Before you gift a Baby

After having two kids (one fairly recently) and being part of a big family and having a good number of friends (sounds a bit conceited here I know); we have had our fair share of great useful gifts and some not so useful ones. Cash is king, but if you want to send an actual gift item instead of the mindless, but oh so useful, cash or gift cards (Costco membership for a year might be a nice alternative) here are some tips.

  1. Consider sharing gift costs with a group to get big-ticket items such as strollers, car seats, baby cots (they may have already purchased some of these if you are a bit late in the gift-giving period – or baby bath basin, which is almost always an afterthought.
  2. Pooling in money for actual baby furniture. This however is a difficult undertaking, you’ll have to make sure its furniture that matches the theme the parents are going for and the size fits in, this is actually a very impractical, albeit well intentioned, gift idea. If you’re close enough, an option is to tell them you intend to get this item and ask them for their preference (this may affect your budget however). Alternatively a baby gym or a travel cot are always useful (make sure they don’t already have one)
  3. If you’re going to get clothes invest in day to day stuff not the high end impractical clothing that inevitably gets pooped on after one or two wears, and almost always seems uncomfortable for the actual baby in the name of fashion and looks. Also, if you’re going to get clothes either get for newborns or after the 2 year mark. Most people get 0 months to 2 years and beyond or before that is always forgotten.
  4. If the baby has siblings (especially if it’s only one or two) make sure you get them something symbolic as well like a book, small toys, or stationary. It’ll make a world of difference to them for a long time.
  5. Avoid kitchen appliances or cutlery (you’ll end up getting over priced ones to compensate for the fact that the parents can get them for dirt cheap).
  6. Instead think about getting things that aren’t usually thought of but very useful, stroller rain or wind guards, stroller hooks for bags, head pillows for car seats or strollers, bathtub toys (avoid stuffed tows for newborns, they won’t enjoy them and they’ll just be drool magnets), teethers or gum massagers.
  7. Bedding and crib bumpers are always welcome, they get dirty and need washing and the more you have the less laundry frequency the parents will end up doing – although you don’t want to have more than three sets max.
  8. If you’re on a very tight budget consider offering services as gifts, cooking a day a week, or helping with the laundry once a week, or babysitting the siblings a couple of hours a week for at least the first couple of months. Those are much more valuable than gifts, they may sound cheesy but that is a true fact!
  9. Jewellery is option, especially earring that can be worn by the mother until the baby is old enough.
  10. Always include a gift receipt, almost guaranteed that 20% of the gifts they, they already have (at a minimum) – we had four musical baby soothers. They will appreciate the option of getting something more useful instead.

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