Shakira's throwing an online baby shower! No, this isn't a naked gift-grab from the super-succesful Columbian singer (though we do appreciate the shirtless photo of her baby daddy, Spanish soccer star Gerard Piqué - let's call it a virtual party favor).
Shakira's online baby shower is for a good cause, UNICEF: Sign in to her virtual baby shower, and you can buy things like oral rehydration salts ($50), polio vaccines ($10) and malaria nets ($5) that can save the lives of children in poverty.
Good for Shakira and Gerard! Guess they really don't need anyone to buy them a Diaper Genie. While Shakira's online shower is a charitable affair, more and more regular women are hosting their baby showers online for real, silly party games and all.
You may not be able to get all of your girlfriends in the same living room for an afternoon of cake and present opening, but maybe you can get them all in the same online chat room. Sometimes the cake is edible, sometimes it’s just a picture of a cake posted on a blog, but the love for the expectant mommy and her bundle of joy are the same. As Adriana Velez at The Stir notes, more people are turning to Skype and iChat to shower friends and family with love and gifts than ever before.
Online showers take a variety of forms. For some, it means hosting two simultaneous, traditional showers and then connecting them by webcam. So, while guests sip punch in Michigan, they watch the mother-to-be open gifts in California.
Others turn to Facebook. One couple organized their shower on Facebook, posting trivia questions for friends and family in the days leading up to the party. Then, on the designated day, everyone hopped onto Google+ Hangouts for a webcam-connected get-together.
Games are a baby shower mainstay and online showers are no different – except you won’t be forced to inspect chocolate bars melted into diapers or taste baby food (hooray!). Some hostesses will ask guests trivia questions during the event, others set up online games for everyone to play together. And, for those popular word games like jumbles and word matching games, you could always email the document to everyone at the same time during the event.
In order to shower expectant moms with gifts, guests simply order online ahead of time, having the presents shipped to a designated locale in time for the party. Then, as at any shower, you get to coo over those tiny little outfits as the mom-to-be opens them.
For those who aren’t able to video chat with guests, Webbabyshower.com recommends setting up a free blog for the event. Then, the mom and the hostess can upload pictures, video and commentary about the shower for people to read and enjoy. You can even do it in real time, with guests commenting along the way.
DivineCaroline, which has a number of ideas and recommendations for hosting a virtual shower, also touts the low-stress benefit of hosting a virtual shower. She doesn’t say it, but we will – if you’re hosting an online shower, you don’t have to clean the whole house beforehand.
Have you ever attended an online shower?
Dana Macario is a Seattle-area mom who loves hosting (and attending) baby showers, though she has never attempted a virtual one before.