Are baby showers going out of style?
There seems to be a new trend in town when it comes to celebrating newborns called ‘Sip and See’ Parties. How did I learn about this? I’m quite embarrassed to admit I sometimes (often) watch the Real Housewives of Orange Country. (And New York…and Beverly Hills…) It’s like a massage for my brain because you don’t have to think at ALL while watching.
In a recent episode on the Real Housewives of Orange County, one of the cast members gave birth to an adorable baby girl and hosted a ‘Sip and See Party.’ What is a Sip and See Party? Well, it’s the latest party trend and another excuse to sip a cocktail with friends while also checking out a new baby. You see the baby. You sip cocktails. Yes, it’s that easy…at least as a guest.
Interestingly, ‘Sip and See’ Parties are not actually a new thing. It’s a southern tradition that’s now making it’s way all over North America, kind of like an open house to give family and friends the opportunity to meet your baby. In fact, if you Google Search ‘Sip and See’ Parties, there are numerous ideas for hosting a creative and memorable gatherings.
Years ago, two weeks after a friend gave birth to her firstborn, I gave birth to my firstborn. My girlfriend and I had spent a lot of time together while we were pregnant, because we couldn’t really do anything ‘fun’ with our other friends who weren’t having babies just yet, and it was nice to have someone to share the ups and downs of being pregnant. Because I moved to Calgary just before the birth of my daughter, many of my Toronto pals didn’t get the chance to see my new baby for weeks.
So, when I first flew back to Toronto with my newborn for the first time, my friend and I decided we wanted to co-host a party at her home for the both of us to show off our babies to all of our friends. So, on a Sunday afternoon, all of our friends were invited to my friend’s home where our babies were passed around like a plate of appetizers. Everyone not only had the chance to hold our babies, and to ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ over them, but we had a great time catching up. There were no games. It really was like a housewarming party…but instead of showing off new marble kitchen counters, we were showing off two babies.
We also had catered appetizers on hand and a bartender. It was a really fun party. How could it not be when you’re sipping champagne and about 25 friends are taking turns holding our babies, so we could relax? Looking back, it was a great day that lead into early evening and our friends still talk about it.
I never had a baby shower, because I just really didn’t want one. I didn’t want to play games. I didn’t want my friends to feel obligated to buy me gifts. Also, surprisingly, to many, I really hate being the centre of attention. But I do have a beautiful memory of a gathering of friends, about two months after our babies were born. It was a ‘Sip and See’ Party, but we just didn’t have a name for it back then.
While some mothers-to-be are having both baby showers before their babies arrive and Sip and See Parties after, more and more women are actually forgoing baby showers in favour of ‘Sip and See’ Parties.
And why not? It’s a great way to get all your friends and family to gather for a happy occasion, all at the same time in the same place. And it’s also a great way to give yourself a bit of extra time to feel like yourself again. (I’m still mortified by the sheer number of people who asked me when my baby was due, even though I had given birth two weeks earlier!)
The one and only issue I may have with these ‘Sip and See’ Parties comes down to etiquette. Especially the etiquette of gift giving. When you’re invited to a baby shower, you’re obviously expected to bring a gift. Then, once the baby is born, most likely, your good friends will also drop by with another gift for your baby. Now, because ‘Sip and See’ Parties are becoming so popular, does that mean guests have to buy a third gift, if invited to a ‘Sip and See?’ How many parties do you really need to have for having a baby? To some, as many as possible would be a fair answer. To others, one party and one gift is more than enough.
So, it turns out my friend and I were way ahead of this trend. The only difference is that this type of gathering now has a catchy name.
What do you think? Baby shower? Or ‘Sip and See?’ Or, maybe, both?