There are a lot of babies being born in my extended circle of friends and as a result, a lot of baby showers to attend. After spending time at a few that offered various levels of gifting for parents-to-be, Kay and I realized that the small gifts that came with stories were much more interesting than bigger ticket items devoid of anything special.
When Heather, Judith, and Leslie offered to throw us a baby shower in San Francisco this past weekend, we skipped the obvious idea of having everyone buy stuff off a wishlist and instead we asked for something small and simple: bring your absolute favorite book you owned as a child.
They are a creative bunch of friends and we knew they had a diverse set of influences growing up, so our hope was to share some small aspect of that with our daughter. The idea was a success as we now have a library of over 30 books (only a quarter of which I've ever read/seen/heard of), with only a couple duplicates, and the books cover the gamut from mostly pictures to dense text and should grow right along with our baby.
We didn't force everyone to tell us why they picked the titles they did, but we learned quite a bit about our friends through their choices. Everyone shared what they most remembered about their book and more than one book triggered memories in others. Overall, the combination of books, friends, and stories made for a small afternoon party I won't soon forget.