Baby showers continue to evolve over time. These days, it isn't uncommon to have couples showers, give gift cards instead of actual gifts, or hold an unconventional event like a virtual shower. It is also becoming more commonplace to bring a book instead of a card to a baby shower. If you are thinking of asking guests to come to your shower with a book in hand, here is helpful information about the reasoning and etiquette behind the practice, how to word the request for your guests, and some cute printable inserts for your invitations.
Why Books Instead of Cards?
Cards have traditionally been given with a baby shower gift. Guests choose a card that expresses their wishes and sentiments, they write something in the card that is straight from the heart, and they pair the card with the present. However, many mamas-to-be are asking their guests to forgo the card and provide a book for the new baby. Why the shift in practice?
- Cards are often kept for a short period, only to be discarded later on. Parents are much less likely to toss out a book.
- Books help to build a baby's library. When they arrive, there are plenty of books on the shelves, ready for bedtime.
- Books are reusable, and future siblings will be able to read them as well.
- Books that have messages written inside of them serve the same purpose as cards and express love through words.
It seems like a truly genius idea, nixing cards and asking for books in place of them. While lots of parents-to-be go this route nowadays, some people might still find the practice unusual or distasteful. Books in place of cards can feel like an expensive exchange. Parents should also keep in mind that they could end up with several copies of the same book, since books aren't listed on baby's registry.
Suggestions for Inserts
If drumming up a cute poem asking for a book instead of a card is beyond your wheelhouse, plenty of clever, adorable printables are available for easy use below. If you are unsure how to go about printing baby book inserts, a simple guide for Adobe printables can be very helpful.
How to Ask for Books
When asking guests to bring a book along with their gift to a baby shower, keep in mind the request should be physically separate from the invitation itself. A short saying, poem, or request is often printed on a small piece of card stock (typically about 3.5" x 2" in size) and is included with the invitation itself. The book request insert lets guests know that a book is expected instead of a card.
If you are having a virtual baby shower or inviting guests from all over the country who might have to miss the shower and send a gift from afar, a card and gift might be the more practical route. People who purchase baby gifts online typically have them sent directly to the new parents. This is especially true if they know they can't make the shower, but they still want to buy a gift. When you ask them to buy a book as well, they have to online shop for a gift and a book at different stores and pay a shipping fee on both items.
Is the Book the Gift?
If people are bringing a book in place of a card, they might be wondering to themselves, is the book the gift? The answer is no. The book is in place of the card. A gift is still going to be required in most cases. Along with the Bring-a-Book insert, be sure to include a second insert with the invitation that includes information about where the parents are registered or include baby registry information at the end of the invitation itself.
Tips for Choosing Books
It has been made clear that a book is requested by the parents, but how do you know which one to choose or what to write inside the book?
Choose a Book With Meaning
The book you choose to give is ultimately up to you, and the parents likely designed this practice with this thought in mind. They want each guest to give a book that is special to them. For example, choose a book that you read to your children when they were young, a classic that was a favorite book of yours, or a book that has a sweet or empowering message behind it.
What to Write in a Baby Shower Book
Here are tips for the message you inscribe in your book:
- Be personal. Reflect on a special connection between you and the baby.
- Include a piece of advice to use down the road.
- Explain why you chose this book and why it is so meaningful to you.
- Write an excerpt of a sentimental poem.
Use the Correct Tools
The primary perk of gifting a book instead of a card is the longevity factor. Books, especially hardcover or board books, will last for years to come, whereas cards often get tossed at some point. You'll want the message that you include in your book to last as long as the book itself does. Make sure to write your message in a part of the book that's free of pictures and text. People often choose the inside of the front or back cover. Be sure to never write in pencil, and don't use a writing utensil that will smear and smudge. A blue or black pen is likely the best option for writing a message inside a baby shower book.
If Guests Don't Bring a Book, Don't Sweat It
Regardless of your book request, there will probably be a couple of traditionalists who swear that cards are the only way to go. This might not have been your preference, but it won't ruin your shower. Even if a few cards are given instead of books, be gracious and take the time to look at them and read them just as you would the books. Chances are the guests giving cards took great care to choose them as well.