While a traditional baby shower can be fun for an expecting mother, they’re not for everyone. For one thing, a non-traditional baby shower gives you the opportunity to plan a unique celebration that is tailored to the mama-to-be. There are also fewer expectations when you go the non-traditional route, which takes some of the pressure off the expecting mother.
Baby shower alternatives can be just as fun and memorable as a traditional hurrah. Don’t believe us? Check out these seven baby shower alternative ideas that are sure to make any mama-to-be feel loved and supported.
Baby Shower Alternative #1: The Virtual Baby Shower
If you have friends and family all over the country, consider planning a virtual baby shower in lieu of an in-person event. Virtual baby showers are similar to traditional baby showers, save for one little detail: they take place entirely online. The main advantage to hosting a virtual baby shower is that no one has to travel for the event. Guests simply join the video call and partake in the festivities from afar. With a virtual bash, everyone can safely celebrate baby without worrying about social distancing rules. By the way, don’t worry if no one offers to throw you a virtual baby shower. Given all the logistics, it’s totally acceptable for you to plan your own virtual pre-baby bash.
Ideas for a Virtual Baby Shower:
- Choose a virtual baby shower “venue” that guests will be comfortable using. Facebook, Zoom or Google Hangouts are solid options.
- Create a baby registry and add useful items such as baby bibs, blankets, diapers, baby gift sets and that pack-and-play you’ve been eyeing. Remember to link your baby registry in the invitation.
- Ask your guests to send gifts ahead of time so you can open them on the video call.
- Decorate the space where you’ll be video chatting with festive wall décor and balloons. (Tip: If you’re the hostess, consider sending the mother-to-be a box of festive decorations so she doesn’t need to do as much prep.)
- Come up with a virtual baby shower timeline to keep the event running smoothly.
- Play virtual baby shower games and send an e-gift card to the winner(s).
- Have your guests send you a Onesies® Brand Bodysuit that they picked out or decorated. Try to guess who sent each one.
- Don’t forget to send thank you notes to your guests!
Baby Shower Alternative #2: The Baby Video Wish Tree
Maybe you’ve been to a virtual baby shower and thought, “Nope, that’s definitely not for me.” Fair enough! If a virtual baby shower is too much pressure for you, don’t sweat it. There is another virtual baby shower alternative that doesn’t require you to entertain guests over Zoom. It’s called a video wish tree.
Here’s how it works: The host will ask the guests to record themselves offering their well wishes for mom and baby. These short video clips will then be given to the expecting mother, who is almost guaranteed to burst into tears at all the lovely sentiments expressed by their family and friends.
We love this idea because it encourages guests to send heartfelt messages that they may not feel comfortable expressing aloud at an in-person baby shower. Since the message is sent directly to the expecting couple, friends and family are more likely to pour out their unrestrained love, encouragement and advice. You also get a lovely keepsake that you can watch as many times as you want!
Ideas for a Video Wish Tree:
- Enlist the help of a tech-savvy friend to help compile the video messages into one video.
- You could also create a special video using VidDay, a video app that allows friends and family to easily record and collaborate on the video.
- Help guests come up with something to say by giving them a prompt. Ask them to give advice to the mother-to-be or share why they think she’s going to be an amazing mom.
Baby Shower Alternative #3: The Drop-By Baby Shower
Drop-by baby showers involves a time range when guests can feel free to stop by, drop off gifts, and visit for a little. These showers are great for schedule flexibility for everyone, low-pressure to plan, and gives Mom more chances to chat with the guests!
Keep in mind that drive-by showers aren’t doable for everyone. If you live in an apartment in a big city, for example, driving by your residence could be difficult for guests. And if some of your guests don’t have a vehicle, it may exclude them from attending your baby shower.
Ideas for a Drop-By Baby Shower:
- First things first: Give your neighbors a heads-up in advance of your shower, especially if parking is limited on your street.
- Try to get a general idea of when everyone can stop by to keep things flowing.
- Set up a comfy chair for Mom, and decorate the room she'll be in.
