Merry Christmas, Baby
December 7, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

New nephew! Yay! But what to get him for Christmas?

He's the first baby in the family, so this first-time auntie and uncle are clueless as to what would be great presents for a six-month-old. Please, experienced givers-of-baby-gifts, share your wisdom!

- Have any gifts to your baby been especially big hits?

- Is there anything that you parents WISH someone had given them?

-Has anyone received anything when they were a baby, whether sentimental or practical, that they especially appreciate today?

-Or does anyone simply have a really good idea?

(I saw this earlier thread, but it's almost five years old, so new things might be all the rage and babyland these days.) The world's cutest little nephew thanks you in advance!
posted by bunji to Shopping (26 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My children each have a silver cup with their names and birthdates engraved on them. Although, that might be a bit more birthday focused. But they are wonderful - useful and something they'll keep forever.

I really like the stuff from Rosie Hippo - lots of natural type toys.

BUT, my favorite type of baby gift is a homemade hooded towel. Super easy (and that's coming from someone who is quite sewing and crafty challenged. My lack of skills is seriously ridiculous) and you can "personalize" it with sew on/iron on patches or sew on some initials. These hooded towels rock. They are big and will last them into toddler-hood and beyond (my 9 year old can still use it!).
posted by Sassyfras at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hey, your nephew and mine are the same age! I'll be watching this thread with interest.

Baby presents I've given that were big hits:

Peanut Shell baby sling
(the copy on the site is egregious, but apparently the slings themselves kick ass)

hand knit teddy bear--if you happen to knit, this is an easy pattern that knits up quickly; I used organic cotton yarn

I picked up one of these for his Christmas gift, so I hope it's a big hit:

leather baby bib
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:05 PM on December 7, 2009

Not really heirloomy, but at 6months ours love love loved her rainforest jumperoo. She still does, in fact. And her mom and dad love it, too, because, hey, that's a clear 20 minutes minimum all to ourselves.
posted by Bardolph at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2009

I think the folks in the previous thread were pretty on-target in saying that a six-month-old is likely to chew just about anything you give him! I like the idea of board books, though. While your nephew is a bit too young to appreciate even the pictures, before you know it, his parents will be reading to him. Good Night, Gorilla and Hug are a couple of my favorites.

Also, if you want to be a bit more forward-looking, my nephews really loved the Thomas the Tank Engine trains. They meet my requirements of not involving any flashing lights, noise-making contraptions, batteries, or electrical cords - they run purely on imagination, which I think makes for the best kinds of toys.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 2:10 PM on December 7, 2009

Popping back in to second Conrad Cornelius's book suggestion-- this is the right age for rag/cloth books, especially. The ones by Roger Priddy (Squishy Turtle, etc.) are deservedly popular.
posted by Bardolph at 2:16 PM on December 7, 2009

Yeah, rag, cloth or plastic books might be better than board, since the cardboard could get a bit soggy. :)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 2:17 PM on December 7, 2009

Savings Bond. Years from now they will know you cared about thier future.
posted by misspat at 2:37 PM on December 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

My standard baby/shower gift is a basket full of Children's classic books. Now, he may not use (chew on) them all right away, but eventually they will all be used and likely re-read over and over as he grows. Picking your childhood faves makes it even more meaningful.
posted by sarajane at 2:38 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

My standard gift for a new baby is something for the parents. Even simply a nice bottle of wine and some chocolates or maybe a pair of theatre tickets or 2 oneday spa passes.

The baby will get presents from all over (grandparents particularly) and will gurgle/puke no matter what arrives. So I think it's nice to give something to the parents and treat them like real normal people who are in need of some R&R.
posted by selton at 2:51 PM on December 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Seconding Bardolph's jumperoo idea - we have a six-month-old who's loving hers (she's had it for a couple months now and will still be able to use it for at least another few months). She loves the jumping, the sound effects can be turned on or off, it wears her out nicely, and it's a safe place to put her so that she can see what's going on and be part of the action when we need to be cooking or emptying the dishwasher or whatever. Baby loves the jumpy-jump.

Also agreeing with the chewing aspect. Our kid is currently just getting into her Alphablock Sorter set - cloth blocks she can chew, play with, throw, and knock down when Daddy stacks 'em. Some of the plastic things in the middle can be startling when she bonks herself in the head with them, but they're also fun to chew.

