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The Office Baby Shower: A Celebration All Coworkers Can Enjoy

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Co-ed baby showers have become increasingly common. Unlike the girls-only parties of earlier generations, men are welcome. The themes and decorations aren't quite as frilly and the food is more likely to be barbecue than finger sandwiches, but the focus is still on the joy of a new addition to a family. If you're throwing a baby shower at the office, the co-ed trend is a welcome upgrade that is inclusive – and usually more fun than most mandated team building exercises. Over a quarter million women take maternity leave per month in the U.S., so there's a good chance you will have an opportunity before long to organize or participate in a co-ed baby shower with your colleagues.

Some details about the celebration will be covered by company policy, such as whether the party can be held during lunch break, after work but still on the premises, or whether it's best to simply invite coworkers to an off-site location for the get-together. But you and your fellow workers get to do all the fun parts, from picking a theme to choosing food to coordinating gifts. The top priority is a happy, comfortable event for the mom-to-be. Your second priority is making sure the guests enjoy themselves, including any of the men who may still think of baby showers as the domain of women.

The theme you choose can go a long way to creating a festive, inclusive environment. Consider these trendy settings that everyone can participate in and enjoy.

Tropical Theme

  • Decorations can be as simple as inflatable palm trees, paper flower garlands and multicolor plastic dishes. Add tropical flower arrangements for a more upscale look.
  • Food may be a straightforward pizza lunch, including several Hawaiian pizzas with pineapple to keep with the theme. Fruit salad and coconut or pineapple upside-down cake add a sweet finishing touch.
  • Gifts with a topical theme are encouraged, but it's just as appropriate for novice baby-shower gift-givers to bring practical items such as diapers, blankets and towels.

Nautical Theme

  • Decorations in classic navy blue and white colors with gold accents set the tone for this theme. This type of décor is particularly appropriate is the mom-to-be is expecting a little boy.
  • Food offerings may include hearty submarine sandwiches and deviled eggs transformed into sailboats with the addition of peppers cut into the triangular shape of sails. Cupcakes decorated with ship's wheels and cookies in the shape of anchors round out the marine look with sweet flavors.
  • Gifts such as nautical baby boy clothes, boat-shaped bath toys, and adorable stuffed whales and fish toys may be suggested to keep the maritime party spirit going.

Zoo Animal Theme

  • Decorations include colorful streamers and table toppers with tigers, lions, zebras, elephants and monkeys. Rent a popcorn machine or a cotton candy maker for an extra fun flair of authenticity.
  • Food can be a full barbecue service with hamburgers and hot dogs, or keep things simple with trays of bread, meat, cheese and condiments for guests to build their own sandwiches.
  • Gifts with zoo animals are among the easiest to bring. Even those who may not be used to participating in a baby shower can find baby pajamas, linens and toys with cute, classical zoo figures on them.

Invite a male co-worker, or two, to co-host the party with you so that all attendees are set at ease from the moment they arrive. You may also recruit your co-hosts to come up with a party game or two that will include everyone, not just those who have experience attending traditional baby showers. With full participation, the mom-to-be can rest assured she's got full support for this new stage of her life as she goes on maternity leave and welcomes a new member to her family.