A special gift for my favourite baby
April 4, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I will soon be attending my niece's naming ceremony, and I'd like to give her a special gift as a memento. My partner and I are the only aunts (and there are no uncles, either) and are "guests of honour" for the ceremony.

My partner and I take our role as aunts quite seriously, and I really love this baby (and my sister!). I'd like to be able to present her with something that would be a reminder of the day as she grows older. The ceremony is very small and informal, and completely, 100% non-religious. I am open to any ideas for gifts, with the caveats that I would prefer something more or less non-gendered (no fancy baby jewelry!) and under $100.
posted by sabotagerabbit to Shopping (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How about something from this etsy shop?
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:33 AM on April 4, 2011

I say you take that $100 and put it away in a college fund or savings account so that she could really use it later on in her life. Maybe contribute to it for her birthday each year.
posted by royalsong at 8:40 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could buy the first piece of a collection of something for her. When I was a baby, my grandma decided that I was going to collect angels, and got me my first one for my first christmas (I was a December baby). Unfortunately, even if I were the sort to collect things, angels would be pretty close to the bottom of my list. However, it was really exciting every year getting to see what new neat little angel thing she had for me.

If you have any hobbies/special knowledge about a subject, you could start the collection in that vein. Like, say, if you were an astronomer-type, you could make her collection outer space-themed. And then when your niece is older, you can teach her about the little things that she has. That way, it would be more than just a collection, and something the two of you could share together.

On preview, I like the college fund idea.
posted by phunniemee at 8:45 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I like the college fund idea, but we'll be doing that anyways :) I'd like something that I could give her on the day (though would be open to ideas of, for instance, an acre of rainforest or something like that). If it helps, my partner and I are both pretty outdoorsy, eco-friendly, crafty types...but I'm in the middle of work craziness so won't have time to make her anything for this.
posted by sabotagerabbit at 9:15 AM on April 4, 2011

Plant a tree?
posted by TheGoodBlood at 9:21 AM on April 4, 2011

For a collection, how about musical instruments made out of natural rain-foresty materials. Like a rain stick, maracas, bongo-type drums, pan flute, ocarina, tambourine, etc. Give one each year, and be prepared to play in the ensemble whenever you visit.

Here are some ideas.
posted by CathyG at 9:22 AM on April 4, 2011

A silver baby spoon? A pewter cup? Those are both things the baby will use for 4 or 5 years (probably longer for the cup) and can be pretty or used for playing for awhile after that. My parents saved the silver spoon and fork that my grandparents gave me as a baby and my 4 year old uses them now. (The pewter cup is both pretty and reminds me of the Little House books which my dad read to me as a child.) These both rank in the sorts of things that after using, get saved for the next generation.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:38 AM on April 4, 2011

It sounds to me like you're going for something sentimental and not necessarily practical. Which is great, since you're also going to be doing the practical things. For this gift, I say think about the things that parents hang on to. Here are some examples from my own life (stuff that my parents hung onto or that I've put away from my own kids):

First pair of shoes/boots
Favourite blanket
Engraved rattle
Handprint (in plaster of paris - lots of pretty kits are available for this)
Musical stuffed toy (kids get lots of stuffed toys, but not many wind-up ones)
Music box
Special box for lock of hair
Engraved silver cup

You could also get a crystal figurine, like these, or a few favourite children's books, with handwritten inscriptions inside.
posted by yawper at 9:46 AM on April 4, 2011

A compass.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:47 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh! Just thought of something else. The Bombay Memory Box. Engraveable on top, and perfect for storing all those little keepsakes.

I love the idea of a compass too!
posted by yawper at 9:49 AM on April 4, 2011

Or, good things for baby/kids:
-quilt with name or special symbol, can be mini-quilt or kid-size quilt that will be a lap quilt when she grows up
-a wooden step-stool with her name cut into it (hundreds of styles online, and probably a local woodworker near you could make one)

You might think about whether you want it to be
a. a thing she can reasonably use as an adult (compass, silver pendant with her name, that sort of thing)
b. a thing she will be able to use, play with, etc as a baby/kid, which means it will probably end up somewhat grungy or chipped by the time she's an adult (stepstool)
c. a thing that is nominally for a baby but which is too fragile for everyday use and is meant to be an heirloom (very nice fabric items, very nice books, etc)
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:52 AM on April 4, 2011

I think you should write her a letter that talks about what you and your partner and her parents were up to around the time that she was born, how you are/were anticipating her birth and getting to know her, maybe a funny anecdote about her as a tiny baby, or about the birth or the pregnancy or something, and maybe some wishes for her future. I think that would be such a sweet thing for her to have later, and it's a collection you could add to every year.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:31 AM on April 4, 2011

Somewhere I still have a small gold necklace with my name on it, that must have been presented on a similar occasion. I found it in a box in a drawer in my teens and wore it for many years after.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 10:34 AM on April 4, 2011

I too still have the pewter/silver cup given to me when I was little - it had my name, my weight at birth, and the exact time I was born engraved on it. It was always neat to know these things - I memorized them as a kid.

I also have a silver "piggy" bank (it was shaped like a duck, actually) that sat on a shelf with it. That would be a nice gift as well - you could get a bunch of gold dollar coins to put in it. Here's something in that vein from Pottery Barn Kids. Here's one you could decorate (oooh, or apply her baby handprint to?). Here is an adorable turtle. And mama and baby penguin. And...OK, sorry, I'm going overboard.

I know you say no jewelry, but it really is one of the things that will age the best. Specifically, NOT baby jewelry, however. This is also something you could give her when she gets a bit older - I got a locket at 10 or so and it was a "big girl" present. But even if she never becomes someone to wear jewelry, I think she might still treasure a nice silver locket, especially if you included something from the day of the naming ceremony in it.
posted by maryr at 11:48 AM on April 4, 2011

If her parents will care for it while she's young, how about a bonsai tree? Roots, families, family trees, etc.
posted by cyndigo at 4:37 PM on April 4, 2011

Are you going to do a reading at the ceremony or is there a sentiment that you already know is in a favorite poem or story? A book that contains this prayer, poem, Dr. Suess (Oh, The Places You'll Go is a favorite), etc with an inscription about the day or your love is a wonderful way to celebrate the event. And then, there will be a special book that can be read out loud starting now - babies love to be read to. Then put the rest of the money in a long term savings spot.
posted by mutt.cyberspace at 9:57 AM on April 5, 2011

Response by poster: Just wanted to follow up, much later now, to say that we did end up getting a couple of really nice books for her - one is a treasury of children's stories and poems, and the other is a beautifully illustrated book about the world and the people in it. We inscribed the treasury with the poem that I read at the ceremony. Hopefully she'll treasure these books as she gets older.

Thanks for all the great suggestions!
posted by sabotagerabbit at 8:51 AM on May 30, 2011

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