And we have some cloth books she also really digs.
posted by nickmark at 2:56 PM on December 7, 2009

Someone made a hooded towel for my son when he was about that age. It's a great gift -- very useful to have a hood on a small baby's towel, and now that he's 3, he l-o-o-o-oves it. And it's always especially nice to get something someone made.
posted by palliser at 3:22 PM on December 7, 2009

Response by poster: So many great ideas here. Thanks, this is a goldmine!

For mama and papa we're getting restaurant gift certificates, presumably with supplemental babysitting.
posted by bunji at 3:26 PM on December 7, 2009

I have to vote for silly baby hats. Babies have no sense of dignity so you can put a pumpkin or panda hat on them and they won't care. The parents/family will get some sweet photos out of it.
posted by Morrigan at 3:53 PM on December 7, 2009

I just gave someone a baby gym for their newborn (supposedly they're for 0-18months) and she was very excited. They're a little pricey but I got a great deal on Woot.
posted by radioamy at 3:56 PM on December 7, 2009

In terms of something that I still appreciate, someone painted a little wooden step-stool for me when I was little, with my name on it, and I used it forever. I think we still have it.
posted by radioamy at 3:58 PM on December 7, 2009

Bottle of quality single malt scotch to put aside until he's of legal drinking age.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:11 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know it's not much fun but the very best gifts that we've gotten for my now-3-year-old are from my brother. He writes checks to our son's college fund (529). Little babies outgrow toys and clothes so fast. I know that it's more fun to buy something cute and silly but holy smokes our house is full of plastic crap that our son has rarely been interested in, and I'm constantly giving away clothes that he's outgrown, sometimes before he even gets to wear them. The small gifts my brother makes to the college fund are the best possible presents. Normally I cringe at cash gifts - the few we got for our wedding made me very uncomfortable and I know I'm a minority on this - but I feel very differently about my kid's college fund.

Look - when your nephew is older you can have the fun of giving him a really great game or toy and watching his face light up, and you can play it with him and enjoy the experience. But now, at 6 months? He doesn't know and doesn't care.

Why not buy some small trinket for the party and then make a nice gift to his college fund? If he doesn't have one, you could, with the go-ahead from his parents, start one for him. It's really the most thoughtful thing and it will be remembered and appreciated long after the toys and clothes are gone. And when our child heads off to college he will for sure know that his Uncle David helped in a big way to make this possible.
posted by Kangaroo at 4:20 PM on December 7, 2009

Nthing some kind of investment. I would choose a stock---not because they make more money or help indoctrinate Young Capitalists but because they are interesting things to think about as you grow up.

When I was born, my maternal grandfather bought me a few shares of _____, a petroleum company that was assumed (mostly correctly) to be a relatively stable, slow-growing stock. The investment didn't amount to much then and wouldn't really amount to very much now.

Early on, my father tried to explain what those occasional official-looking letters in the mail with my name on them were all about. When he told me I owned a very small part of a company, I imagined a chair, a light fixture, something like that. Learning more about what that really meant was one of my first lessons in abstract ideas, and I remember being pretty amazed by it at the time.

As I grew, I learned a little bit more about stocks and public companies, and each time the annual report came in I'd ask questions about what various words meant---assets, liabilities, etc. It was instructive.

Later on I began to think more critically about the roles of companies like _____ in the environment, public welfare, and so on. I decided that I didn't really want to have much to do with _____, and so I sold the shares. It was an opportunity to literally put my money where my heart was; more generally, I think it made the issue of corporate responsibility seem more relevant and interesting to me---after all, I owned a very small part of a company.

All the while, whenever I thought about the stock, part of me would remember my grandfather, who I never really got to know (he died when I was 3). In any case, the real value of his stock gift came from the occasional dividends in food for thought over many years---well, that and the fact that it was an extremely grown-up thing that had to do with me, which I found terribly impressive as a small child.
posted by tss at 4:52 PM on December 7, 2009 [4 favorites]

tss made me cry a little. I like that idea.

If you want something more toy like, Tonka makes cars, trucks, and at least one airplane that are sort of soft. My son got some of these at that age and he really loved them. They are super durable so he can chew on them now, and push them around in a few months.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:53 PM on December 7, 2009

I like the idea of giving timeless books for when he's older--inscribe a note on the inside cover about his first Christmas so he knows its origin.

