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Baby showers date back to ancient Greece, and before the 1950s, babies were welcomed with gifts after birth. Today, most new moms-to-be will have a shower between weeks 35 and 37, with guests invited electronically. Because showers are still all about pampering and collecting gifts on behalf of an expectant mom, though, they’re still never thrown by the woman herself and remain traditionally hosted by the woman’s closest female friend.
In the 1950s, neighborhood moms would gather for cigarettes and martinis bearing gifts of homemade diapers, hankies, booties and blankets. These days showers have evolved into all kinds of permutations, like the family shower, the co-ed friends’ backyard barbecue/shower and/or a business power shower where co-workers and underlings are expected to pay tribute. There’s even the virtual online shower, and the dad’s baby-bachelor shower, where a dad-to-be’s pals or co-workers give him silly gifts (gas mask and pee-pee teepee, anyone?) and take him out for lunch or a night of drinks and carousing.
Guy, girl, or online avatar, if you’re the recipient of a shower, you have four major duties:
• Expressing surprise and delight with every gift.
• Appointing someone to track who gives you what.
• Hand-writing and snail-mailing thank-you cards.
• Exchanging multiple or unwanted gifts ASAP.
Here are some baby-shower games you may encounter that involve baby products. Be sure to let your hostess know if you don’t want to play any of these:
• Critter relay. Have a diaper relay with stuffed animals or dolls. Contestants must undress the doll, hand it over to a team member for changing, and to another team member who puts its clothes back on.
• Baby-themed yummies. Serve drinks in baby bottles or disposable sippy cups and snacks on teething biscuits or Zwieback. Gifts for all. Wrap little gifts—soaps, candles, picture frames, etc., and place them in a basket. Announce to your guests that a timer will go off every few minutes while you’re opening your baby gifts. Whoever’s gift you are opening when the timer goes off gets a favor from the basket.
• The $10,000 Diaper Pyramid. Write the names of baby items on a card, and tape them on the backs of guests as they arrive. Give everyone five minutes to offer hints to one another about what’s on their backs. Give gifts to the first four guests who guess the name of the item.
• Baby bingo. Use the computer to create your own bingo sheets with names of baby items. Or, if the baby’s sex is known, but the name hasn’t been decided, use boy or girl names to fill the card. You can use small tabs of paper to cover the card, or let guests use highlighters. Draw the items or names from a basket or bowl. The first person to get a row wins the game. (And you can keep going until the second and third person win prizes too.)