There is nothing as precious or as important as the arrival of a new baby, and the little one’s arrival should be celebrated accordingly—no matter what. Thankfully, technology makes it easy to shower a new mama with all the love she deserves via a virtual baby shower, whether social distancing is a factor or mom’s nearest and dearest are simply miles away. If you’re hosting for a family member, or friend or even looking for ways to celebrate your own little one in utero, read on for how to get the preggo party going—virtually. 

1. Keep It Simple—or Don’t!
When planning a virtual baby shower, the first thing to keep in mind is that, like a traditional, in-person shower, a virtual event can be as simple or as detailed as the mama-to-be wants it to be. There is no right or wrong way to host a baby shower, so let go of the pressure or any preconceived notions of how it “ought” to go and just have fun!

2. Make a List of Attendees
If you’re in search of a silver lining to having a virtual baby shower (there are lots!), here is one to get you started: unlimited invites. Having to pare down an invite list due to venue size or budget restraints can be one of the hardest parts of this type of event, but with a virtual party, you can open the doors for as many people as you want to pour on the love to the soon-coming bundle of joy.

3. Pick a Platform
There are a few different ways to go about throwing a virtual baby shower. Some reliable go-tos are Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Evite. There is a bit of a learning curve to learning how to use these video-conferencing sites, so familiarize yourself with the platform of your choice and try out a few test runs with friends before the big day. That way you can help guide attendees, especially those who aren’t that tech-savvy. (Important note: On Zoom, you’ll have to pay for a “Pro” account or restart your meeting every 40 minutes. Google Hangouts and Skype don’t have set time limits on meetings.) 

4. Invite Right
Choose a party time when most people are likely to be available to attend. Create an online invite using a service like Minted, Paperless Post, or Evite (which now offers direct video-chatting capabilities) with the shower’s date, time, and name of the host. Be sure to note clearly that this baby shower is a virtual event, and include any necessary meeting log-in information. It can be helpful to set the party time 10 minutes earlier than the time you share with the mom-to-be so everyone is ready and waiting to celebrate when the special guest logs in. Of course, traditional registry information should also be included if gifts are desired by the mama-to-be. (Including an “order by” deadline can be helpful to encourage gifts to arrive on time.) 

5. Encourage Guests to Decorate
It can be easy to overlook the decorations in a virtual baby shower, but having a few decor items—-balloons, banners, streamers—will turn a hangout into a special event. Ask all invitees to jazz up their backgrounds with some basic party decor or baby-shower-themed items. To give guests extra motivation, frame the request in the invite as a contest, with a virtual gift card to be sent to the winner. 

6. Get Ready for Game Time
In a traditional party setting, the small talk and side conversations can easily fill an hour or two, but a video call doesn’t allow for the same easy-flowing conversation that would happen at an in-person shower. So you’ll want to plan games that encourage interaction among invitees. Some fun ideas: charades (only baby-themed words allowed, of course!) or a scavenger hunt show-and-tell. In this game, you give everyone a minute to dash around their house and find items that could be used, for example, to entertain/soothe/clothe/etc. an infant, and then have each person explain what they chose. Laughs guaranteed. 

7. Plan for Gifts
If the new mom created a registry and information was sent out via invites, opening gifts that arrived before the virtual baby shower is a fun activity to round out the event and give the gift-givers a chance to see mom-to-be’s reaction to their gifts. If the baby shower is more of a “sprinkle,” and opening gifts isn’t part of the plan, there is a way to still shower the expecting mom with love in a tangible way: Compile a basket with always-appreciated baby items (like wipes and pacis) and self-care products, such as a new water bottle or gift cards for coffee or takeout. Drop off the basket before the event with instructions not to open it until shower time.

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