I'm giving the little girl I nanny for a "starter library" full of books with strong female characters: Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess, Coraline, Paperbag Princess, Madeline, etc. Each book is dated and inscribed for the events--her first birthday, her first Christmas, her second Christmas and so on.

Other books I'm giving her that are more gender-neutral (not that a boy wouldn't necessarily enjoy the others!):

My Father's Dragon
The Rats of NIMH
Huck Finn
The Story of Ferdinand
The Snowy Day
The Giving Tree
posted by zoomorphic at 6:10 PM on December 7, 2009

My brothers and I came up with one definite rule. No batteries in any gift. Any baby toy that requires batteries will be loud and annoying after it is played 1,247 times. A day.

We were able to afford the everyday items so we appreciated the ones that were more sentimental, helped us, or for down the line. Local friends who offered to babysit while we had an adult dinner were our heroes. My brother gave us a complete set of the Great BRain books which we all loved growing up but were not age appropriate until about 8 years later. We planted trees when each was born that we have been able to watch grow while the kids did too. My kids love their trees. The boys even pee on each other's trees. (They are 13 and 14 so...)

Another idea is to buy their name domain name. So if your nephew is is Rufus Bunji, buy Give it to them to do as they wish when they get older.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:33 PM on December 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

When my daughter was born (14 years ago), she received a personalized "blankie". She STILL has that on her bed and sleeps with it nearby every night. It's just a small square of very soft blanket material. As an infant, she would rub the satin-y edges to soothe herself. It's been restitched and patched and cleaned many, many times.

It looked nothing like this one, but a search on Etsy for "baby lovey" got me that as one of the results. Also search for "blankie" or "wooby".
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:30 AM on December 8, 2009

Sorry, I forgot to add: If you do go the security blanket/lovey route, buy TWO right away, so that if one is lost or needs extensive mending, the other one is immediately available. In the middle of the night, babies don't understand "Look, this other perfectly good blanket is the same exact thing as your blankie!"
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:33 AM on December 8, 2009

I'm expecting a baby next month, and I personally appreciate practical gifts. Babies get Lots of blankets and stuff from family. If the baby is only 6 months old, they probably are still using a lot of stuff they got at the baby shower or have already purchased.

So how about a gift card to a major retailer (Walmart, Target, Babies R Us,,, etc.)? Mom and Dad will thank you when they run out of (socks/diapers/formula/pacifiers/OTC medicine/baby oil/shampoo/insert need here). If you know more about their lifestyle that can help you find a more customized and appropriate gift (do they use a cloth diaper service? how about paying for the next month? are they into babywearing? How about store credit toward a sling (be sure to ask the parents about their sling preferences beforehand though)?

Also as mentioned upthread:

--babysitting voucher
--Roth IRA/savings contribution
--savings bond
--Term life insurance (this wasn't mentioned but still a good idea if you have their social security number)
--children's books
posted by mynameismandab at 12:16 AM on December 10, 2009

This just popped up on my RSS feed so I had to answer. My son is just over 6 months. I agree with what was said about toys at this age -- predicting what a 6 month old is going to like is tough, and any interest in it is likely to be fleeting. I mean feel free, but it is hard to imagine this kind of thing being a huge success. Same is true with clothes, there are so many hand me downs and kids grow out of them so fast.

Books are a really safe bet. They are pricey (relative to the amount of use and the cost of other things like stuffed animals and toys) and because of this, parents usually don't have an excess of them and we really appreciate getting them as gifts. If I have to read Mr. Lunch or To Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street one more time, Baby Bartfast is going to have to start going going to bed without a story. Plus, baby's don't really grow out out of these until past when they're reading on their own. Then, I saved lots of mine from when I was a baby and read them to my kid now.

Another thing to consider is that there are always a lot of practical things that we need to buy as the baby gets older and starts doing more things. A bigger car seat, a high chair, a sippy cup, etc. You should check with baby's parents because this stuff gets expensive and helping to defray the cost of these necessary items is very appreciated.

Finally, anything hand made will forever be cherished. I look forward to telling my son when he's older, "You're grandma loved you so much she knitted this blanket just for you." That kind of stuff is never given away.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:19 AM on December 11, 2009

PS we also have the no batteries rule. And also nothing with a TV or movie tie-in.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:24 AM on December 11, 2009

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