The Little Known Story of the Baby Shower

There’s little more special than the arrival of a baby, and as that special day approaches, it has become a custom to hold a baby shower where friends and family come together with the expectant mother and present her with gifts for the new baby. It is a custom that isthat’s now taken as read, but the history of how it all began is somewhat misty. It’s well known that many traditional cultures like the Egyptians and Romans gave inexpensive gifts to the baby, but not until after she or he was born.

The baby shower, that we know today, became normal practice after World War II when there happened to be a major baby boom. While it’s still unclear why it started, the view is that ready money was extremely tight and with a new infant being a somewhat heavy financial burden, communities elected to help others with the outlay. It might also simply be that with so many lives lost in the course of the war, the life of a new infant was something that should be celebrated.

The gifts presented at a shower are usually essentials of bottles and blankets, but it was also not that odd for family members to provide more substantial gifts along the lines of cribs and changing tables. That wasn’t always the case though, and the gifts were typically always small tokens, a custom that harks back to those early cultures.

The modern baby shower is generally held at the home of an acquaintance of the expectant mother, with the reason being that many cultures find it unseemly that a family member should host as it would appear that the family is begging for help on behalf of the mother. The one exception is when the get together is hosted at the home of the grandmother, a family member who appears to have a special place in most global cultures. The grandmother custom is one that has persisted throughout the years and across different countries, and often she’s going to be expected to make a blanket and offer a silver token, usually a spoon, to the baby. It is thought that the silver was intended to represent an inheritance for the baby, and as such was held by the parents till the child reached adult age.

The baby shower has changed significantly over time, and while the basic premise remains the same, the whole process has become much more extravagant with themed showers, baby shower party favors, and full meals now being part of the deal. It’s also not completely uncommon for an expectant mom to get more than one shower, with another one often being held at her workplace. Whatever the case, baby showers are here for good, and there actually is no simpler way to mark the upcoming arrival of a new baby.

The writer is the owner of a New York gift store full of baby shower favor ideas and and baby shower gift ideas.

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