Few things in life compare to the overwhelming excitement and joy a new baby brings to a family. For many women, a baby shower is a special event on their journey to motherhood. It’s the perfect opportunity for friends and family to get together and celebrate new life, love and family values before the much-anticipated arrival of your new bundle of joy.
Where To Hold Your Shower
Holding a baby shower at home offers more options for themes and games; however, you may appreciate the opportunity to leave the house with ease while you still can. Spend the afternoon in style enjoying high tea at Raffles Hotel or book a private room at your favorite restaurant.
Capital M at Qianmen offers an old-fashioned afternoon tea each Sunday. Enjoy fresh scones with jam and cream, ribbon sandwiches, and a range of teas and sweet treats in a picturesque setting overlooking Tian’anmen Square.
Invitations create the first impression of your baby shower and establish the theme of your event. Handmade invitations provide a personal touch and are easy to make. Add color and interest to a diaper-shaped invitation by using beautiful wrapping paper from Paper Tiger Shanghai, which is printed on 100 percent recycled paper with soy-based ink (available at The Bookworm).
Keep your baby shower theme simple and understated. If choosing a color theme, ditch the pastels and opt for a bold rainbow mix. A simple motif often does the trick – stars, flowers or the alphabet lends a cohesive feel that is stylish and subtle. If you’re having a Christmas or Easter baby, why not try a seasonal theme? Decorate the table with tinsel or chocolate eggs and fluffy chickens.
While in Beijing, celebrate your baby’s Chinese zodiac – those born in the Year of the Tiger are regarded as cheerful, intelligent and friendly children with a passion for life and a curious nature.
Add life to the party by positioning fresh flowers or small potted plants on the table. Visit flower markets such as Liangma and Laitai, or try the new Dongfeng International Flower Market, east of Chaoyang Park.
Have a little fun and share some giggles with these baby shower games.
Test Your Memory: Collect 20 baby-related items (e.g. a bib, talcum powder, diaper, rattle, nail clippers, safety pin and baby socks) on a tray and cover with a cloth. Show the contents of the tray for one minute, then give each guest a pen and paper. Remove the tray from the room and give them three minutes to write down as many items as they can remember.
What’s Your Guess? Prepare a questionnaire, asking guests to guess the name, birth date and time, weight and length of your baby. Also provide a list of 20 names, including those you are likely to use to name your baby. After your baby is born, offer a prize in each category to whoever guessed correctly.
How Big is Your Belly? Using a ball of string, have each guest pull out a length that they believe would fit perfectly around your pregnant belly. After they have cut their string to the appropriate length, compare the results with your actual tummy.
Letters to Baby: While not a game, this is a lovely activity that everyone will want to participate in. Give each guest a pen and notepaper and ask them to write a short note to your baby. This may take a little thought, so ask each guest to kindly place their note into a bowl before they leave. It’s worth using nice notepaper because these messages are wonderful keepsakes that you will treasure long after the baby shower is over.
Refreshments can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Ask each guest to bring a plate of nibbles or try Comptoirs de France for delicious sweet and savory canapés. No baby shower is complete without cupcakes. Make your own or order beautifully decorated custom-made styles from CC Sweets.
Prizes and Favors
Awarding a small prize to the winner of each game will add an extra air of festivity to your baby shower. Consider novelty pacifiers or more sophisticated prizes like Lindt chocolate balls. Brightly colored bath treats from Sephora presented in a small organza bag are a perfect way to thank your guests for attending.
Be it gorgeous baby clothes, the latest must-have accessories or a pair of split pants (just for fun) – everyone loves to give gifts to new babies. If guests inquire about preferred gifts, ask for practical nursery items, like baby wipes and diapers, or books for bedtime. If you don’t know the gender of your baby (or don’t want to share that information), ask for gifts in neutral colours.
If you are a guest, browse Mothercare at SOLANA, Babygro at Central Park, or Big and Little Books at Lido Place, Wangjing and Haidian. Join forces with a friend and create a diaper cake full of nursery basics, like diapers, wraps, burp cloths, bibs, pacifiers and baby socks, all beautifully presented as a tiered "cake."
Not Your First Baby?
Baby showers are most significant for first-time mothers; however, second-time moms (and beyond) needn’t miss out on an indulgent afternoon with close friends. Celebrate with a "baby sprinkle," a smaller version of a baby shower with less emphasis on gifts and games.
Not Your Scene?
If a traditional baby shower doesn’t fit your circumstances or idea of a good time, celebrate in your own style instead. Remember, a baby shower can be whatever you want it to be.
Make it a family affair and invite fathers and children to a barbecue or potluck picnic. Prepare a lavish afternoon tea for yourself, sit down at the computer and enjoy a virtual baby shower via Skype with your best friends back home.
You can even arrange an official baby viewing after the birth with a Sip and See party – a casual affair held two to six weeks after your baby arrives. Send invitations a few weeks before your due date so guests know when they can meet your baby. Limit the time frame to a few hours and clearly state an end time on your invitation. Keep the menu simple, with drinks and light canapés. As your baby will be passed around, have a pump bottle of antiseptic hand cleanser on the entry table as guests arrive.
Vanilla Cupcakes (serves 12)
115g butter (at room temperature)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (at room temperature)
115g self-rising flour
1 tbsp milk
Preheat the oven to 180̊C and place 12 paper liners in a muffin tin. Cream butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs. Sift in flour and alternate with milk, ending with the flour. Spoon the mixture into paper liner. Bake at 180̊C for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
175g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
230g confectioner’s sugar
Put the butter and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until the butter is pale and very soft. Gradually sift in the confectioner’s sugar.
Spoon the frosting into a large piping bag fitted with a medium star-shaped nozzle and pipe large swirls of frosting on each cupcake.
Recipe supplied by CC Sweets