Wednesday, September 7

Host Your Best Shower Ever! Part Three: Gifts

Now that we've discussed the games and food, let's get down to the main business of showers: the gifts. When it comes to gift-giving, registeries are life-savers for the giver and receiver. But sometimes I choose to give off-registry because I want to give something special, I'm trying to save money, and/or the person receiving the gift didn't register (especially in the case of moms with previous kids). I love to be creative with gifts, but what's most important to me is to give things that will be appreciated and useful. Here's a list of my favorite creative shower gifts:

For Baby Showers
Last year I was invited to showers for 14 babies. True story. I love each of those babies, but if I had bought my typical $30-35 gift for each of them, that would have totaled almost $500!!! So I learned to make cute gifts that any mom would be able to use - burp cloths. These are especially great because even if the mom has 10 other kids, they can always use more! I can also make them more substantial gifts for close friends or family by putting them in a container (small hamper, tub, etc.) from their registry or making a gift basket with bath essentials, feeding items, socks, or onesies.

A pretty bow makes a great finish!

fabric + prefold diaper + quilt binding = burp cloth

The deluxe package

Before you think I'm a master seamstress, let's get one thing straight: this is the only thing I know how to sew. But I've made a ton of them. They only involve sewing straight lines, so if you can manage to thread the machine (which works by "magic" as my much more experienced mother told me), you can make these. Just be sure to wash and dry them before you gift them so you can fix anything that might unravel with washing - this has helped me refine my technique.

I'm going to post the links I used to figure these out, but promise you won't start making them for any of my friends! I've already bought enough diapers and fabric to make these for every baby gift for the rest of my life! I'm serious!!

Ruffles and paisley - perfectly girly!

The safari animal print is my all-time fave!

Color-block with denim: a gender-neutral option. (But I love pink and blue!)

My burp cloths are a hybrid between these two:

For Bridal Showers
At my friend Teresa's shower last weekend (read about it here and here) I gave her a copy of my favorite cookbook complete with my comments, suggestions, and substitutions, plus a cookbook stand and some cutting boards from her registry. It gave me motivation to cook a bunch of recipes I'd been meaning to try for a while, and I think it hit the balance between a heart-felt gift and giving her things she really needs. This idea can be easily customized. If there's something you're good at making and you think the bride would enjoy it (or if you see she's registered for a related item), give a gift along with your suggestions for using it. For example, if you're an ice cream fanatic, give an ice cream maker or bowls with spoons along with your favorite Rocky Road recipe. If you're into grilling, wrap up some utensils with a batch of homemade spice rub or sauce. The possibilities are endless.

Oh, how I love Ina and her beautiful, tasty food!

Another great gift is a recipe binder full of your family's favorite recipes. My friend Amanda gave me one as a wedding gift and everything I've made from it has been great! I love gifts like this because the food we eat with our families is sacred to us and sharing it makes us closer.

For Lingerie Showers
For something unique and unexpected, give Custom Rhinestone Panties from Custom Glam Girl! My friend Haley (you met her in the previous posts) gave me a pair of these at my lingerie shower and they were one of my very favorite wedding gifts. They're hot pink, say "Mrs. Vaughan" across the back, and may be the first thing I owned with my married name on it! They make me smile every time I see them. And yes, I did just describe my underwear on the world wide web... Buy these the next time you need a lingerie gift!

Any fellow creative gifters out there? Tell us about your favorites!

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