The idea of a baby shower – a party for a mom and baby before the baby is born towards the end of the pregnancy is quite alien to a Brit (though, I believe that it is a custom that some in the UK have now adopted), or to an Indian, at least not the kind of baby shower that is commonly held in the USA.

When I received a beautiful printed invitation, a month ago, to such an event I was at a loss about several things. What should I wear? What sort of gift should I buy (by and large, I feel that it’s a bit inauspicious to get something for a baby who has not been born yet)? What was going to happen at the party?

Realizing that my questions were not being answered by the internet search results I had found and having come across alarming stories about baby shower games involving sniffing the contents of what appeared to be a soiled diaper (nappy) and guessing what melted chocolate bar it contained, I called upon a few American friends for advice.

I was advised to wear ‘nice clothes’ – a dress or nice pants – NOT jeans. I was advised to purchase a gift that fell in between the birthday present and wedding present category. It seemed that gift cards at the place where the mom was register were perfectly acceptable, and that is what I eventually purchased. I was also alerted to the fact that games were indeed a big part of ¬†baby shower.

So it was with some apprehension that I knocked on the door of the beautiful house where the party was being held. I was pleasantly surprised (and relieved) to find that my worst fears were not realized. The party turned out to be very tastefully done and I had a wonderful time.

Some of the flowers on the table.

The house was filled with gorgeous flowers with a delicate sprinkling of pink decorations (the baby is a girl)! Food played a big part in the proceedings. There was a table laden with delicious nibbles, ranging from savory tuna choux pastries and miniature smoked salmon sandwiches, to a bewildering array of pretty cakes, tarts, muffins and pies.

Flowers and food. A baby shower is NOT diet-friendly!

In my time in California, I have come to realize that a Red Velvet Cake seem to be a favorite amongst many people living here. This cake is traditionally a layer cake, but can be found in the form of cheesecake and muffins as well. The sponge is bright red in color. It is usually iced with contrasting white cream cheese frosting. It is quite delicious, though I haven’t managed to fathom what flavor the cake is – plain or chocolate. The color is achieved through the addition of nothing more exotic than food coloring. I digress . . . the reason I did was that there were cute little Red Velvet Muffins at the party, decorated with pink icing (the ‘girl’ color) and silver balls.

Some of the food! By the time I took this photo, the tuna choux pastries had all gone, hence the empty plate on the right!

There was also a lemon tart, a berry tart, chouquettes with cream, a chocolate tart and a baby shower cake, with the date and pink decorations on it.

The baby shower cake being cut! You can see the famous 'Red Velvet Muffins' on the far left.

After availing ourselves of far too much food and drink (champagne, juices and pink lemonade were on offer). We were ushered into the living room where we proceeded to play a couple of tasteful games (no poopy diapers – I was disappointed and relieved!), including one where we had to guess the size of the baby bump by cutting lengths of ribbons to go around the pregnant lady’s waist.

Presents being unwrapped

Then, presents and cards were unwrapped. I thought the best gift was an offer to cook three meals for the family and do all the groceries and take care of the other children (to be taken on one day, or spread across several). What a lovely present for a new mum!

A basket containing the baby shower favors

When it was time to go home, we each received three baby shower favors to take home! They were, gorgeous heart-shaped lavender pillows, embroidered with our names from a ‘lavender pillow tree’ that one of the hosts had made (now I realize why the RSVP was so important!), a pretty pocket tissue holder and some baby shower chocolate.

In all my first baby shower was a wonderful experience, though I’m not sure that I myself would have one when the time comes! In any case I now feel well-equipped to attend my next one – I’m even looking forward to it!

The beautiful 'lavender bag tree'!

One of the take-home favors - a pretty pocket tissue pack. Don't miss the pacifier icon on the sticker!

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