Thursday, July 21, 2011

How to do a long distance baby shower

My daughter, Cassandra, is expecting her first baby--my first grandchild--in ten days and we're so excited!  That's the happy stuff.  The sad stuff is that Cassandra lives far away and we haven't seen her and her husband, Emerson, for quite awhile.  In fact, we have never seen her baby bump "in person."  Pretty sad, huh?  I am going to go visit when the baby is born which is definitely more happy stuff.  But until then, we wanted to have a shower for Cassandra.  So how do you have a baby shower for someone who is far away?  To make it work was definitely a family group effort.





1.  Utilize Group Skype.  With Skype you can video call one, two, or even more computers and see everyone on your computer screen.  All computer users in the group will see all others in the group. It will cost you 8.99 to get Skype Premium for one month on your computer and will cost no one else in your calling group anything.  All people that will be in your group video call needs to sign up for free Skype and be sure they have the most up-to-date version.  I am not trying to advertise Skype here, it's just the only way that I know of to do this.

2.  Utilize the biggest screen that you own.
My son Matt, the computer guru of the family, connected our computer to our 42" TV screen so that we could see Cassandra during the shower.  He also attached our microphone to a longer cord so that we could pass it around.

3.  Contact your long-distance guests and test out Group Skype to make sure that everything works.  We had Cassandra on Skype at her home, and my sister, her daughters, another niece, and my mom at my mom's house. This means that, including our house, we had three locations Skyping at the same time.  Someone has to host the shower at each location.

4.  Send out your invitations to local guests and long-distance guests alike.  Include an insert explaining that the guest of honor will not be with us in person, but will be on-screen.  Be sure to remind your guests to adjust for time differences

6.  Make sure to invite people living near the mommy-to-be to join her for the party so that she won't be lonely.

5.  Plan Food:  You may want to plan to eat the same food at all locations.  We had build-your-own fruit pizzas.  It was definitely a group effort.  For example, at my mom's house, my mom provided the fruit, my niece provided the fruit spread, and my sister and her daughters made the cookies.


6.  Plan Games:  Play games that people in three different locations can play together.  Pen and paper games work well.  We played the following games:

Measure the Bump  Before the party, have Mommy measure her tummy so that she knows how many inches around she is.  At the beginning of the party, as guests gather, pass around a measuring tape and ask guests to use it to estimate the circumference of the new Mommy's tummy.  Whoever guesses closest wins.

Name Game  Have each guest write the new baby's full name across the top of their paper.  Tell them that at the signal they are to write as many words as they can think of using the letters in the baby's name.  They must be at least three letters long; no proper names allowed.  Give guests 3 minutes to come up with words.  The guest with the most words wins.

Pretty Momma  Have the mommy-to-be come to the party wearing  lots of layers, jewelry, scarves, whatever.  When it's time to play the game, have her leave the screen.  Ask everyone to remember and list on paper what she was wearing.  The most accurate person wins.

Other paper and pen games work well.

7.  Prepare prizes.  Here are pictures of what we did:

Lotion wrapped in little "blankets."  Pin shut and glue on a baby face

9.  Decide how to do gifts.  You may want to gather and ship gifts before the party.  Because I am going to visit my daughter soon, I will bring the gifts later.



8.  Have the party.  Here are some things you may want to do:

  • Give the guests time at the microphones to introduce themselves to all the guests and say "hi" to the new mommy.
  • Use the microphone to explain game rules and play the games.  If a long-distance guest wins a game, promise them a prize in the mail.  Make sure you send one!
  • Take a break for everyone at each location to get food.
  • Open gifts.  If the gifts have already been sent to Mommy, have her open and show them on camera.  If guests brought gifts to the party, have the guest who brought the gift, open it and show it on camera.  Pass the gifts around. 
  • As a group, say "goodbye" to long-distance groups on Skype and the mommy-to-be.  Turn off the screen.  Thank local guests for coming.
This kind of shower takes lots of help from lots of people, but it is worth the effort!
Remember to cancel Skype Premium when your party is over.

3 comments:

  1. The tip about group Skyping is great!

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  2. I just wanted to comment that google hangouts are free and allow up to 10 cameras. I'm not sure what the limits are in terms of number of people on the paid Skype Premium plan, but I use google for my book club, and it works great and is FREE. If you allow "hangouts on air," the entire thing will also be recorded, which would make a nice keepsake.

    I don't have any showers to plan yet, but I've been involved with a lot of bridal showers and bachelorette parties lately that require heavy traveling, so I've been looking for ideas for virtual showers.

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  3. My sister is stationed in on the east coast and we are all on the west coast and I threw her an online shower, I first created a facebook page so she can invite all of her friends and I also sent out hard copy invitations as well. I made one game and one raffle, the game was to guess the delivery date without going over and they won a gift basket with all kinds of goodies, the raffle was the diaper raffle. everyone who sent her gifts as an add-on with her amazon.com registry got a ticket per pack and won a $50 Visa gift card which imailed to them. And a month before the due date I hate everyone go onto the facebook event page to post some advice or kind words for her and her newborn and I printed them out and made a scrapbook for her. We chose amazon.com for the registry because gifts are sent directly to her address and people don't have to waste money to buy and then mail. It was really amazing and everyone HAD to use her registry so she got more of what she needs/wanted that way instead of just getting close like most baby showers.

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