I love giving ideas on how to throw unique and entertaining events.
1. Paint Alphabet Letters
This is a great creative outlet. Pick up some of those wooden block letters at your local craft store along with different paint colors and paint brushes. You can get letters all of the same design or mix and match. I would also recommend getting a "&" sign to go right before "z" once it's hung on the wall, super cute!
Ask mom what the nursery colors will be before picking out your paint. Get different shades of these colors along with white so your guests can really get creative. To help your guests get those creative juices flowing, print out pictures of cute designs to set out for inspiration for everyone. This project could be a little messy, so I would set down plastic table covers under all the craft materials and also include some paper towels and cups of water for people to clean their paint brushes with.
Encourage your guests to make their own unique designs, some with solid colors, stripes, polka dots, or whatever they feel like painting! This gift will be one that can hang in baby's room for years to come and one that mom is sure to appreciate!
**As a tip for mom, the best way to hang these letters is probably with Command strips or Velcro strips!
2. Pearls of Wisdom
One of the best parts about showers is that all your friends and family come together—it can be such a rare occasion, especially for those who have out-of-town guests! I have found that showers can go by quickly without the chance to really enjoy each of your guests. If it's mom's style, set aside time to talk. Go around the room and ask everyone to introduce themselves, explain how they know mom, and give her some encouragement. It can be mom-to-mom advice, marriage advice, or even just talking about why you think she's going to be a great mom.
Make sure you point out that it doesn't have to be strictly mommy advice, as some guests will feel like they don't exactly have that! To make it a bit more personal, you can start out by asking mom what she's most excited about and what she is most nervous about for when baby comes and use this to guide what your guests say. This is a very personal touch that will mean more to mom than most gifts could.
3. Beer and Diaper Party
Many of you have probably heard of a diaper party, they're sort of a growing trend. These can be much simpler (and more practical) than showers. They can be a great alternative to a shower, or an addition if mom has already had a shower with other friend groups.
Now, these can be as casual or fancy as anyone wants. You could host people at your home and ask them to bring diapers and include board games, food or other entertainment sources, or you could just tell everyone to meet at a local bar for cocktails and girl time. This won't be quite as fun for mom, but hey, it's the quality time with the guests that really counts.
This could also be a great idea for dads if mom is getting thrown a regular shower. Plan the events to coincide with one another; while the moms and wives are at the shower, have the husbands meet dad-to-be at the bar, and tell them to bring a pack of diapers with them!
4. Decorate Baby Clothes
Asks your guests to bring a plain white onesie with them along with their gift and grab a pack of puff paint—it's time to put your guests to work! You can also find plain white burp cloths, baby blankets, hats, or a blend of these items for cheap in packs at the store that you could provide yourself. If you have a larger group, get a variety of sizes instead of just Newborn so that they will last mom more than a few months.
Next, look in the painting aisle for fabric paints and pens. Set out the blank clothes and paint around a table and have a bonding activity of craft time with your guests. DIY-ing is so in right now, your guests are sure to love this creative outlet. Plus, this will definitely help mom out so she doesn't have to spend a fortune on cute items that baby will grow out of soon.
Again, to help give your guests some inspiration, print out pictures of cute ideas or sayings that can give them some ideas. You could even turn this activity into a competition, saying the cutest onesie with the most votes wins!
5. Spa Party
This is something that would take a bit more time and a few more hosts, but how nice for mom! Turn your home into a relaxing day spa, complete with candles and tranquil music. Have different stations set up where guests can sit down and get face masks, nail paintings, paraffin wax treatments, and whatever else you can think of. You could even ask your guests if they would be willing to chip in $5-$10 to get mom a real massage or spa treatment!
6. Make Baby Food
Have you ever been to one of those "Prep and Freeze" parties where everyone gets together to make meals in advance? Well, think of that, but on a smaller scale! Pick out some market fruits and veggies that you can make delicious baby food concoctions with and look up tutorials and recipes on how to do so without an actual baby food-maker.
You could do this two different ways depending on how many people will be at the party. 1) Tell each guest to pick out a different recipe (provided by you of course) and make it on their own, or 2) give everyone a different task and make it a group effort (i.e. one person in charge of chopping, another in charge of canning, etc.). Either way, it will be a fun bonding experience and something that is incredibly helpful for mom.
Make sure you check mom's preferences before picking out foods and recipes, and also make sure you have provided all the tools necessary to do the cooking!
7. Design an Alphabet Book
Another "personal touch" item, all you need is some blank paper and colored pencils! Assign each of your guests a letter (or two, depending on how many people there are) and ask them to use their imagination and draw a picture that goes with that letter. While some people will be a little more artistic than others, it's totally the thought that counts here.
Ask them to write a message to baby and/or mom on the back of the picture, and then have it made into a book or scrapbook once everyone is finished. This will be a gift that baby and mom can hang on to throughout a lifetime and will have so much meaning that goes with it.
8. Decorate the Nursery
If you have a smaller group of people, rather than a "party," invite them over for an afternoon of helping mom decorate her nursery. You and mom can provide the necessary materials, or ask guests to bring specific items as gifts. This can be really helpful if mom needs help with ideas for how to decorate, or if she is simply short on time to do so. Make it into a social gathering by including a lunch or dinner together, dessert, and board games. Again, this would probably be better for a smaller group of close friends, or if mom doesn't enjoy being the center of attention.
9. Backyard Barbecue
If it's nice weather outside, take the party there! Turn it into a more casual theme rather than a prim and proper shower setting. Include yard games, dance music, and fun things to grill (I don't just mean meat!). This would be a great setting for a co-ed baby shower, too, if that's mom's thing. You could even take the party to a local pool or lake for a more relaxing day for mom.