Go Off the Registry in the Best Way With One of These Meaningful Baby Shower Gifts

Jul 19 2020 - 3:00pm

You could play footage of nearly any person opening gifts at a baby shower [1] and it'll look largely the same. A diaper pail? Check. A bunch of weird outfits because an aunt went off-registry? Check. A second diaper pail because the guest didn't exclude purchased gifts from their search? Double check. Although every parent-to-be needs many of the same items, causing variations in registries to be few and far between, that doesn't mean that there isn't room to organize a meaningful gift for the expectant parents and their baby in addition to the essentials.

For one friend's recent shower, a guest organized setting up the baby's library with books containing personalized messages on the dedication pages. A few years ago, I wrote a letter for my friend's baby's 18th birthday that she'll get to open in 16 years. I can't remember most of the on-registry gifts I've purchased for expectant friends over the years, but I can definitely remember the fun, more meaningful ones, so I can only imagine that they felt even more special to the recipient.

Whether you're organizing a drive-by shower [2] in the coming months or want to save ideas for when you and your friends are having babies, keep reading for a few of the best meaningful baby shower gift ideas [3].

Set up their personal library.

The idea: Buy one of your favorite childhood books — or one that your own kids love — and write a message on one of the blank pages for baby sharing why you love the book so much. If applicable, include why the message or certain details of the book influenced your choice and what it means to share that book with them.

Make it extra meaningful: If you know baby's name, purchase a "From the library of [Name]:" personalized stamp [5] (or stickers!) for everyone to use on the inside cover of the book (if their name is still a secret or hasn't been chosen yet, grab a stamp that has a line instead so that their parent can fill in their name later!).

Write letters for baby's 18th birthday.

The idea: Have everyone write a letter before (or at!) the shower to baby on their 18th birthday. It might feel a little silly projecting so far into the future, but at a very pivotal time in their young life, you'll be giving them a gift from the past from all of the adults who love them, past and present.

Make it extra meaningful: Slip photos into the envelope with the letter so that they can see "old" photos along with your note. Or, take photos or polaroids of each guest at the actual shower and slide them into the corresponding envelopes before sealing them.

Start baby's vinyl collection.

The idea: Purchase your favorite album [7] on vinyl — or one that means a lot to you and baby's parent together — and have someone buy a box or crate to keep them all together (or tie the pile with pretty ribbon for gifting). If their parent doesn't already have a record player, plan to purchase one for them as a group so they can play the music for baby once they're born!

Make it extra meaningful: Write a bit about your favorite song on the album or why the collection as a whole means so much to you as a dedication of sorts.

Record and compile a video message for baby.

The idea: Have all of the guests record a short video message for the baby prior to the shower and compile them all into one big clip to share at the party. You can set a theme and have everyone include their favorite memory with their parent, their hopes for baby, or something else that feels personal. It'll be so lovely for baby to have a video with everyone's voices and faces, especially as they grow older.

Make it extra meaningful: Make the video one that's anchored to a birthday and have everyone share birthday messages for whichever age you choose.

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