Baby showers are a popular tradition in America. Baby showers are held for the mother-to-be, and the consumption objective of the shower is to help her gather material items in preparation for the expected child. Generally, baby showers take place during the expectant mother’s last trimester, and in some subcultures, they take place after the birth of the child. Baby showers are typically hosted by someone other than the expecting mother; usually a sister or close friend. This is to create a supportive environment without adding stress to the expectant mother. Traditionally, baby showers were held only for the first child of a new family, but it is becoming more common to hold showers for subsequent and adopted children, as well.
Guests at the baby shower are traditionally women, although couple’s showers are growing in popularity. Typically, guests are the mother-to-be’s friends, relatives, coworkers, members of her social group, church or club, or friends of the family.
Guests usually bring gifts to the baby shower. The monetary value of the gift is often directly linked to the guest’s relationship with the mother-to-be. Gusts who have a strong relationship with the mother-to-be generally buy larger items, while acquaintances tend to bring smaller gifts. Usually, the hostess will make sure that at least one high investment item, such as a stroller or crib, is purchased for the mother-to-be. There can also be an element of “competitive giving,” and general rules of gift giving are not always clear. In some circles, it is also common for mothers of older children to hand-down large gently used items such as cribs or high chairs to the new mother at the baby shower, this would be arranged with the expecting mother before hand.
There is no set rule for when or where showers are held, and the shower can take place at a variety of places and at various times. Often, the party is held at the hostess’s house, but it can also take place at a restaurant, coffee shop, day spa, church or a reception hall. There are even some websites, such as http://www.webbabyshower.com/ that host virtual baby showers.
There is a great deal of heterogeneity in baby showers. Some have set decorating themes that correlate with the baby’s nursery. Some of these themes are Noah’s Arc, or Winnie the Pooh. Games and gifts at themed showers tend to relate to the theme. Others shower themes are more related to the groups of people invited, and it is not uncommon for an expecting mom to have more than one baby shower per pregnancy. It is also becoming more common for fathers to have showers, there are also family baby showers, office baby showers, the “Baby Sprinkle,” where only small gifts are given, and New Baby showers, given after a child is born (source: http://www.creative-baby-shower-ideas.com/types-of-baby-showers.html )
To be continued…
What is your favorite consumption ritual?