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The History and Evolution of Baby Showers — What’s Popular Today?

Bees, succulents, and the nursery rhyme ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ are all top the list of Babylist’s rundown regarding 2022’s best baby shower themes. While having a themed baby shower is perhaps one of the most traditional ways to welcome new life into the world (while also celebrating the mom-to-be), you may be surprised to find out that the tradition is well-rooted in history. From the significance of baby showers in the past to how they’ve evolved to what we know today, here’s what you should know.

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A rich history

When it comes to the history of the baby shower, the tradition can actually be dated way back to ancient Egypt and Greece. According to babydoppler.com, these events were much different when compared to the baby showers of today, as the mothers-to-be weren’t given gifts — and were often subjected to “purification” rituals since the birthing process was generally believed to be unclean. While baby showers in the Middle Ages focused more on God, those in the Renaissance period slightly resemble today’s showers, as the mom-to-be was celebrated and given lavish gifts. Those expecting a little one in the Victorian Age were also celebrated, though often through a tea party, which was hosted in their honour (despite pregnancy being more of a hushed event). From there, however, baby showers became more festive and fun — and the concept of helping expecting families out financially became more normalized, too.

Evolving with the times

While baby showers of the past drastically evolved over time, there’s no question that those of today are a bit different — especially in regards to the past couple of years. As far as the modern baby shower that we’ve come to know and love today, c-and-a.com notes that it originated during the baby boom of the 1950s, with the purpose of showering the expecting mother with much-needed baby items. While giving the new mom-to-be with gifts to help her prepare for the baby’s arrival is a major aspect of today’s baby showers, the way the showers are hosted have seen quite the change. Trends, for instance, such as the “baby sprinkle”  (a smaller, more modest shower for mothers expecting their second baby), have become prominent in recent years, though the pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to a drastic shift in the way expectant mothers celebrate as of late, too.

Due to the restrictions involved with hosting gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, many have resorted to creativity in ensuring that everyone in attendance stays safe and minimizes the spread of germs. In turn, this has resulted in the popularity of alternative showers — such as hosting a smaller, outdoor “sprinkle” vs. a larger baby shower, and even hosting virtual parties via online platforms like Zoom. Verywell Family notes that expecting mothers don’t have to sacrifice the fun of having a baby shower with such alternative party ideas, either. For instance, hosting a virtual baby shower game night or virtual gift opening party can also be done online  as well via video chat and the help of tools like Kahoot for playing interactive games.

Popular shower activities of today

Aside from themes, activities play a major role in baby showers of today, and are constantly evolving with the trends. Ice breakers, or activities that work to engage everyone in attendance, can be especially helpful in getting everyone acquainted with one another in a fun way, and there are a number of shower-themed games perfect for the occasion. With inclusive ice-breaking games for baby showers including bingo, guessing games, and sharing embarrassing baby stories, there are a myriad of entertaining ways to get everyone engaged. For instance, playing a game of bingo while the expectant mom-to-be unwraps gifts (and using the gifts as bingo squares to mark off along the way), the tradition can allow everyone to be involved (rather than just sitting and watching). And, for those who want to put a creative spin on things, incorporating crafts like a onesie decorating station are equally popular activities seen at showers today.

An evolution of themes

Baby showers, of course, aren’t required to have a theme, though many of them are. Having a general pink or blue colour theme based on the baby’s gender (or both colours, if the expecting mother didn’t want to know the gender yet), is perhaps one of the most common and traditional themes out there. However, for those who wish to get creative with their baby shower, theming the party has been and can be done in countless different ways. From nursery rhymes to seasonal themes, tea parties, teddy bears, and more, many have chosen to go all out when picking a theme for their baby shower. Perhaps one of the most recent and popular themes out there right now happens to be the “Baby-Q”. Generally defined as a gender-neutral barbecue theme, this idea is particularly perfect for those who don’t want to put a lot of focus on the baby’s gender, or who simply want to have a unique and fun summer themed shower. 

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Celebrity baby showers

While most baby showers tend to be generally modest gatherings for family and friends of the parents to be, celebrities have certainly taken things a bit further in making the occasion more elaborate while still including simple and fun elements. Kylie Jenner’s 2022 baby shower, for instance, featured elaborate gifts – including a $4.9K Dior pram – while shower activities included a small embroidery project for guests to complete. In early 2020, actress and television personality Malika Haqq’s teddy bear themed baby shower contained a variety of special touches in a cute and minimalistic way. Khloe Kardashian, who was in attendance, noted “Malika has been craving cereal her whole pregnancy. So we have a little cereal bar,” speaking of a table that had been set with a variety of sugary breakfast cereals. The shower also featured teddy bear themed games, wearable ears for the guests, and neutral toned decorations that made for an adorable yet classy event.

A baby shower is a long time tradition that most expecting mothers eagerly anticipate, though many may be surprised to find that mothers-to-be have been having showers for quite some time. From the way the event was celebrated in ancient times to how showers have come to be today, gift giving and inclusive activities are major factors of showers today that make the party fun for everyone in attendance.

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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