- Feel like getting fancy? Put on a nice dress and make a special mocktail for the occasion.
Baby Shower Alternative #4: The ‘Baby-Q’
Not a fan of baby games and dainty finger foods? Skip the traditional baby shower altogether and host an outdoor “Baby-Q” instead. For those who haven’t already figured it out, a Baby-Q is simply a baby-themed barbecue thrown for expecting parents.
Baby-Qs have a lot going for them. For one thing, they’re perfect for an expecting mother who can’t stand being the center of attention. Baby-Qs are usually co-ed, which takes some of the focus off the mama-to-be. Baby-Qs can also be affordable, especially if you have a friend or family member doing all the grilling.
Ideas for a Baby-Q:
- On the invitations, be clear that the baby shower is co-ed. Invite couples—and their kids, if you’d like—to join in the festivities.
- Don’t like opening gifts in front of everyone? Ask them to bring a pack of diapers to the barbecue instead of wrapped baby gifts. If you’re planning to use cloth diapers, be sure to say that on the invitation.
- If you dislike traditional baby shower games, swap them out for backyard games like cornhole and ladder toss.
- Planning a barbecue for the spring? Come up with a contingency plan in case the weather turns bad.
Baby Shower Alternative #5: The Staggered In-Person Baby Shower
Baby showers are meant to be intimate affairs. A staggered shower provides clear time for everyone to talk with Mom and share their gifts.
Similar to a drop-by baby shower, but with a more scheduled approach, guests can set a time themselves to come by and visit, without the stress of a large party.
Ideas for a Staggered, In-Person Baby Shower:
- Invite two or three guests at a time and keep the duration relatively short.
- Set up a hand sanitizing station and encourage guests to use it.
- Provide single-serve food and refreshments.
- Have a quick game for guests or activity for guests. For instance, you could have them write a sweet message to the expecting mother or ask them to take a selfie in front of a photo booth backdrop.
Baby Shower Alternative #6: The Sip and See
Not interested in any of the baby shower alternatives we’ve listed so far? Consider throwing a Sip and See. Originating in the South, a Sip and See is a party that celebrates your little one after they’re born.
Sip and See parties have been growing in popularity, especially among couples who have had to postpone their baby shower for whatever reason. One of the obvious advantages of throwing a Sip and See is that you now have an adorable baby to show off!
But we know what you’re probably thinking: How do you tell friends and family about your plans?
One tactful way to navigate the situation is by making your own website and giving people regular “bumpdates.” Your website might include a picture of your sonogram, the nursery, a few highlights of your pregnancy and a link to your baby registry. You could then mail a pregnancy announcement to everyone and give them a link to the website.
Ideas for a Sip and See:
- Hold off on setting a date for your Sip and See until after you give birth. If you’re having a rough time due to various reasons, the last thing you want to do is entertain a bunch of people.
- Serve light finger foods and drinks.
- Consider asking guests to bring their favorite baby book and have them write a message for you and baby.
Baby Shower Alternative #7: The Meal Train
Spoiler alert: Being a new mom is exhausting. If you’re worried about being too tired to entertain guests for a Sip and See, consider a meal train instead. This is an age-old tradition that involves bringing delicious meals to the new parents to help them navigate the first week with a newborn.
After giving birth, figuring out what to feed the family can be stressful. A meal train is a great way to celebrate baby and take some of the stress out of being a new parent.
Ideas for a Meal Train
- Unlike a virtual baby shower, you can’t get away with hosting your own meal train. Enlist a friend or relative to plan it for you.
- Consider having guests create a Meal Train account to organize meal giving.
- Make a list of your favorite meals and give it to the host. If you’re using the Meal Train website, the organizer can add meal preferences and special instructions.
Keep in mind that your baby shower doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing event. If you prefer to keep the celebrations relaxed and low-key, that’s totally okay. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a baby shower that is going to stress you out. At the end of the day, this is your pregnancy. Celebrate your little miracle however you’d like!
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