How things can change. This year the most parties I have attended have been somehow related to children: baby showers, baptisms and kids birthdays. I am by no way an expert on this theme, but after having assisted a few I have started to figure out how these parties function, at least here in Lima.
The market for all kind of fiestas infantiles,and showers (baby or bridal), is very much blooming here. Suffice to grab any magazine for parents and future parents, and you can find pages and pages of tips, recommendations and services. Baby showers are of course, one of the many traditions adopted from Gringolandia, but apart from being a lovely rite of passage to parenthood it serves a practical function. The future parents get as presents all or most of the necessary items for the baby, which will not only save money but also comes in handy as especially with the first child you don't always even imagine all the things you might need. Some people also organize a special "diaper shower" (fiesta de pañales) either before or after the birth of the child, where the guests only bring diapers as a present.
There are baby showers for all tastes, from large parties in hotels for smaller, intimate reunions with just the close family (which still can be quite large by European standards, as families are larger here and even extended family counts). But generally speaking the following things are essential:
1. Decoration: Something related to the baby theme, like cakes or cupcakes made of diapers, onesies, toys...Latinos like to be gender specific, so the color is usually chose by the sex of the baby. Pink for girls, blue for boys -of course!
Cupcakes have been fashionable already for a while, so cupcakes or minicupcakes with some kind of baby related frosting are a common option. Other small sweet bites may include chocolate truffles, alfajores, manás, all sorts of mini pies such as apple or lemon pies, mini cheesecakes, brownies and so on.
The savory bites may include small sandwiches, empanaditas, mini pizzas or mini quiches, mini hot dogs and so on -whatever people like. As the showers are often organized in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner, the idea is to serve something light, not a warm meal.
Practically all the bakeries and pastry shops in Lima sell these kind of snacks for parties, but there are also more and more catering enterprises that operate through a website, or more commonly, through Facebook. And if not, almost everybody seems to have an aunt or a cousin or a collegue who moonlights as a pastry chef.
4. Presents. Presents are the main activity of the baby showers. When it is time to open the presents, the confused father of the future baby also steps in -after all, the presents are for the whole family. As the presents are opened in the presence of everybody, there tends to be a bit of competition of who gives the cutest outfit or the most educative toy. Diapers are, of course, what most parents need and secretely hope, but a packet of diapers does not generate a similar chorus of "oh"s and "ah"s as a cute, handmade, marinera dance outfit.
Most of the mercados and piñaterias (party shops specialized on piñatas and other party details) sell the favors, or if you use an event planner they usually provide the favors as well.
In my baby shower (the one with the family) my pregnancy photo was framed and the guests could sign and write their greetings on it. Great souvenir that is now decorating in my daughter's room (she is still too small to protest...)