When I announced my first pregnancy, my friends and family showed a huge amount of excitement and support. So much, in fact, that I ended up having not one, but three baby showers. My excitement from all of the cute clothes, tiny shoes, and baby items quickly turned to panic when I realized that our small one-bedroom apartment couldn’t possibly hold all of our new items.
While I completely appreciated the baby showers, I definitely didn’t need any of that stuff the second time around. In fact, my second baby was a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) graduate, which meant that we had a month’s worth of medical bills and health issues to deal with. Cute outfits and stuffed animals were a nice thought, but what we really needed was help at home – and money in the bank.
Financial Baby Shower Ideas
A recent trend in celebrating a new baby isn’t the same old shower with strollers and outfits. Instead, party-throwers are focusing on helping the new parents in other ways. This works especially well if the parents have already had a more conventional baby shower, or if it’s not their first baby.
As long as you present the shower in a fun and engaging way, guests won’t bat an eye at the unconventional gift requirements. If you are planning a shower, consider one of these themes:
1. Diaper Shower
A diaper shower might not sound great to sleep-deprived parents, but I promise that it has nothing to do with actually changing diapers. Instead, guests are asked to bring a package of diapers along with any other gift they want to bring. One idea to add some fun to the party is to offer a drawing for a prize to be awarded to one guest – each package of diapers nets each guest an additional entry.
If the parents have a special request regarding a specific brand of diapers, it needs to go on the invitation. Urge guests to bring a variety of sizes – the parents might not have to think about diaper purchases for the first couple of months. And if you have parents planning to use cloth diapers, just find out which type of cloths they like to use and ask guests to each bring one to build up their stash. Diapers, both cloth and disposable, can eat up a budget, so a diaper shower certainly relieves some of the financial pressure.
2. College Savings Shower
If the parents-to-be are scholars, they’ll appreciate a shower that focuses on college education. Granted, paying for college seems a long way off for a child who isn’t yet born, but starting now helps to create good saving habits for the new parents and, eventually, the child. Just contact a financial adviser to find out what you need to do to contribute to a 529 college savings plan for your friends’ child. Then, ask shower-goers to contribute to the account in lieu of gifts. You can then present a statement to the parents.
Alternatively, you can ask guests to bring cash or check donations. You can then explain what the donations are for and then allow the new mom and dad to take care of the plan on their own. A couple hundred dollars to start with can result in a great amount in the future.
3. Freezer Meal Shower
I can attest to the zombie-like quality of life in the days and weeks after having a baby. To be honest, my family eats a lot of pizza when I’m recuperating. But it’s nice to have a break from the fast food, which is why a freezer meal shower can be so helpful. This works best if the new parents have access to a chest freezer, since they’ll need the storage.
Prior to the event, instruct each guest to bring along a freezer meal in a disposable casserole dish. That way, the new parents have a selection of healthy, homemade stored meals to pop in the oven or microwave when needed.
I received a ton of freezer meals after my second baby was born – my daughter became so used to eating from the microwave that she would yell “Dinner!” every time she heard a beeping noise. Kidding aside, it was a total lifesaver during that first month.
4. Gas Card Shower
Recently, I was visiting another mom who had spent significant time with her baby in the NICU. We were discussing the toll that driving to the hospital on a daily basis took on us, both physically and financially. She, however, had come up with a brilliant idea during that time. “When people asked what they could do to help during that time,” she said, “I’d ask for a gas gift card to help pay for the trips to the hospital.”
If you know a set of parents whose baby hasn’t yet come home from the hospital, rally some friends together and give them gas cards or even credit card gift cards. That way, you can help relieve some of the burden of a hospital-bound baby when you can’t do much else to help.
5. Service Shower
If you really want to bring a few tears to the new parents’ eyes, throw a service shower. At a service shower, instead of bringing gifts, each guests brings a card with the promise of some type of service enclosed. Some service gifts include a homemade meal, free babysitting for a date night, some help around the yard, or two hours of prepaid house cleaning.
New parents need time to focus on their new arrival, not housekeeping and mowing the lawn. By offering service-based gifts, you’re able to pitch in and give new parents a much-needed break.
It definitely pays to think outside the box when you’re throwing a shower for parents who need financial help, but may not need so much baby gear. Outfits, baby toys, and books are fun to receive, but there can definitely be too much of a good thing. By focusing on the parents’ bank account, you can help relieve some of the financial strain caused by a new baby.
Would you ever throw a financial baby shower? What other ideas do you have?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)