Having a Baby Shower in Norway
Organizing a baby shower can be overwhelming, especially if you are pregnant and need to do everything by yourself. Of course, ideally, you would have a close friend, sister or mother that would take on this task, but if you live in Norway (or any other country for that matter), and you do not have your family here with you, then things could get a little bit more challenging. Making things worse is that, if you work in a male dominated environment, it is even more difficult to develop close relationships with female friends, who would more likely be interested in organizing an event like this.
That means you have two options at this point: either you give up the whole idea, or you do everything by yourself. Now, if you chose the latter option, here is a list of the things you need to keep in mind when you start organizing the party.
Decide on a budget
This step is very important since all the other decisions will be based on the budget you set from the beginning. It is smart to decide on a budget beforehand, because it is very easy to get lost with all the expenses, and end up paying more than you were initially willing to do.
Make a list of your guests
Once the budget is set, before properly I start organizing an event, I like to make a list of people that I would like to invite, and then get on with the rest of the things that I need to organize. For me, personally, it is easier to organize an event around the people that I would like to invite, rather than trying to get a list of people that would fit to the event I have already planned. Some people prefer to do it the other way around. It all comes down to what is more important for that specific event: the particular crowd you hope to have there, or the event itself. Both are reasonable choices to make.
Baby showers are traditionally focused towards female friends, but in Norway, it is common to invite their partners and/or children. If you are an expat in Norway, and do not have too many close friends, inviting male friends and children might be a good idea. I would suggest not inviting people from work, unless you have already built a strong relationship with them, and have had other meetings with them outside the office. A baby shower is not normally an opportunity to create new relationships, but an occasion to share the joy of the new coming baby with your close friends and family.
Decide where the baby shower party will take place
Next step would be to decide whether to have the party, at your place or to rent a locale. That decision depends a lot on the budget allocated for the baby shower. It is very common to organize the baby shower at home. So if you want to save some money, this would be a great solution. However, if you have a little more money to spend, and your guests list is not too long, you could always rent a “hytta” within 30 minutes to an hour of driving from your home. That would allow your guests to sleep over night. Hyttas (small cabins) are “the thing” in Norway. Many Norwegians like to get away at the end of the week to a cabin, and have a relaxed weekend in nature. This could be an interesting idea, and for sure, innovative, as I doubt there are many, especially foreigners, who organize a baby shower at a hytta J
Decide on a theme
Deciding on a theme that is entertaining for both the future parents and the people invited to the baby shower, might be quite tricky. Pinterest is full of ideas though. You just need to find a theme that you like, and that would not be too difficult, and too costly to achieve. Here are some questions that you need to answer for yourself, in the process of deciding on a theme:
- Am I crafty enough to do all the arrangements by myself, or do I need help?
- If I need help, do I spend money on professionals or ask friends to help me?
- Are the ornaments (pynt in Norwegian) available to me?
As many of you already know, Norway does not have too many options when it comes to shopping of any kind, so you might need to order on line from shops outside of Norway some of the fancier ornaments. Places like ebay, amazon, or wish are the first you should check. That also means, you need to plan everything and order at least 6 weeks in advance to be sure to have everything shipped to you before the big day.
- Will children participate too? – you would need to come up with a child-friendly theme. By child-friendly I mean child-entertaining J , as one of the worst things you could have at a party is a bunch of bored children – and no one wants that!
Decide on the type of food and beverages you will serve
Here are some questions that you need to answer for yourself:
- Am I going to cook, ask a friend to do so, or hire professionals?
Cooking for a big party could be overwhelming, and it takes strict planning and a lot of your time. If you are lucky enough to have a friend that could do that for you, go for it. You will be busy enough getting ready all the other details. If not, catering is another good option. Make a list with the catering options you have around you and pick one that you like.
- Should I cook Norwegian, Mexican, Asian or something else?
The type of food you are going to prepare can be correlated with the theme of the party, as well as with the time of the year. You can always go for something from your own country. Also, you could consider finger food, as it is easier to arrange for (especially if you don’t have enough space at the dining table), and easier to clean up afterwards. If you invite children to the baby shower, there should be children-friendly food, that is easier to grab and eat without creating too much of a mess.
- What food restrictions do my guests have, if any?
- What beverages should I serve?
Pay attention to the fact that Norwegian usually do not serve alcohol at parties (normally people have to bring their own alcoholic beverage to a party). The reason for this is that alcohol is very expensive in Norway. Also, for baby showers, it is not very common to have alcohol, considering the fact that children will be present, and the fact that the mother-to-be is not drinking either. However, if it is an all adult only party, it would be fancy to have some cocktails, or wine.
Regarding non-alcoholic drinks, homemade lemonade, “saft”, or tea are always good choices. I am not a big fan of soda, but that would do well as well.
- What should I have for dessert?
I always like to have available a chocolate-based dessert and a fruit/cream based dessert, to be safe that I cover most of the dessert pallets. As someone who is not too big of a fan of chocolate desserts, I always feel left out if there is no other option for me to choose from.
Decide WHEN to have a baby shower
Timing is important. A too early baby shower, would have the disadvantage of perhaps not knowing the gender of the baby, and a too late baby shower … well, might happen in the presence of the baby already. Six weeks before the due date is a normal expectation for a baby shower. Some people do it earlier and some later. From my two pregnancy experiences, I would do it rather earlier, than later, as in the last weeks of the pregnancy, I was not in the mood for parties, nor did I have the energy to entertain a bunch of people at the same time.
Baby shower gifts
This one is a little bit tricky. Do you create a registry, where people choose what they want to buy, based on the mother-to be needs, or do you coordinate all the guests to pull money together and buy something more expensive, but really useful? The latter applies if a friend, or family member organizes the party, otherwise it might be a little awkward. If you are searching for more baby shower gifts ideas, check out our others posts.
Organizing a baby shower is not an easy task. It takes a lot of planning, timing, decorating, cooking, and so on. Some people like to have something smaller, such as a quiet evening, where they just invite friends over for a nicer and fancier dinner, without calling it a baby shower. That is ok too. It takes away some of the baby shower party pressure. And, it works out perfectly if you do not have your family over, or too many friends, as you can still do something meaningful, and share the joy of becoming a parent with someone.
Please leave us a comment if you have any tips, ideas or questions regarding the organization of a baby shower, or if you just want to share your experience with us.