Party Plan: Grandmother Baby Shower

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I frequently hear people say that being a grandparent is lots more fun than being a parent! You can enjoy spending time with your grandchild, you can spoil the child with attention and more, and then you can handle that sweet one back to his or her parents.

Having a grandmother baby shower is part of a growing trend. They are like regular baby showers, but are often smaller and frequently held after the birth of the baby. It is usually held by a friend of the new grandmother and is usually for the first grandchild. The guest list should be made up mostly of the grandmother’s friends, co-workers, and family. Even though many guests might not know the daughter or son who is having a baby, they still know the grandmother, and would be happy to celebrate the joy of becoming a grandparent for the first time.

This type of shower does not have the same emphasis on gifts as a regular baby shower does. Although many national retailers now have grandmother registries, many grandmothers would not want their friends spending large amounts on gifts for her or her grandchild. However, if the grandmother lives in the same town as her grandchild and plans to babysit frequently, she may need some practical items at her house so the child’s parents don’t have to carry items back and forth.

Items a babysitting grandmother may need at her house might be an car seat; a portable crib; umbrella stroller; high chair; baby bathtub; bouncy seat; linens, sheets and blanket; changing pad, diapers and baby wipes; toys, puzzles, books, and stuffed animals; baby monitor; childproofing devices for electrical outlets, cabinet doors and drawers; and safety gates for doorways and stairs. Guests may want to give a group gift of a car seat or portable crib. The hostess of the shower would most likely suggest this in the invitation with details of who to contact and who is collecting the money.

If the grandmother does not live close to her new grandchild, the type of gifts guests might give are books to read aloud when the child visits or over Skype on the computer. Gift cards to stores carrying children’s clothes or toys would enable the grandmother to indulge her shopping desires on behalf of her grandchild. Photo albums, pretty frames and other memory-recording technologies are items for which grandmothers will find a real use!

If the mother of the grandchild does not live close enough to come to the shower, you might want to consider setting up a Skype session on the computer so that she can show off the baby to the guests and enjoy the activities and gift unwrapping. If that is not possible, encourage guests to make videos of the party which can be sent to the far-away mom.

Shower decorations can be themed to any of the traditional baby colors or baby symbols–cradles, baby carriages, bottles, booties, baby shoes, tiny clothes, toys, stuffed animals, children’s books, and more. Baskets of toys and children’s books with flowers tucked in or balloons attached would make great centerpieces.  Framed or hanging family photos of the generations of babies in the family would be appealing for guests to see.

When your guests arrive, ask them to share their words of wisdom with the guest of honor. You might want to buy a pretty journal and pass it around the room–each guest writes down one piece of parenting or grand-parenting advice she followed or wished she had. To move the party along, you might ask each guest in the invitation to bring her words of wisdom written down when she arrives. Then they could all be placed in a gift bag or basket. Once everyone arrives and has gotten something to eat, you can pass the basket and ask each guest to chose a card, not her own, and share what it says. The other guests can try to guess who wrote it.

So that the guest of honor can remember all her guests, you might have a party sign-in board or a framed picture of the baby and/or Grandmother and baby with a wide mat for everyone to sign. You might ask each guest to write a brief message for the guest of honor to hold while posing for a photo. Then these photos can be printed and put in an album for the guest of honor.

Ask your guests to share their own grandparent stories–funny or poignant–of their own grandparents or of them being the grandparents. You might even vote on which is the best. Have guests take turns talking about what changes in parenting and baby equipment have amazed or shocked them since they had children. It might be the diaper genie, baby wipe warmers, squeezable yogurt, or being able to entertain your child with videos on your cell phone.

If the guests are fairly crafty, send them each a quilt square before the shower with instructions to be creative and prepare a special message for the new grandmother. Ask them to return the squares before the party to a designated person who has agreed to put the squares together and finish off the small baby quilt for the guest of honor. Have the guests bring their baby pictures to the party. Hang them from an indoor clothesline with clothespins or binder clips from your mantel or other convenient space.  Have players try to identify each baby. For added fun, write crazy captions underneath each picture, such as “Future President?” or “What are you lookin’ at?”

You might choose to offer a few appetizers and beverages for your guests as they arrive, and then serve a cake or pie after doing the activities and unwrapping the gifts. You could offer small bite-size appetizers you could label “baby”  like baby goudas or baby crab cakes, and the cake could be decorated in the center with baby-themed items like a baby bottle of pink or blue (or a combination) jelly beans. You can cut and scoop a small watermelon to look like a baby carriage and fill it with fresh fruit. (Check the Internet for a pattern to follow.) Check Pinterest for ideas to jazz up your buffet.

Have a meaningful favor to give your guests to remember this special day, possibly a small framed photo of the new baby or Grandma with the new baby.  If the other guests in attendance are grandmothers, you might send them home with a new book or toy for their grandchildren or a frame for their photos.

A grandmother baby shower is a wonderful way to celebrate a very special milestone in your friend’s life, and she will be so appreciative of your support. Enjoy!

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