Work baby shower ideas?
July 24, 2011 3:18 PM   Subscribe

I have volunteered to give a co-worker her (office) baby shower. Help?

We've already decided to give her a gift certificate, so that's sorted. Beyond simply sending out work email invitations and going out and picking up a sheet cake, what can I do to make this a decent occasion for her and her spouse? The affair will be co-ed and on work-time. The baby's gender is unknown, if that makes a difference. The more I spend, the less for the gift certificate, so there's that. What made your work shower special/tolerable?
posted by Sissinghurst to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Well, for me, a work shower wouldn't be as important as the family/friends showers. I find that these things are more like glorified birthday parties (everyone takes a break from work, eats some cake, goes back to their desks) that happen to involve cute clothing. (A big part of showers is that all people (women?) get to ooh and ahh over cute baby things. The gift opening is often a major part of the shower, no matter who the guests are.

But since it seems that you're all getting her a gift certificate, it sort of takes the main activity of most showers out of the equation.

Therefore, I'd get a cake, do it like you do for someone's birthday, but maybe throw in a baby shower game that is sort of co-ed and not-close-friends/family-friendly... HOWEVER, in my experience, men (and many women) aren't too fond of baby shower games. On the other hand, people that have been to them before might be expecting them. I could imagine it being uncomfortable though.
posted by k8t at 3:33 PM on July 24, 2011

The best work baby shower I attended was quick (like, 15 minutes quick, or at least allowed people to bow out gracefully by then), did not have any games or decorations, gave the mom-to-be a comfortable place to sit, had a big "congratulations" card signed well in advance by everyone (big enough to allow folks to include a little note instead of just their names if they wanted), along with a nice potted blooming flower as a tangible takeaway for her to take home.

So, those elements didn't necessarily help making it "special," but definitely helped with the "tolerable/pleasant" for everyone, including the mom-to-be, and I'd definitely say it was a success.
posted by mauvest at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2011

We just had an office shower. Something that really worked was that they got the spouse to show up, which made for a really special moment (it took a lot of plotting & work on someone's part, though). Sounds like you're already planning that? What didn't work is that they announced it as a general office thing, but really it was perceived as "only friends of." So there were two of us general office people standing around wondering if we'd read the invite wrong, 4 close friends, and a melting ice cream cake intended for 60. It was small & awkward & there was *way* too much cake. Try to avoid that.
posted by Ys at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2011

Seconding mauvest on the time factor. The gift card will keep it short (the more gifts, the longer the shower), so it shouldn't be very long at all. Just time to present the gift and cake, have people chat and eat a bit and then be on their way.

You might want to get shower themed plates and napkins to be a little more festive, but I wouldn't really decorate. Most Dollar Stores have just what you need, so it won't take much from the gift card money.
posted by NoraCharles at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2011

We've had several pregnant ladies in the office this year, so someone started a prize system. Everyone who attended the shower wrote down a prediction for the actual date the baby would be born and the weight (in this case, they could also guess the sex). The person who came closest won a little prize (obviously weeks after the shower). It was fun during the shower to look at the other guesses and tease each other about it. It was also easy and fun to implement at all subsequent showers.
posted by parkerjackson at 4:08 PM on July 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm in agreement with work baby showers being slightly baby-themed birthday party kinds of things.

In the past at my workplace we've had snacks/cake/soft drinks/coffee, a card, a gift certificate and one small cute gift. In one case it was a Winnie the Pooh sleeper and in the other case, a work-themed onesie; I think it is important to have one actual physical gift in addition to a gift card. We also made it clear that it was coed and that it wouldn't involve baby shower games.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:09 PM on July 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

My co-workers had a baby shower for me a few weeks ago. There was a cake, donuts, and some juice. Some of my co-workers bought the baby books for her library with personalized messages to me or my baby. Cups, plates, and napkins were baby themed, but there were no other decorations.

It lasted about 20 minutes and people filed in and out as needed. It was very sweet, but not a huge production.
posted by Hop123 at 4:57 PM on July 24, 2011

We often do work baby showers over a potluck lunch or "teatime" (sweets and drinks in mid-afternoon). Gets more people to come and then we have a nice spread without a lot of cash outlay on the organizer's part. If you have a dollar store nearby you can pick up shower themed plates/cups/decorations. Buy a stash and you're ready for next time.

At my office, we usually do gift cards based on crowd contributions, but some people always buy gifts. There's usually an adorable outfit or two or something special if the colleagues are close.

Just the fact that my colleagues took the time to get together to celebrate something important in my life made me feel special. The gifts were a lovely (and very appreciated) bonus.
posted by melissa at 5:07 PM on July 24, 2011

If the coworkers are pretty friendly with each other and a critical mass would participate, it could be fun to do a "whose baby picture is this" kind of thing.

If this is a first baby, maybe ask everyone to write down a piece of parenting advice.
posted by lakeroon at 6:25 PM on July 24, 2011

My work had a shower for me last week, and I've been involved in the planning of two previous ones. What is generally done around here is: ~2 weeks before the shower, a couple of co-workers take up a collection of $5-10 donations and get signatures on a card or two. Then, out of that stash they buy gifts (or gift cards) and party supplies. We have a co-ed party in the break room, usually about 30-60 minutes, where we have cake, chips, nuts, soda, etc., and everyone just kinda socializes and eats junk food. For mine, a friend also did the "write down any advice for the new parents" thing on a notepad near the food. People come because it's nice, laid-back, non-corny, and a good chance to socialize and have a snack.
posted by statolith at 10:00 AM on July 26, 2011

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