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Baby Shower Parties in the UK

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Origins of the Baby Shower The origins of the baby shower are lost in time and there are many versions of how this lovely tradition originated. Archaeologists and historians believe that baby showers may have even started as far back as the ancient Egyptians and Romans using evidence gleaned from ancient texts. It makes sense that the birth of a baby has always been a cause for celebration and the giving of gifts – a tradition that continues today. In the past the gifts for a new born baby were usually given after the baby’s arrival and took the form of practical handmade items. Often these were to help the recipient cope with the added expense of a child, so clothing, bedding and even food made up the gift packages. These gifts were usually ‘showered’ on the newborn at the first viewing by the gift giver. Franz Shauer? Wikipedia tells us that the term actually began with Franz Schauer, a German immigrant in the 18th century who was a sliver smith and therefore naturally encouraged the giving of gifts amongst the upper classes in New York. However this is the only reference I could find to this gentleman, so maybe we should be slightly sceptical about this story! Baby Showers are BIG business in the USA and, as they say when America sneezes we catch a cold, so baby showers have naturally caught on in the UK. Who is invited? They are traditionally women-only events so this is a party to celebrate the mum-to-be and her new baby. The party usually takes place a couple of months before the baby arrives and, as with most things, they are getting bigger and better. What was once a gathering of women to impart maternity knowledge to the mother to be, is now an opportunity to impart knowledge AND gifts! What is most surprising is that men are now invited too!Baby Showers were originally held only for the first child, but are now held for every subsequent pregnancy. There are a few traditions surrounding the event. It is usually given for the expectant mother by someone else – so is usually hosted by a friend. Gifts and games are all organised by the host and formal invitations sent out. What happens at a baby shower party? Classic activities at baby showers include guessing the weight, name or sex of the child, opening the gifts, serving cake and drinks, ‘tummy rubbing’ – rubbing the tummy for luck and showing scan pictures. It is also common for a small gift to be given by the host to each guest at the party – just like ‘favours’ at a wedding as the birth of the baby symbolises the entry into motherhood for the bride. There are entire web sites dedicated to providing everything you could possibly need for a baby shower party. At BabyBlooms we have decided to provide a just few special baby shower gifts for people to take along, including our favourite, which is individual baby sock bouquets which look flowers but are exquisitely rolled baby socks on a flower stalk. It is not uncommon for a mother to be to have more than one baby shower! One with friends, one with family and another with co-workers. Whatever the origins and however many you have, baby showers are a great way to get together, share tips and all participate in a really happy event.So what is the main difference between baby shower parties in the UK and the USA? I’m afraid the answer is that we are still learning and it is far too early to say. Until we establish our own traditions here they will probaby be more of less the same, though perhaps a little more understated! We are British after all!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liz King is Managing Director of BabyBlooms Ltd. a company that is the UK’s foremost online new baby gifts company.

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