Covid-19 has really brought to light how much we take life for granted. Who would have thought that a virus could turn the world up-side-down and change the way we act, think and interact with others because it could literally kill us. Normal things like working, going for groceries, attending school, meeting with family and how you greet people has become a big deal. Celebrating life’s big moments has also become a challenge. It gives me hope when I hear about people who are rising to the challenges while staying safe and practicing proper protocols as we ride out this virus. Life isn’t going to stop because of a virus, so we have to adapt and change how we do things while keeping ourselves and the people around us safe and healthy. This too shall pass as we count our blessings and continue on as best we can.
2020 has been filled with both blessings and challenges for my immediate family. Another grandchild was born at the beginning of January just as we were hearing about the virus. I feel extremely blessed that I was able to be part of a bubble that initially quarantined with my husband, daughter, son-in-law and their two baby girls. Spending quality time with the girls has been priceless, particularly since my daughter is a respiratory nurse in a hospital. (She will be working on the respiratory floor with covid patients when she goes back to work after her maternity leave.) The challenge was missing my other children and grandchildren who weren’t in our bubble. Once restrictions lifted and we were able to see family and friends within the safety parameters set out by our government, it emphasized how much we really take for granted…. things like a smile, a hug, etc!
But I digress……one of the blessings to come out of all this is that my youngest daughter, Ashley (Daughter Dearest) became pregnant after a mentally exhaustive fertility struggle. Since her first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, this miracle was especially scary since it was happening during a pandemic. So many unknowns. Fortunately, the pregnancy has gone well and the baby is due at any time now. Unfortunately, celebrating glad tidings like babies, weddings, birthdays, etc. has become a big challenge with Covid-19 lurking in the background. I’ve read many inspiring stories on how people’s imaginations and ingenuity have risen to the challenges presented and how they planned responsible events that follow all the rules. But I’ve also seen the stories where many such events have become super spreaders with no regard to the people attending or who they then are in contact with afterwards like vulnerable family, friends and co-workers. So the question becomes: How do you pull off a celebration for a young mum having her first baby and still keep everyone safe?
Well, we found it can be done.
USE TECHNOLOGY – Have a Virtual Party!
Technology is a wonderful tool to stay connected in a Covid world. Ashley and Thierry have lots of out of town family and friends. They were able to have a virtual “shower” to share their joy and connect with people they can’t see in person. Using apps like Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp are great ways to keep in touch with friends and family and have a virtual “party” with multiple people safely in their own homes.
IN PERSON GATHERING
These types of celebrations are a bit tricky but can be done if everyone that attends is of the same mindset. However, keep in mind that:
- Some invitees may be incomfortable attending a function with people outside of their social bubble
- Some invitees may be in the age bracket that could be immune compromised
- Some invitees may be immune compromised or live with someone who is immune compromised
- Some invitees may have been in contact with someone infected with Covid and are self isolating
- Some invitees just don’t want to attend any funtion until Covid is over
For Ashley’s shower, the planning was done with all the above in mind and with the resolve to make a lovely celebration with all the precautions necessary to keep both the hosstess, her home and the invitees as safe as possible. As it turned out, about half of those who were invited sent their regrets, so the number of people who did attend was small, but resulted in a more intimate gathering. In the end, it was perfect!
- Invitations: Fortunately we live in a world where we have many ways to communicate that are paperless and therefore free of covid. Invitations were sent as a PDF file attached to an email. There are other ways to send paperless invitations including E-Invites, Event Websites, Facebook,etc.
- Setting: This shower was slated to be a backyard event. Our fingers were crossed because it was supposed to rain, but sun came out, the temperature was comfortable and everyone was able to socially distance.
- Covid Protocols: Masks were made available and everyone was socially distanced as required.
- Premise: The gathering was planned more as an “Open House” where people could visit with Ashley since many have not seen her pregnant yet. Therefore, there were no games so there would be no need to touch papers or pens or get too close. People knew each others and enjoyed socializing so games weren’t necessary. In the end, the best entertainment was watching Ashley opening her gifts.
- Food: The hostess planned this perfectly so there would be no cross-contamination, double-dipping, touching, etc.
- What she did was prepare separate charcuterie boards for each invitee and serve them once they arrived. They were absolutely lovely and very tasty. As an added bonus, since there were no games, everyone was told to take their boards home with them, basically “Take your dishes home with you!” 🙂 Brilliant! Less clean up in the end as well.
- Instead of a big cake, I made special cupcakes, similar to what I made for Ashley’s wedding, but chocolate instead. To make them covid-friendly, I packaged each one individually in pretty pink cups, put them in cellophane bags and finished with pretty pink ribbons. People took these home as well.
- For added choice, the hostess also made lemon and banana cake and packaged individual pieces for consumption at the party and to take home.
- Gifts: There are lots of ways to give gifts to young couples expecting a baby. Most couples sign up for baby registries online at stores like BabysRus or Amazon. The advantage to buying online is if you aren’t attending the shower, you can always have the gift delivered directly to the expectant parents. However, if you are attending, either check the registries, ask the mama-to-be directly, or wing it. When in doubt, buy diapers, which are always appreciated!
TAKE AWAYS & TIPS:
- Be specific on the invitations so people know what to expect. For example: Masks will be available, or bring your own. We will be practicing social distancing. This is an outdoor event. etc.
- Provide information to find baby registry.
- Smaller numbers makes for a more intimate event and is easier to practise social distancing.
- Giving guests something lovely to take home is a nice way to thank them for coming and for their gift.
- Don’t be insulted if people don’t come. They have their reasons.
- Enjoy the gathering. Covid doesn’t mean that life stops. It’s just another challenge and a new way of doing things!
So if you decide to plan an event, know that it can be done, but be smart about it.
**Update: Ashley gave birth to her little girl on September 24th. Parents and baby doing great!!
***In some jurisdictions, there may be restrictions on how many people are allowed to gather both inside and in outside locations. Be sure to check what the limitations are in your area. We were fortunate that we were within the guidelines set out by our government. However, a week later, the rules have changed and the numbers allowed has been increased due to an upsurge in new Covid cases.
Stay safe everyone!!
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