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Beyond the Basic Baby Shower

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Beyond the Basic Baby Shower

Though we love spending time celebrating special occasions with friends and family, when the invitation comes for yet another baby shower do images of the same tiny finger sandwiches, sticky petites fours, ho-hum baby-naming games, belly-measuring, and seemingly hours spent on a couch opening boxes with pink or blue ribbons readily come to mind? Do you start to drift away? These ideas (and we’re not talking about decorations) for an inspiring modern baby shower will likely lure you back.

Spa baby shower? Baby shower bar-be-cue? Pizza parlor baby shower? Baby shower cooking class? Holiday-themed baby shower? Baby shower cruise for a day? Or how about a truly modern couples baby shower after dark–under the stars? Today the sky’s the limit!

For Rhonda Smith, sister of Minnesota mom-to-be Ellen McRae, creating the perfect baby shower wasn’t as much about the love and care she knew she’d put into it as the concept itself. The eldest of four sisters, Smith had done this several times, though it started to feel tired when she realized guests just weren’t as excited as they could be. “I wasn’t about to break with tradition and not have the shower though,” she said.

With so many of Ellen’s friends moms of babies and toddlers themselves, instead of two hours of the usual iced tea, chicken salad, and baby naming chatter, Rhonda hired a local “green” chef to teach the guests how to prepare natural baby food, which they did hands-on. “Of course we served lunch and opened gifts following the lesson,” she said, “but people were so jazzed about what they’d learned to make for their own kids they could hardly sit still afterward!”

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Chicago mom Terri Christian’s due date was to be Christmas Day, and with her first three right on time, chances are this one would be no exception. For her best friend and shower planner Camille, a Christmas- or winter-themed baby shower was a proverbial no-brainer, but she wanted something more. With temperatures plunging and December’s icy lake effect winds rattling their bones and spirits, Camille decided they could all use a hot stone massage and maybe a soothing facial, manicure, and pedicure.

“Spas will often give group discounts, so I called at least a dozen and found one that gave me a great rate,” she said. “They allowed us to decorate beforehand and even catered our afternoon with a delicious, spa-healthy lunch.”

Outside of Philadelphia, non-traditionalist couple Ron Horton and Michelle Stephens-Horton, both artists, decided the best baby shower for them was a couples shower. “We always said we were both pregnant,” Ron said, “so why celebrate separately?”

Reserving a favorite Philly art gallery for the evening, and featuring clever baby favorites for hors d’oeuvres (strained peas and arugula, anyone?!), the couple arranged for a well-known photographer to shoot their friends in black-and-white. Artfully posed one at a time with the mom-and dad-to-be, the end result was a composite image–like a giant collage–sent as a special gift and memento to everyone who attended.

Traditional or nontraditional, or maybe with elements of both, today’s baby showers don’t have to be swaddled in bubblegum pink ribbons and smelling of quiche–unless you like them, of course! Websites such as and may give you some ideas, or just query your friends to find out how they’d like to celebrate the next (and certainly the most beautiful and perfect) big thing in your life!

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