New trends for new dads

Just as selecting a name and decorating a nursery are part of the natural process when you’re expecting a baby, having a baby shower is a staple in most first-time pregnancies.

Although most men feel out of place at a luncheon wrapped in pink or blue tulle, many fathers like Paul Rizzutto of Hoffman Estates admit they wouldn’t mind a day of their own to celebrate their impending arrival. By tailoring a day or a baby shower around a soon-to-be-dad you’ll make sure he knows just how special he truly is.

Here’s how to start:

1. The basics.

“The most important thing is maintaining a masculine flair,” says Rizzutto, a father who has both attended and planned a father’s shower. This is crucial to planning a dad shower. Most men are not interested in finger sandwiches and frilly cake, so consider a barbecue buffet or variety of pizzas as the main course. Themes such as ‘Bill’s last baby-free bash’ or ‘Rob’s pre-baby barbecue’ pique everyone’s curiosity and set the tone for a lighthearted, fun event.

2. Enlist plenty of help.

“I suggest talking to your partner’s brother, best friend or a close relative to help plan the event,” offers Patti Puma, a mom who helped throw her husband a father’s shower. If you’re planning a surprise, remember you will need help keeping dad in the dark and getting him to the party on time. “Someone to handle sending out invitations and fielding questions will be beneficial to making this a stress-free day for everyone,” Puma says.

3. Let your creativity flow.

If you’re going for a sports theme, consider using baseballs or footballs as invitations. Using spray mount, you can affix the printed invitations to the item as a fun, masculine and memorable invitation. Instead of almonds wrapped in lace, Traci Devlin opted for commemorative baseball hats touting her brother’s favorite team. “We stuffed them with popcorn and peanuts for a great take-home gift.” Tying a note that has the date of the party, the baby’s due date and a simple thanks can also double as a thank-you note.

4. Another baby, another party.

Another innovative twist is planning a father’s shower for a repeat father-to-be. After spiraling through the whirlwind of preparing for a first child, expecting a second child can be more comfortable and methodical. When he was preparing to be a second-time dad, Rich O’Dean didn’t expect his family and friends to plan a day dedicated to him becoming a father. “I’ll never forget the thoughtful sentiment and surprise of walking into that room,” he says. A father’s shower that celebrates a second or third child takes some of the pressure off family members and friends who are wondering what gift to give the new baby or parents.

5. Sporty or spice.

If the dad is a sports fanatic, team apparel, logo merchandise and pint-sized athletic gear are fun gifts. Most professional and semi-professional teams offer infant- and toddler-sized items that are often available online for easy shopping. A handyman will get a kick out of receiving a tiny tool belt and work boots. Whether the dad is a golfer, pilot or Daytona enthusiast, apparel, merchandise or even a certificate for tickets to an event also make terrific gifts.

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