1. Gift Opening. The greatest potential for one to reach new depths of eye-glazing comes as the mother of the hour opens box after box of onesies, socks, and tiny outfits that sport exciting sayings like "Bundle of joy!" and "I'm cute, squeeze me!". Yes, itty-bity shoes are adorable and furry sleep sacks do have a certain allure. But the fact is that if there are 40 presents and each gift has 10 different articles of baby clothing in it, and every single item needs to be held up and gasped at for 5-10 seconds, that is 4000 seconds of ooohing and aaahing which can't help but get old. SOLUTION. Shake up the the old gift giving routines! IDEAS. 1) Fill a pinata with all of the baby clothes and make the mother-to-be whack at it with a baseball bat until it breaks and showers her with goodies. This has the added benefit of letting her get rid of any pent-up, irrational, pregnancy aggressions that she would otherwise have the foresight to keep contained. 2)Have an auction. Mother-to-be can hold up different prizes and guests can bid on them with their baby gifts. Person most longing to win yells something like, "I see your pacifiers and baby shampoo and raise you two hats that look like bears and a handmade blanket from the baby's great-great grandmother!" Then everyone oohs and ahhs for a decent yet minimal length of time. 3) Mystery words! Before the shower, a list of words commonly spoken at a baby shower is created. When a word from the list is said, everyone must stop the conversation while the mother opens a gift. This can really help get you out of some awkward conversations with those people you barely know who invariably launch into graphic details about their own delivery experiences. When the dialogue starts to go south, just yell "mystery word!" and start clapping and chanting "Gift! Gift! Gift!" 4) Simple and elegant. The new mother opens the gifts quickly, expresses nice but not overly long gratitude for each gift as she displays it and then moves right along. Guest do their share by not buying boring gifts. Party planners do their share by not inviting seven million people from the office who all bought the same three-pack of shirts from Babies R Us.
2. Games. Oh, these can go so wrong. And not necessarily in a boring way. There is a fine line between a dull baby shower game (everyone rearranges the baby's name to make as many words as they can) and just plain disturbing (everyone sucks on an ice cube that was frozen with a tiny baby inside to see who can "birth" the baby in their mouth first). Can you actually have fun shower games without having to eat melted candy bars out of diapers? Of course! SOLUTION. Think of an ACTUAL party game that people ACTUALLY like to play as a group and somehow give it a baby theme. Examples: Pictionary! (Draw things related to babies.) Catch Phrase! (Say things related to babies.) Charades! (Act like a baby.) Poker! (Box of diapers buy in.) Or, what the heck, just crack out some old college drinking games and give all the pregnant people some Martinellis. The best side-effect of this tactic is that it renders all other problems moot because once everyone is drunk, they are sure to have a fine ol' time. SIDE NOTE TO HASBRO: Please make baby shower supplements to Catch Phrase so we can implement this idea with minimal effort. Also please improve your electronic versions. They kind of suck.
3. Atmosphere. Time to hit the Dollar Tree! At only a dollar per item, you can load up on pretty plates, table cloths, streamers, balloons and whatever else they happen to have at the moment to change any old living room into a party wonderland. Keep it simple by nicely decorating a table that holds the cake and foods and then just drape some streamers and signs around. Or spice it up with a theme! At a tropical paradise shower, you could set the mother-to-be up on a comfy lounge chair under a beach umbrella with a pineapple filled with faux pina colada in her hand. Maybe an ice-sucking baby-birthing-in-mouth contest wouldn't be so off-putting when paired with Mai Tai. Or exploit the obsessions of the mother by having a Hobbit themed party (Gollum can come out sucking a pacifier) or a Sex In the City themed shower (Everyone wears heels, sips Cosmos and eats fried chicken) or a Greatest American Hero themed party (Everyone sings "Believe it or not, I'm walking on air..." over and over again because that's all anyone really loves about that show anyway.) Just DON'T get crazy and baby theme your cake to look like this: