Handing out and lighting up cigars at the birth of a baby has been a long-standing tradition in the United States.
But, as smoking has become less popular, and certainly isn’t allowed at hospitals anymore, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to hand out cigars that will never be smoked.
If you’d like to celebrate the birth of your baby in style, but aren’t interested in lighting up yourself, here are some of the best cigar alternatives for a new baby:
- Mini champagne bottles
- Personalized candies
- Candy cigars
- Bottle openers
- Hand sanitizer
- Baseball cards
- Bottles of beer
Let’s take a closer look at the cigar tradition and some fun ideas to replace it.
Why do dads smoke cigars when a baby is born?
The tradition of handing out cigars comes from Native Americans who would exchange gifts to celebrate special occasions. Those gifts were very often early versions of what we now call a cigar.
The tradition continued to evolve and in the 17th and 18th centuries, when men were excluded from the birthing process, they would often smoke cigars together while they waited for the baby to be born.
Fathers weren’t generally allowed in the delivery room until the 1960s and 70s.
Cigar companies capitalized on this tradition by releasing ‘birth announcement cigars’ which had pink or blue stickers on them, declaring the gender of the baby.
Birth celebration cigars were even available to buy in hospital gift shops!
Once fathers were allowed in the delivery room, new dads moved on to handing out baby announcement cigars in the days and weeks after the birth – to family, friends and co-workers who came to see the baby.
Handing out favors to your baby’s first visitors is a lovely gesture.
But, they don’t need to be cigars.
Here are some of the best best alternative birth announcement favors.
1. Mini Champagne bottles
Just like cigars, Champagne is traditionally used to celebrate special occasions.
Dads could toast the new baby by handing out mini bottles of Champagne – either real Champagne or novelty bottles of sparkling wine with pink or blue labels on.
If you’re bold, you may be able to sneak a few of these into the hospital for a low-key celebration with momma.
If not, hand them out to friends and family as they come to visit the baby after you’ve returned home.
2. Personalized candies
Candy is a much more child-friendly baby celebration gift and it can be enjoyed by almost everyone.
You can buy chocolate bars with personalized labels that include the baby’s name, weight and a photo of your new bundle of joy.
Customize anything from chocolate bars to M&Ms and create a fun (and delicious) favor for anyone who wants to celebrate baby.
3. Candy cigars
If you like the idea of the cigar tradition but want something that tastes a little sweeter, then you can buy boxes of birth announcement candy cigars.
The same size and shape as real cigars, these candies are usually made from chocolate or bubble gum.
You can bring these to the hospital to enjoy with visitors or save them ’til you’re home.
They’re a blast either way! And a fun call back to the original tradition.
Baseball fans will love these cute baseball birth announcement keepsakes that say ‘BOY!’ or ‘GIRL’ with a space to add the baby’s name.
If baseball’s not your thing, you can also get footballs, tennis balls and golf balls.
Adorable and practical!
Birth announcement pens come in pink or blue and are engraved with ‘IT’S A GIRL’ or ‘IT’S A BOY’.
You can get them personalized with the baby’s name to make a cute and practical keepsake.
These are also great for baby shower handouts.
6. Bottle openers
In the shape of a baby bottle and engraved with the slogan ‘popping bottles’, a bottle opener makes a fun and practical gift to celebrate the birth of a baby.
If you want to celebrate the birth with a cold beer, then these are certainly useful to have around!
7. Hand sanitizer
Very relevant for 2020 (and beyond), you can buy mini bottles of hand sanitizer with labels that say ‘welcomed to the world during a pandemic’.
An extremely practical gift, these are also a great way of politely asking your guests to sanitize their hands before touching your newborn baby!
(A good general practice in any year.)
Engraved with the baby’s name, date of birth, weight and length, a personalized metal keychain will make a touching keepsake that family members can carry with them wherever they go.
You won’t be able to bring this one to the hospital since you’ll need to send off the birth stats to get them printed up.
But keychains are a great favor for anyone who swings by to see baby in the first couple of weeks at home.
9. Baseball cards
One of my personal favorites!
Custom-made personalized baseball cards are a cool way to announce a new baby.
With a photo of the little “rookie” and his or her vital stats, these are good if you’d like something to mail to relatives who don’t live nearby.
10. Bottles of beer
What better way for a new dad to celebrate becoming a father than to enjoy an ice cold beer with his friends?
You can get pink or blue beer bottle labels and a ‘special delivery’ beer carrier to help you toast the moment with your favorite beer.
If that all sounds like too much work, just grab a 6 pack of your usual favorite.
Usually, new parents can get away with bringing champagne or beer to the hospital for a celebratory drink with each other or with visiting family.
However, your hospital may not allow it — and it may be better to ask for forgiveness instead of permission!
Things to consider when choosing new baby favors
The tradition of handing out cigars was very much a male one — it was always the new dad who would buy the cigars to give to his buddies.
By that same token, perhaps it should be the dad who takes care of the birth announcement favors.
After all, the mom will surely have enough on her hands in preparing for the birth and buying everything else on the newborn shopping list!
Whoever chooses and buys the favors, this is definitely something that you’ll want to plan way ahead of time.
If you leave it until after the birth to start thinking about gifts for your friends and family, you’ll find yourself buried under a pile of dirty diapers before you have a chance to open up Amazon.
Some of these baby announcement gifts require personalization with the baby’s birth date, weight and a photo.
For those ones, you’ll have to wait until after the birth to order them. But, it’s a good idea to plan exactly what you want to buy ahead of time so that you can just enter the details and hit ‘send’ after the baby arrives.
For anything that doesn’t require personalization, you should pack them in dad’s hospital bag, so that they’re ready to hand out to the baby’s very first visitors in the hospital.
Some parents feel the tradition of handing out cigars to celebrate the birth of a child doesn’t really fit in with modern times.
(Though you’re certainly free to smoke ’em once you get home.)
However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to celebrate or hand out any favors at all!
You can choose an alternative to cigars that everyone will love like beer, Champagne or candy. These are great to bring to the hospital to mark the occasion.
Or instead, you could opt for personalized keepsakes that are sure to melt the hearts of your nearest and dearest.
Did you bring champagne, beer, or novelty cigars to the hospital? What are your favorite newborn favors to hand out to family?
Hope this helps!