Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Quest for the Perfect Gift

     I wandered through the baby aisles of my favorite department stores, distracted by tiny sleepers, nifty gadgets, and a huge wall of diapering products.  In my first attempt to buy a baby gift I'll admit I was totally overwhelmed by all the cuteness!  My first thought was to be sensible and buy some diapers, but the vast array of brands and sizes was enough to give in to my urges to buy an adorable little sleeper instead.  For future gifts I learned to seek out the registries first, and as I became a mother myself I got an even better idea of the most usable and precious gifts.  
     Here are two lists, one with more practical useful gifts and the other with some more creative ideas:

Practical, I think so!
1. Diapers 
  (Both cloth and disposable options usually list the appropriate weight ranges for the diaper, and you can check out reviews to discover the most popular brands.)
2. Wipes/Wipes Solution
(Again, check the reviews if you're unsure about which brand to buy.)
3. Baby Wash/Lotion/Washcloths/Towels
(Every baby needs to be clean, right?  And these are items that a Mommy could use two of if she receives duplicates.)
4. Bibs & Blankets
(Almost enough said...I will say extra large receiving blankets are nicer for swaddling larger babies.  Our terrycloth personalized bib is being modeled below by last year's photo contest winner!)
5. Any unfulfilled item off Mommy's registry
(If the Mommy has a specific list of items she needs, she will most likely have created a registry from which you can choose items she will use.  Be sure to have the clerk mark the item as "fulfilled" on her registry when you buy it!)
6. Books/Baby Toys
(As far as I'm concerned, a child can NEVER have enough books and could also use a few fun toys!  Our Melissa & Doug ring stacker is pictured below.)
7. Gift Cards
(These can be used as the need arises, which can be very helpful.)

More on the Creative Side:
1. A Medical Kit
(Not many new parents think about buying infant medicines until their baby is already sick or fussy.  Getting a bottle of Infant Tylenol, a thermometer, saline nasal spray, a "nose-picker" bulb, and gas drops would be a great starter to their medicine cabinet.)
2. Baby/Toddler Music CDs
3. A "Date Night" kit 
(Frazzled new parents can always use a baby-sitting coupon, movie tickets, and a gift card to have a nice meal out.)
4. What About Dad?
(Most gifts are intended for baby or sometimes Mommy, but a thoughtful gift for Dad is also always welcome.)
5. Meals On Wheels
(You and a few friends could coordinate a schedule and bring a meal to the house once a day for the first week or two after the baby arrives.  This was done for my family after our first child, and I REALLY appreciated the good meals with no effort on my part to cook them.)
6. A Pre-made Scrapbook
(Busy moms don't have much time to put all the photos they take into a scrapbook.  Some time for them is definitely saved if they get a gift of a scrapbook with pre-designed pages.  The idea is that they can just stick the pictures into a pre-made template.  Pre-made pages could include the first birthday, first Christmas, baptism, etc.) f
7. Gift Set with a theme
(We carry Baby Aspen gift sets that are cute, creative, and functional.  "Five Little Monkeys" is pictured to the right.)

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