Good thank you gift for newborn supplies?
February 8, 2011 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Parents who have given away kids stuff: What would you appreciate in return or consider an appropriate thank you?

We are pregnant - Yay! A distant and well-liked relative had a baby last year & will not be having any more children. She has volunteered to give us LOTS of stuff, way above and beyond the amount of stuff that others have been passing to us. She is specifically saving this stuff for us because we are relatives, even though I know she has lots of friends she could also be passing these things along to. So, I think her generosity needs to be acknowledged in a way that is different from the appreciative "thank you's" that go to friends that we know are just making room in their garages.

So, if you have given lots of stuff away to friends or relatives, what would you have appreciated in return? I know someone will say offer to babysit; they live 2 hours away, so I don't realistically see that happening. She is giving us clothes, baby "accessories" such as a bouncer, etc. Probably more than I know yet. They have an 8-year-old, and an 8-month-old.

I was thinking a gift card to a clothing store would be appropriate, but in what denomination? She is giving things freely from her heart (and she didn't pay for all of these things out of her pocket), so I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings or diminish her generosity by looking like I am "buying" them from her for equal value.

Is there some other really great idea that my pregnant brain is not thinking of? Any and all suggestions welcome!
posted by vignettist to Human Relations (27 answers total)
Seriously, you're doing her a favor. I LOVE giving our stuff away. It's being used by someone who can really use it and it's getting it out of my hair.

I've given a lot of stuff away (3 kids worth of stuff) and the best thank you is to actually see the recipient using the stuff/wearing the clothes.
posted by Sassyfras at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2011 [17 favorites]

I never expected anything beyond a simple thank you!

It's just the great cycle of Kid Crap Giving. The general expectation I believe is that you too will one day pass along great piles of stuff to someone else who needs it.
posted by serazin at 12:50 PM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I agree with Sassyfras but I think it's a really nice gesture to get her something. I think a $50 gift card to just about anywhere would be great. Maybe to a place that is obviously just for her would be good with instructions to spend it on herself and not the kids. Or, if you want it to be a family gift then a gift card to a restaurant would be appreciated, I'm sure.
posted by dawkins_7 at 12:51 PM on February 8, 2011

If you're picking the stuff up, why not bring her a cake or plate of cookies? Or if she's bring them over, make a nice dinner.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:52 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Yeah, she's clutter clearing. The amount of stuff you go through when you have a fast-growing kid is huge and it's usually easier to offload it to someone than to go through the hassle of selling it.

I would ask her what you owe her, and when she says "nothing", then just bring her a bottle of wine or some food product next time you see her and tell her that you just wanted to give her something as thanks.

When your kids outgrow the stuff, pass it on to someone else, along with anything else you don't need any more. We gave a whole lot of stuff to people, some to people we hardly knew, and it felt great to do it.

Also, anything like car seats and swings should be inspected before you use them. Check on the manufacturer's website for any recall notices. Often if you call them they'll send you replacement parts or manuals free of charge.
posted by bondcliff at 12:54 PM on February 8, 2011

Congrats on your pregnancy :-)

We were fortunate to received so much "stuff" when our kids were born that giving it away to other new parents when our kids outgrew it just seemed like the right thing to do, and no quid pro quo was necessary or expected. Knowing that these various children's items were going to continue to have a life beyond our own kids was neat and satisfying in its own way. I guess the only thing we wanted was an understanding that the recipients would themselves give these items away when they were done with them (as opposed to selling them in a consignment shop or online). Not that there's anything wrong with selling used kid gear, but if we had wanted to go that route we would have done so ourselves. Of course, once a gift is given it belongs to the recipient, so all we could do was gently ask...
posted by mosk at 12:56 PM on February 8, 2011

Yes, you are now part of the Great Circle of Hand Me Downs, young padawan. One day in the not-so-distant future when you are done having children you will look at this enormous pile of perfectly good newborn stuff that they wore like four times, that is totally necessary, expensive, and hardly gets any use, and go, "I WANT THIS OUT OF MY HOUSE! I WANT MY CLOSETS BACK!" And then some miraculous acquaintance will mention in passing that she's pregnant and you will say, "LET ME GIVE YOU SIX BOXES FULL OF ONESIES." Or you will put away some higher-end things for a sibling or a cousin or a close friend who's starting to plan for little ones and let it take up space in your basement so you can give it to that person special. Either way, you will mostly be glad you got to get rid of it and give it to someone who can use it.

Send a sincere thank-you note and send some photos of the baby later on ... ideally wearing/using something the baby got from her, if you want to recognize the above-and-beyondness.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:56 PM on February 8, 2011 [10 favorites]

i like to give gift certificates to a photo studio to parents of young kids.

can you go visit some day and take her to a nice lunch or dinner and spend some time with her?

does she have other children? maybe a donation to their school or church or a charity in an area dear to her heart?

i am sure all she expects is a sincere thank you. A really nice note is always appreciated.
posted by domino at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could send her a nice note with a picture or two of your baby using or wearing the things she gave you.
posted by Bardolph at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2011

Pictures of your kid enjoying the handmedowns. Seriously - getting rid of old clothes and toys is difficult - no one wants to pay enough for them to make it worth selling, if you donate them you don't know where they'll end up, and you don't want to throw them away. Knowing that someone genuinely appreciates the gift goes a really long way.

