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Having a baby is a hard ordeal to go through. Hosting the baby’s shower shouldn’t be. From themes and invitations to snacks and games, here is a how-to that will queen you Host with the most.

Choosing a date and time: Consulting the mother-to-be about what day and time is best for her is your best jumping off point. Sometimes pregnant women will feel better in the morning and need rest in the afternoons or vice versa. If you plan a weekday shower, you will need an evening time because your guests will work during the day. However, any time of day on a Saturday is appropriate. Aim the date to be 4 to 6 weeks prior to the expected due date. This should allow for some leeway.

Themes are the first stop on the shower wagon. You may decide to go theme-free, a decision that is up to the hostess. However, themes can provide order and organization to your party. If you are going to theme the shower, this is the first to-do on your agenda. Your theme will carry throughout the entire party from invitation to party favors. Themes don’t have to be difficult or complicated. They can be all encompassing by using a particular color or they can be extravagant with a specific outing theme (like “Baby Goes to Grandma’s.”)

This is a place to use your creativity and the mommy-to-be’s needs. If this will be the couple’s first child, chances are they will need a general shower with a little of everything. A good tip to pass along to the mother is to register at a store so guests will know what she needs and where to get it all. If this is a consecutive child or if there has already been a general gifting shower, a theme may be welcomed. A bathing shower is a fun theme. Have guests bring gifts related to keeping baby clean. Begin the fun with the invitation by buying or making invitations that carries the theme. For the bath shower, you might make invitations in the shape of water drops or, for a diaper shower, a diaper invitation and so on. Be creative!

The next rung on the shower ladder is the guest list. This is highly dependent on the mother. The two of you (and any other hosts) should talk it over and decide if this is to be a women only shower or if it’s a family shower. Will kids be welcome? Of course, you can make this choice yourself but it is polite to consult the mother on her preferences. Make sure you include everyone she asks on your guest list, even if they are certain not to attend. Some family and friends like to be included in the invitations even though there are circumstances that prevent their coming. Invitations should be mailed or delivered 3 to 4 weeks prior to the shower. Make sure that if you require an R.S.V.P. the phone number listed at least has an answering machine.

With the preceding items checked off, now you are ready to think about food. Match the time of day to what to serve. For instance, if you have having a mid-morning get together stick to finger foods like little sandwiches and fruits with dip. For an afternoon party, sweet nibbles are best. Cookies and snack cakes along side mints and sweet fruits (strawberries and grapes). This is another area where it is nice to contact the mother and make certain she has no food allergies or aversions. It’s a nice idea to supply some of her favorite snacks (after all, she will be eating fast food for most of the next 18 years). Beverages should be simple. Punch is always a crowd pleaser but make sure to keep some coffee, tea and water on hand for those guests who prefer.

Don’t forget party games! For a small crowd, games may not be a hit but for larger groups, this will get (and keep!) things going. Start with one that is sure to keep people talking. Try the paper clip game: Each guest gets a string necklace with a set number of paper clips on it. While mingling with other guests, anyone who says the word “baby” (or any other word you choose) gets a clip taken by whomever catches them saying the word. The guest with the most clips at the end of the party wins the prize (a bottle full of candies or such, again be creative). Consort with your other hosts or the mother for more games your guests will find fun and light-hearted.

Keep in mind that showers should be fun and cheery. This is a time of celebration! Ending the party in an upbeat manner is essential. Send each guest home with a token to remind them of the excitement of the upcoming new birth. Visit your local party supply store for something you feel will convey this message. Rattles, bottles, candy filled booties and the like make cute door prizes and treats. Make sure the mom is pampered and "showered" and you will have done your job right.