The gift I give at baby showers is home made receiving blankets. The moms just nod and say thanks at first, but a couple of months down the road they are very grateful, raving about them. In case you haven't noticed in the stores most commercial receiving blankets are small rectangles of cloth... 30'x36' or 36'x40'. These are usually 100% cotton and shrink up so that they are much smaller and often no longer rectangular. They make swaddling difficult, are thin, and get ratty looking very fast. Instead, I buy 100% cotton flannel and make square receiving blankets. (2 pieces of flannel sewn right sides together, then turned right sides out, and sew around the edge with a blanket stitch to finish. I usually pick one print for the top and then a solid in a complementary color for the back.)
The first ones that I made were 36'x36' but as I started making more I began making them about 40'x40' (have them cut 1 1/4 yds of each fabric to do this) just to waste less fabric. These swaddle a little more bulky, but most parents I know give up on swaddling after the first two weeks... and use receiving blankets as regular blankets after that anyway. Because they are double thick flannel they are quite warm, and are good for use in the winter months.
Baby shower gift that I loved were the little mirrors that hook onto the rear-view mirror in the car so I can see my kid in the back seat without turning around. My kid is 9 now, and I still use it! I've seen them at various baby stores, usually with the childproofing things.
Someone gave us a lovely picture frame with our baby's name engraved on it, which we really liked. They are easy to get at Things Remembered (in malls all over the bay area), there are many styles to choose from, and they are not expensive.
Quilts are always memorable gifts, but there is a catalog called "Exposures" which not only does a quilt, but it puts
your pictures that you give them on the quilt (as sepias or black/whites). I always thought it would be cool to do a "family tree" quilt and put a picture of the parents as kids/babies, and then their parents.
A really special and unique baby gift is a DREAM CATCHER. A Dream Catcher as I understand it was designed years ago by the Native Americans and come in many sizes shape and colors. They are a type of hanging mobile that you hang on or over the baby's crib or in their room not just for the baby to look at but legend has it that it catches all the baby's bad dreams so that they will never have a bad dream or nightmare. They have always been received extremely well by mothers when I have given them.
Someone had a horoscope chart done for my son. It was pretty cool to read about how he would turn out (at least according to the stars!) Of course, this is a pretty expensive gift, especially if you have limited belief in astrology.
One of my favorite shower baby gifts is a music box. The music box that I was given as a baby played the theme from "Romeo and Juliet" and to this day whenever I hear that song I think of my music box. My Aunt and Uncle gave me my music box when I was born, and in turn we gave my their daughter a music box when she was born. I had comptetely forgotten about the music boxes until I opened the gift from my aunt for my baby. It is so nice to think that he will have a special connection to a song (His plays "Zipity Do Dah").
I was given a memory box on the occasion of my gift baby's shower and have really appreciated it.
I don't know where it came from, but it's basically like a cigar box decorated with antique-y Winnie the Pooh figures on it, and entitled "a box to put thing in." It's nice because it can accommodate things other than papers (like the hospital bracelets, etc) and you can use it in about one second--just open the lid and drop the item in--no need to wait for time enough to write/glue/label etc. as you would with a regular scrapbook.
Another useful item is onesie type undershirts, and I think that was because the baby was born a winter baby. You'll need a
bunch, if you do use them, because they get soiled almost as often as the diaper covers, but it does cut down on changing the outer clothing. I didn't like the regular undershirts nearly as well- always bunching up and exposing tummies. You might want some booties or socks if you have non-footed garments. Oh, and rubber coated lap pads were very useful (especially with boys, since they have a tendency to wet everything in sight while being changed!).