If you are like most people, you go through spates of showers. For a couple of years, it seems as though everyone you know is getting married or having a baby. It seems as though you can’t go for more than a couple of weeks without attending one shower or another. It can be a hectic time of life, but it can also be a lot of fun. And, just as quickly as it started, that period ends as the generation moves on to older children. You may discover that it has been years since you have thrown or attended a baby shower. This can be even more of a problem if you really enjoy throwing baby showers.
Fear not. There are ways you can throw an Un-Shower that not only lets you use your awesome Shower hosting skills but can also help a lot of people.
An Un-Shower is a party that you can throw that benefits not a specific new mom, but a group or organization that helps women.
The first step is to find the organization to help. Look in your community first. Talk to Crisis Pregnancy Centers that help women facing a surprise pregnancy. You can also talk to local hospitals, churches, or women’s shelters. Family homeless centers are also opportunities to help. Once you choose your charity, sit down with a representative and find out what they need. Do they have a lot of new mothers that have nothing to care for a new baby? Do they work with victims of domestic violence and need clothing and items for older children? Do they need makeup, clothing or shoes so that women can interview for jobs and get out of the cycle of poverty? Once you talk to the charity you will have a clearer idea of what they need. Their needs will, to a large extent, become the “gift registry” for the shower. You can, in fact, set up a gift registry for the charity at the store or shopping outlet of your choice.
Unlike a traditional shower, you don’t have a Mom at the center of your shower. While your charity may have friends, they aren’t the kind you can invite to a party. That means you have to hit up your own friends and family for the shower. While it might be tempting to invite co-workers, think about the situation before you act. If you choose a charity that is affiliated with a church, or you work in a supervisory position, this may make things awkward. So, if you choose to make this a work-related charitable event, choose a secular charity such as a women’s shelter or a hospital. If you choose a religious charity, look to affiliated churches for your guest list. For example, if you choose a Crisis Pregnancy center run by a Catholic Relief Service, consider inviting women from area Catholic Churches to your shower.
If you plan a small shower, go ahead and gather addresses and send out traditional shower invitations. It should include the date, time and place for the party. In place of the Mother’s name, include the name of your chosen charity, and include the gift registry that you have set up with the items the charity needs.
If you plan on having a larger shower, consider creating signs. Many shower programs offer “Welcome” signs that you can alter slightly to create a beautiful poster announcing your Charity Shower. You can then place these posters in high frequency areas such as a break room at work, or a community room in your complex. Make sure to include the date, time and place, as well as an email so that you can plan for the number of people that will be attending.
While you are having the invitations or posters printed, go ahead and have thank you notes printed to match. If you are mailing out invitations, simply address an extra envelope for each guest. Place the invitations, envelopes and a packet of sticky notes aside for the party. If you have planned a larger party, you can ask for the addresses of each person as they sign up for the party and fill out envelopes as the information arrives. Or, you can set the entire stack of thank you notes aside until after the party. Make sure that each guest signs a guest book that includes their address.
Just like any other shower, make sure that your Un-Shower has plenty of food and fun. Depending on your own personal preferences and abilities, you might want to create menu of homemade treats, or you might want to have the event catered. IF you choose to go the catering route, talk to a local company that might donate some or all of the catering for the event. You might be able to sign a receipt allowing the company to write off the cost as a donation to the charity.
Include plenty of games and prizes. Try to make sure that every guest walks away feeling like a winner.
Part of the fun of any shower is watching the Mom open the gifts. In the case of an Un-Shower, there isn’t a Mom. But that doesn’t mean that the guests can’t watch the gifts being opened, or the joy that they provide. Talk to the charity you have chosen and see if someone from their office can be the person who opens the presents. They can tell the guests exactly how much their gifts and donations will help the population.
Everyone who attends your Un-Shower should walk away feeling good, not just about what they have given, but also about what they receive. Make sure that they leave with favors that they can use with pride. Sure you can buy lovely shower favors, but there are other ways to spread the love. Why not ask the charity of they have any T-Shirts, bracelets or other swag that they can give the guests? It not only will please the guests, but it will also publicize the charity with the guests’ circle of friends and coworkers.