If you really want to reciprocate, why not get something special for her daughter, from your soon-to-be-child? You can even personalize it, so you know it won't be coming back.
posted by Mchelly at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

(BTW, when your little one outgrows a diaper size when you still have half a pack left, or you get unwanted formula samples in the mail, your local crisis nursery or battered women's shelter is DESPERATE for those things. And any hand-me-downs taking up too much space.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:59 PM on February 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I second a bottle of wine with a heartfelt thank you note. Then I'd send another note or two sometime during the year with a photo of the baby in the bouncy chair, etc, and again expressing how much you and your child appreciate her gifts. The interesting thing about thank you notes is that we normally send them immediately after receiving a gift, but sometimes we almost need to send another one once we realize just how much we use it/like it/really do appreciate it. I've done this a few times and people have always been very surprised and grateful for a non-expected thank you note.
posted by questionsandanchors at 1:04 PM on February 8, 2011

Totally agree with Sassyfras. You have no idea (but you will) what a relief it is to give this stuff to a good home.

A bottle of wine would be good (if they drink). Along with a sincere thank you, and a promise to pay it forward by giving the stuff to someone else when you are done with it.

Hand-me-downs rock... except when you have to figure out what to do with them when you're done. So be happy you are doing each other a mutual favor!

And congrats on the baby.
posted by torticat at 1:05 PM on February 8, 2011

Nthing.... at most wine or cookies.

Pay it forward -- welcome to the circle!
posted by pantarei70 at 1:12 PM on February 8, 2011

I have a neighbor that so routinely gives me hand-me downs from her boy for my two younger boys, that I rarely have to buy any more than a few pairs of pants, and underwear, for them. I show my appreciation for this MASSIVE reduction in my kids clothing budget by giving the neighbor boy a $50 gift certificate to his favorite clothing store every Christmas. I feel any more than that would make the neighbors feel squeamish, but I feel compelled to do something! And then I also pass the clothes on to someone else when they are outgrown. (Although I must say that after three boys wearing the clothes, there is usually not much left.)
posted by molasses at 1:16 PM on February 8, 2011

Nthing don't worry about it. Babies outgrow their toys, bouncers, etc. before the items have shown much wear. It probably thrills her to think that her stuff will be used and appreciated by someone she knows.

Send pictures of your baby enjoying the items, if you want, and include a card that says, "Thank you again for saving us the trouble and expense of buying our own."

If I was her, I would feel terrible if you gave me a gift certificate in exchange for helping me clean out my closets. How about if you pay for shipping, or arrange to pick everything up yourself? (After all, driving 2 hours with kids is no fun.)
posted by Knowyournuts at 1:20 PM on February 8, 2011

I think it depends on what financial situation the givers are in, and you are in. I'd give a gift certificate - for my family member who does this, I do Meijer or Kroger, because I know they need the money. If they are financially fine, I like the bottle of wine/beer idea.
posted by dpx.mfx at 1:30 PM on February 8, 2011

Well, you could always add the distant and well-liked relative's name (or surname if it's not yours, or a related opposite-sex name) to the kid's name when it's born.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:37 PM on February 8, 2011

I'm always THRILLED to pass anything on down the line and probably don't want anything non-consumable in return. The whole point of passing stuff on is to regain closet space, garage space, floor space, drawer space so it's counter-productive to give me more stuff back. That said, I did appreciate getting some tangerines from a friend's backyard when I gave her a bunch of baby hand-me-downs. That seemed like an appropriate trade: she had too much fruit and wanted to get rid of some and I had too many onesies that needed a new home. Everyone wins!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:42 PM on February 8, 2011

You know what's really nice? A few years ago I gladly passed along some baby board books to a pregnant friend. A year or two later, pretty much after I had forgotten all about it, she told me that one of the books was her daughter's favorite. That was as much thanks as I'd ever need.

If you give her a gift, that's lovely, but don't expect you'll get one when you pass along this stuff! It's part of the lovely cycle of re-gifting. We've gotten some incredibly useful and expensive items, and in turn have passed similar items down the line as well.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:48 PM on February 8, 2011

I think we're missing an important detail. What's your address, and what time should I drop off all this baby stuff?

Actually, forget the time. I'll just leave it all out front.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:20 PM on February 8, 2011 [10 favorites]

Just give a call or drop a note to say what good use you've gotten from her gifts. My sister usually does this as she transfers ownership to yet another mom, to let the original gifter know that the clothes will have at least one more life.
posted by wryly at 3:18 PM on February 8, 2011

A couple give us a ton of baby/kid things. I have a hard time accepting super-generous gifts, so a generous thank you made me feel better.

We gave them a $500 gift card to a local resort they like to visit overnight with their kids. $500 seems like a lot of money but we would have paid far more to buy all of the things they gave us. Although it was not expected or necessary, I am still happy that we did something nice for them too.

Perhaps a gift card for something they like to do as a family?
posted by murrey at 4:36 PM on February 8, 2011

A photo of you beaming happily, with your pregnant belly, in the nursery with her 'donations' visible.

Of all the baby stuff I re-gifted, seeing it being used (or ready to be used) was the best thanks.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:50 PM on February 8, 2011

Thanks everyone for all of the comments! I think my favorite answer here is a gift certificate for a photo shoot, because this particular family does lots of formal portraits for the holidays and the kids birthdays. I'd thought of getting them a pass to a theme park or some such, but they already own season passes to all of the attractions in their area. And I already buy stuff from whatever the older kid's class is selling (wrapping paper, candy, etc). But these are all great suggestions, I appreciate all the input. I agree, I think she will be happy if ultimately we pass things on to another person that we know will put them to good use.
posted by vignettist at 7:56 PM on February 8, 2011

I'm so happy when I can get rid of things!
posted by uauage at 4:35 AM on February 9, 2011

You already gave her something: space!

Here's a good trade: everyone likes holding sleepy babies, so have her over for a short visit once the baby arrives. Of course, you'll be too tired to be much fun, but she sounds ilke a good enough friend & experienced enough parent to realize that you'll need a nap...and you'll probably nod off and wake to find her doing your laundry. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:41 AM on February 9, 2011

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