There are lots of ways to celebrate new life. A baby shower not only celebrates this beautiful milestone, but it also helps new parents collect many of the things that they will need to keep their baby safe and healthy. While most parents are happy with any type of party, you can put a personal touch on the day with just a few changes. This changes your shower from a party to a celebration of love that will last long after the baby outgrows the clothing and toys wrapped up with bows.

One of the most important parts of planning your baby shower is to set up the gift registry. A gift registry makes it easy for the parents-to-be to let guests know what they need. But it also allows the guests to have the ease of mind of knowing that they are getting something the parents really need. This prevents gift duplication.

There are many stores that offer gift registries, but they are all just within a specific store. That limits the parents’ choices. Instead, focus on an independent gift registry. This allows parents to choose what they need from a wide range of retailers both large and small. It gives them the opportunity to shop smarter and choose the best value for each gift. When guests shop through the registry, it automatically updates, letting other guests and the parents-to-be know that a specific gift has already been chosen.

But personalization doesn’t have to stop with the gift registry. Using these ideas can turn your shower into a deeply personal experience.

Royal Baby

Got an Anglophile? Why should England be the only place to celebrate a royal birth. Turn your shower into a coronation for a new little prince or princess with just a few touches. Start with engraved invitations or make a reasonable facsimile on your computer. Make sure that you have crowns for your Queen or King to be. Serve “Royal” food such as “King” crab dip or create an English menu with tea and crumpets. Be sure to give each guest a royal send-off with a gift bag fit for a king.

Bookish Baby

Do you have a librarian, author or booklover that’s expecting? A book baby shower is the perfect way to celebrate a new chapter in a new mom’s life. Start by fashioning your invitations to look like a favorite children’s book. Think about books such as The Cat in the Hat, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or Goodnight Moon. For this type of shower, ask your guests to bring a signed book for the baby instead of a card. It makes a lot of sense. For the cost of a greeting card, guests can purchase a board book that will entertain the family for years. Serve food that you might find in books such as green eggs and ham. Many bakeries will decorate cakes with the cover a favorite book printed with edible ink on rice paper. Or serve cupcakes with tiny books made from sugar or fondant.

Invasion of the Sci Fi Baby

Do you have someone who can’t get enough Star Wars or Doctor Who? Then celebrate the future of your favorite parent-to-be with a Sci Fi themed shower. You can use an all-digital invite and thank you note. Ask your guests to imagine the world when this little one turns twenty-five. Choose a menu that goes with the show of choice. For example, you might serve “fish fingers and custard” (lady fingers in pudding) and “Sweetie Sweet Tea” for a Doctor Who themed affair. Got a Trekkie? You must serve “Earl Grey-hot.”

Dad’s Diaper Party

You know, baby showers aren’t just for women anymore. Dad can get into the action with a party of his own. Invite Dad and his favorite father friends to celebrate his impending daddy-hood. You can play games where the men race to diaper dolls or see what they can put together with duct tape. Ask guests to bring books designed for Dad so that he “knows what to expect.” Serve Dad’s favorite food, whether it’s pizza, subs or steak.

Gift Card Shower

Sometimes a lot of large gifts can be more of a problem than a blessing for a new mom, especially if she’s traveling to the shower. In that case, having a gift card shower just makes sense. This is where an online gift registry comes in so handy. You can ask the mom to be which stores have the items she wants. You can add those stores to the gift registry and Mom can shop to her hearts content, knowing that everything will be delivered on time. But a gift card shower doesn’t you can’t have fun. Purchase extra cards in small denominations from 1 to 5 dollars and let guests play sneaky thief, “stealing” cards they want from each other and only finding out at the end how much each card is worth. Ask the bakery to decorate the cake to look like a giant gift card made out in the baby’s name.

Gender Reveal

More and more parents are waiting to reveal the gender of their child until they have a party. If you are hosting the party, you may find yourself as the only person who knows the gender of the child. You can ask the parents to hand you a sealed envelope from the OB/GYN to help you plan the party. Choose a neutral color scheme for the invitations and decorations. There are several ways to announce the gender of the child. You can fill a box with pink or blue balloons and ask the couple to open the box, releasing the balloons into the sky. You can also ask the bakery to add pink or blue dye to the cake mix and cover it with white icing. The couple can cut into the cake revealing the gender. Finally, you can have a gender reveal piñata. Give the parents a broomstick and let them whack away dropping either pink or blue candy.

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