Baby showers are a common practice in most cultures, but how much do you really know about this ritual? Take the baby shower quiz and find out.
Traditional baby showers are women-only, but modern moms-to-be are throwing the door open to both sexes with co-ed or family-friendly baby showers where everyone is invited to join the celebration.
To give guests plenty of time to check their calendars and RSVP, send invitations about 3 to 4 weeks before the party date.
Expectant couples shouldn't throw their own baby shower -- Miss Manners will tell you that, by doing so, it could appear you expect presents.
Tradition would have just one baby shower for a couple, no matter how many babies they go on to have. But baby "sprinkles" are becoming a popular way to shower love on the babies who follow the first born -- think of it as a gathering of friends and family (a brunch or afternoon tea), gifts not necessary.
According to the Clean Air Council, Americans generate four million tons of paper waste during the holiday season (wrapping paper and bags). Wrapping paper alternatives such as blankets, towels and recycled paper (with soy-based inks) are all good eco-friendly options, whether you're attending a green-themed shower or just trying to reduce your carbon footprint.
Baby showers are commonly thrown a month or two before the baby is born. While some women are comfortable celebrating early in their pregnancy, before they get too big to join in the fun, it's also OK to celebrate after the birth of the baby, especially if the expectant mother has had pregnancy-related problems (or if the shower is for an adoptive couple).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the U.S. record high number of births to be 4,317,119 babies.
According to the CDC, the record high for U.S. births happened in 2007. The extra 17,119 babies were enough to beat the births for 1957, when 4,300,000 babies were born in the U.S.
Baby showers can include everything from a simple cake and a brief toast to the parents-to-be to a full brunch or lunch with games and present opening -- so plan on spending at least two hours to be sure to fit in all the fun.
According to Jewish tradition, a baby shower is held after the birth of the baby. Additionally, Jewish parents who follow tradition won't buy items for the baby, decorate the nursery or share the baby's name until after the baby is born.
Although it doesn't merit a top registry spot, opening or contributing to a 529 plan -- an education savings plan -- is not a bad idea considering that tuition rates are skyrocketing year over year. According to the College Board, the cost of attending a four-year public college rose more than 6 percent (four-year private college tuitions rose by 5.9 percent) from 2006 to 2007.
Okuizome is a small celebration attended by friends and family about 100 days after the baby is born. During the ceremony, the newborn is offered a small bit of food (it's not eaten, just offered as the infant is too young to eat solid foods) to symbolize that he or she will never go hungry in life.
Victorian baby showers traditionally coincided with tea time (high noon) -- and were thrown after the birth of the baby. The new mother's family and friends would combine their tea party with the festive celebration.
While many countries around the world don't traditionally throw baby showers, throwing a shower in China is actually considered to be bad luck. Instead, Chinese families celebrate their newborns with post-birth celebrations.
Emily Post recommends sending all thank yous after the baby shower but before the baby is born. Not in the cards for you? Try to get them mailed within two months of the baby's arrival.
The U.S. Postal Service estimates letter carriers drove more than 1 billion miles last year to deliver 667 million pieces of mail every day. Help reduce that carbon footprint by sending E-vites. Other green options are phone calls and in-person invitations.
Guests can expect to play three or four games during a baby shower, from guessing games to demonstrations of agility in stroller olympics.
Baby showers as we recognize them today began after WWII, during the baby boom.
While the history of the baby shower as we recognize it today is unknown, it's thought the showering tradition dates back as far as ancient Egypt, but showers were held after the baby was born not before.
Nicole Richie's baby shower for daughter Harlowe, hosted by her mother, was Oz-themed, said to feature a live band playing songs from the movie, ruby slipper centerpieces and a candy-lined yellow brick road.