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Baby Shower History

Before describing baby shower trends in the 21st century, let’s look back at its origins!

Unsurprisingly, the celebration of a new child has been popular for time immemorial. Through the years, it has always been tradition for friends and family to bring handmade gifts to the new family. However, until the middle of this century, this usually occurred about a month after the baby’s birth, coinciding with his or her christening or other debut, depending on the family’s religious background.

In the late 19th century, Victorian women began hosting tea parties (of course!) for expecting mothers. This is how the umbrella became symbolic at showers; it was tradition to carry an umbrella to these afternoon affairs.

Baby showers as we know them today—punch-drinking, bingo-playing, gift-giving gatherings—gained momentum after World War II with the baby boom. The label of a “shower” corresponds with the “showering” of a bride before her marriage. Initially only women were invited to these celebrations. This is still tradition; however, co-ed showers are an increasingly acceptable option for an expecting couple.

Key elements to today’s baby celebrations include a themed party for the expecting mother, hosted by a close family member or friend, with games, food and the opening of gifts. As we will detail in this guide, the traditions surrounding baby showers continue to morph and evolve as years go by.  

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