything, and I don't have much money or resources to get them what I want. What can I do? The only stores in my town are a Family Dollar, a grocery store, and a Dollar General. Any ideas for about $10 to $15?
The nicest gift I received was a meal after the baby was born. It was a lifesaver to have hot, yummy meals delivered by friends rather than have to rely on take-out and pizzas.
Why not make a few freezer meals (casseroles, lasagna, soups, etc) that can be kept frozen and re-heated as they need. Or give them one week's worth of delivered meals for the days after baby is home from the hospital. It's relatively cheap and very useful.
Offer them a free evening (three or four hours) of babysitting some time in their baby's first year. Being a new parent is exhausting, and a few hours to enjoy by themselves, knowing that their baby is well cared for, could be a wonderful gift. You could print a "gift certificate" that they can redeem later (just plain text will do if you're not "crafty"), or you could just announce your present at the shower and make the appointment right there on the spot. Just make sure to follow through on the offer; a lot of these homemade certificates are never honored because the two people involved can't agree on a time. So try to schedule the babysitting appointment promptly, or else let them know what days are generally good for you so they can plan ahead.
For $10 to 15, you could buy the couple a photo album. First babies always have tons of pictures and having an album makes it easier to get them stored away.
What about movie tickets? A night out as opposed to accumulating lots of baby gifts might be the perfect thing and very much appreciated. One person I know who gave this also gave a coupon good for babysitting (by her!) for the movie night!
Boyd and Cyndy
An easy gift for green parents is a collection of baby food recipes that they can make themselves. It could be printed out on nice paper, or even made into a recipe book online at allrecipes.com.
Here's two ideas:
This is great for "green" parents (or anyone for that matter). Buy a pack of cloth diapers. At the shower, have all in attendance decorate the cloth diapers with well wishes or cute decorations with fabric paint. Give these to the new parents to use as burp cloths. Not only will they get used, but they are also great mementos of the baby shower, too. You can decorate them yourself ahead of time if you don't want other's involved. Another idea, if you can sew, is to sew ribbon around the edges of the cloth diapers to make them unique and cute.
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron is one of the best baby books on feeding I've seen. Basically, it gave me the courage to feed both my children home prepared baby food, and it taught me how to do it. This saved me a lot of money, making the frugal side of me happy, and it's a "green" option because there's not containers to recycle. It's available on Amazon.com for around $14 new.
Make a diaper cake. It looks very nice and is super easy. Purchase a package of cloth diapers (perfect for "green" parents) and fold them long ways and roll them end to end. A few basting stitches on the last diaper will hold it in a cake shape. Then take colored ribbons and weave them through a length of lace and fasten around the outer edge. Finally, a few pair of baby socks can be tucked into the folds on the top with the sock cuffs sticking out to look like frosting flowers. Tuck in a pacifier and rattle and set into a cake box like at the bakery and it will make a very decorative surprise for the new parents.
Hopefully, since the couple considers themselves "green," they don't want a lot of trendy, spendy stuff for their baby shower anyway. A gift with more heart and less cost is in order, and here's one idea that should fit the bill.
Consider creating a scrapbook of the shower as your special gift to them. Put a note about what you're planning to do for them into a small box, and wrap it like any other gift. Take a lot of photos of the event, making sure to get at least one good shot of each guest and, of course, the mom (or the couple if it's a co-ed shower), and also things like the cake and the gifts. Don't forget to have someone take the camera and get at least one picture of you as well!
Give each guest an unlined index card or small piece of paper to write their well-wishes, congratulations or words of parental wisdom to paste into the scrapbook (pass the cards out at the party and have them write their messages and return them to you while they're there so nobody will forget).
After the party, get the best shots printed, and have all the pictures burned onto a CD. Arrange the pictures and everyone's messages into the book, decorating the pages with scraps of wrapping paper and ribbons you saved from the party gifts. Add any captions or notes that might be funny, touching, or simply helpful in remembering details. On one page, add a copy of the invitation and include the guest list. Leave a few blank pages for the parents' own additions and, of course, for baby's first picture.
You don't have to be a scrapbooking queen or a professional photographer to do this. Simple is just fine. Just arrange everything as neatly and attractively as you can, and create it with love. When it's completed, present it to the couple along with the photo CD. Paste the CD envelope onto the inside back cover so it's part of the book if you like.
All it will cost is a small, inexpensive, basic journal or blank book, the photo processing and CD, a few basic supplies you probably already have on hand like scissors and glue sticks, and your time and effort. But for such a small financial outlay, you'll create a very special memory.
I would suggest Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home (Hardcover) by Christopher Gavigan for a little over $15. I found it at amazon.com, but her local Barnes & Noble will order it (and only charge for the book, not the shipping) for her if she can't find it.
Annette in Anchorage, Alaska
One of my favorite gifts to give for any type of shower is a package of "Thank You" cards. I include a package or two of cards, address labels and stamps in a basket or nice gift bag. I was given this for one of my wedding showers, and I am pretty sure it is the only reason anyone got a thank you card!
Heather in Orlando, FL
Here's my suggestion for the person searching for a low-cost baby present. Make a Precious Memories box. Find a nice box at any craft store (usually around $3) and place in the box 21 nice cards with envelopes. Then place a note with the box explaining what to do. Every year on their child's birthday, have the parents write a note to the child about things they have learned, accomplishments, cherished memories, special pictures, what they hope for the following years, etc. and store it in the box. Then 21 days before their 21st birthday the parents send a letter to their child each day leading up to his/her 21st birthday. It's a special gift they will treasure forever!
If they are "green," then there is a good chance that they will make their own baby food. Maybe you can get a small food processor, some freezer bags and some ice cube trays for less than $25.
A great gift for new parents is some books to start their child's library. On the Day You Were Born, Goodnight Moon, or anything by Sandra Boynton are big hits at my house. Board books and lift the flap books are great. Also, books with Sesame Street characters are good. They aren't great literature, but little ones love the pictures! You can save a bundle by buying books at a used book store, and if the couple is very "green," they will appreciate it.
Surely somewhere you can buy a tree they can plant on the baby's birthday and watch grow along with the baby. If they're in an apartment or don't own their house yet, they can grow it in a pot until they do (pick a compact, fairly slow growing variety). Does it get any 'greener' than that?
Nancy in Santee
For a "green" gift that is easy on the wallet, you might make your friends a baby wipe kit. Buy a little plastic box with a tight fitting lid, some soft washcloths (any color and enough to fit in the box), and baby bath soap.
Include these instructions: "To make reusable wipes, fold the washcloths into the box, make damp with baby bath soap, and keep the lid shut! Congratulations on your new baby!"
This system worked well for us for years. The soap is gentler for baby's bottom than the disposable wipes and they are easy to throw in the wash, especially if your friend is using cloth diapers. Green and cheap!
Rachael in St. Louis, Missouri
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