Is “gender-neutral” just another parenting trend? We hope not. With increased awareness of and sensitivity to gender issues in the media and our own lives, more parents seem to be getting on board with the idea.
In January 2018, Washington became the third state to adopt a gender-neutral option “X,” which refers to all genders outside the male-female binary. Research conducted by the University of Washington as part of the university’s TransYouth Project reports that children as young as 3 who identify as trans, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming show they not only know and self-identify with their gender, they do so just as strongly as their cisgender peers. Recognizing this matters because research indicates risk factors for misgendering gender-variant youths include the highest rates of suicide, depression and self-harm.
Creating a safe and accepting environment and a supported social transition, and using preferred pronouns and chosen names, cuts some of these dire statistics in half. If the goal is to create thriving, happy kids, no matter how they identify, parents planning gender-neutral baby showers are on the right track from the get-go.
Whether your reason for planning a gender-neutral baby shower is simply that you’re waiting for the big surprise on delivery day, you’re averse to pink, or because you’ve made the decision to reject the gender binary until your child is old enough to tell you how they identify, a baby is something to celebrate! Here are seven of our favorite gender-neutral baby shower themes.
Sweet as can ‘bee’
Go for pastel yellow and white or get graphic with black and white stripes! Think sunflowers in Mason jars, fresh lemonade and lots of sweet treats, such as cupcakes frosted thematically in the shape of a hive or gorgeous bee-shaped cookies. Honey jars or sticks and Burt’s Bees lip balm (or make your own if that’s your thing) make the cutest favors. Invite guests to play trivia, seeing who can correctly guess the most answers to questions about the “Parents-to-Bee.”
Inspiration from a children’s book
For the literarily inclined, a shower inspired by a favorite children’s book is a smart and whimsical gender-neutral option. Encourage guests to help build baby’s library by including a book request with your invitation. Play book-themed emoji Pictionary or a matching game with the titles of popular books and a line or phrase from each of them. Decorate your party space with DIY book-page bunting or hang treasured books on twine to make the easiest garland ever. If you’re really going all out, get inspired to create book-cover cookies that are too cute for words.
The adventure of a lifetime
Parenthood is life’s biggest adventure! Celebrate the journey with a travel-themed baby shower. Entertain guests with a “Baby Around the World” shower game, have guests write messages to baby on an old globe (which makes for cute nursery décor later) and set out a Polaroid camera for “souvenir photos.” Serving culinary favorites from beloved travel destinations ensures there’s something for everyone; mini bruschetta from Italy, croissant sandwiches from France and tasty Mexican sopes are just a few options.
The perfect theme for those with an affinity for yard games and grilling, a “baby-Q” is about as laid back as it gets. Keep décor simple with red-and-white-checkered tablecloths and fresh flowers. Along with whatever you throw on the grill, serve corn on the cob and watermelon, and consider having a pie bar for dessert — or take the easy route and make the event a potluck! For a personal touch, send guests home with jars of homemade 15-minute barbecue sauce.
Welcome to the world, Little One!
Over the moon to welcome your little one to the world? Plan a solar-system-themed shower, complete with paper-lantern planets or garlands of planets, a stunning crescent moon cake, and bowls of Starburst candies and fun-size Milky Way bars. Here’s a fun way to engage guests: Set out a jar of M&Ms and three more jars labeled “Early,” “On Time” and “Late.” Then have everyone cast their vote for when the baby will be “arriving Earth-side.”
Watch me grow
Plants as décor are all the rage right now, and your botanical-themed baby shower will be, too! Decorate with lots of greenery, twine, and a garland with a chronology of baby and childhood pictures of each parent. (Make a game out of it by asking friends to guess the age at the time of each photo.) Offer guests a variety of fresh salads, with cutlery and cake displayed cleverly in or on terra-cotta pots. Wildflower seed packs or individual succulents make for thoughtful party favors that keep on growing.
B is for baby
Get creative with an alphabet-themed gender-neutral baby shower using classic wooden alphabet blocks, wood or cardboard craft letters and custom treat bags. The entertainment options for this theme are endless: Guests can leave their best parenting tips and advice in an “ABCs of Parenting” book, play baby word scramble or the ABC game, and help create baby’s first alphabet book. Serve literally any food you like, as long as each dish is accompanied by a label that reads, for example, “D Is for Doughnut” — and don’t forget to bake up a batch of alphabet cookies.