Gift for parents' new marriage and newborn
January 11, 2015 3:12 AM   Subscribe

My birth father (I'm adopted) recently married for the first time and had a son a couple of weeks ago. So I have a baby brother for the first time in my 36 years. I would love to buy him and his wife a present for his marriage and to celebrate their new arrival. I would love this to be thoughtful, and practical and because of this have been frozen. More complications inside.

My birth father is in his 50s and married for the first time in April last year. His wife gave birth on new years eve.

I am adopted, but am close to my birth father - we see each other and talk a few times a year. He lives in a different city to me in Australia.

I wanted to send them a gift for their marriage, but stalled. Now they have a little one, and I'm really feeling more urgent. I really want to avoid gift cards, despite their easy mail-ability.

Question 1: Should I send two separate gifts, or combine into 1 "congratulations" gift?

Question 2: More importantly, what should it/they be? I am looking at a budget of around $200-ish. I am not terribly crafty, but a couple of weeks left of time off means I could do something meaningful. Need ideas from the hive mind!

He's a photographer, and she is an anthropology lecturer who's moved here from California. They rent a small cottage, so suggestions for household items are out. They love food/coffee/going out, although I suspect that last one might be on hold for a while.

(No, I can't travel to visit them, has to be available in Oz, and it has to fit in the postage).

Please help me... I am overwhelmed with love and excitement for my birth father to finally raise his own child and am just kind of stuck!
posted by chronic sublime to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would go with a handmade quilt or a truly wonderful mobile. Or go posh with a cashmere baby blanket. All of those sellers are in Australia, so could ship direct to your dad for you. They are heirloom gifts that will continue to be meaningful.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:35 AM on January 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

Oh, this question is so sweet. :)

Perhaps a hamper of indulgent foods etc. that they can enjoy while it is difficult for them to get out of the house?
Things like this? If you think that they don't need the pour over cone, this is another option.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 4:25 AM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Speaking as a reunited birth mother, I can say that anything you send will be treasured. I love anything my oldest son sends me. I agree with DarlingBri on the handmaid quilt or mobile. A silver engraved baby rattle or cup are other heirloom ideas. If you do two separate gifts, you might want to send some food to the new parents. I do Grandma's Chicken Soup in the USA and it is always appreciated. Perhaps there is something like that in Australia, or a nice fruit basket.

That older Dad marriage can work great, my brother married for the second time in his 50s to a younger woman, and they have a wonderful daughter who is ten now. She gets along well with her older siblings and new nephew who is more like a little brother. Congrats on your new brother, and keep enjoying your Dad.
posted by mermayd at 4:28 AM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I bought an Australian friend this classic baby toy from this site and it was shipped promptly and giftwrapped, very easy. All their suggested baby range items are very nice, so just pick a price point. I think it would be a nice touch to pick something similar to one that you liked as a baby, e.g. if you had a beloved blankie or bunny, and write in the note "For my new and much loved baby brother, I had one of these as a wee baby, and I hope you love it as much" etc.
posted by viggorlijah at 4:40 AM on January 11, 2015 [3 favorites]

Something that can be used every day for ages and ages is what you're after. The perfect blanket, perhaps, suitable for crib use and then rolling upon use and then an extra layer in your brother's first bed. I'll bet you can find one. Not too light in colour so stains won't matter, a material that won't pill easily. Congralutions on having a sibling!
posted by h00py at 5:22 AM on January 11, 2015

This book is my go-to gift for babies. It's lovely to read. Maybe package it with a CD of yourself reading each poem.
Or a special Christmas ornament, one for "First Christmas together" and one for "Baby's first Christmas" with the year on it (hand lettered with paint pen if needed.)
Either choice can start a tradition if you want - a new book or ornament every year.
posted by evilmomlady at 5:29 AM on January 11, 2015

I love the ideas for a cashmere baby blanket, or a baby cup or other heirloom baby gift. Jewelers' websites have a section for those. A little silver basket someone gave me as a baby is sitting on my coffee table right now.

I once gave a friend a sheepskin baby rug and they used it a lot.

It's totally your choice about baby gift + wedding gift or just baby gift. I'd probably go for one stunning baby gift.
posted by BibiRose at 6:12 AM on January 11, 2015

A blanket is a nice idea, but really, a soft stuffed animal would be just as sweet and appreciated. My much-older sister gave me a puppy dog toy when I was born that I adored for years (and I always thought of her when I played with it). I like the stuffed animals from Jellycat.
posted by three_red_balloons at 6:59 AM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

1. What city do they live in? Research online and see if you can get a chef / good cook to visit them at home and cook them a fabulous meal in their own kitchen. Or find out the name of their favourite restaurant and dishes, and get a cabbie to courier dinner to them.

2. If she's not breast-feeding, currently have a magnum of Pol Roger champagne for $185.

3. Tree planting is a very common wedding / after birth ritual. As they are renting why not consider a bonsai, as they are traditionally associated with harmony, peace, balance? You can buy bonsai online and have it delivered.

4. There is a beautiful Northern Australian Aboriginal tradition of creating and gifting new borns with totem poles embellished with symbols of all the good things you'd want for your child. You could take this idea and do the same but with a silver rattle and a set of Riedel wine glasses on which you / a friend / the Mister Minit guy could engrave some ancient symbols of happiness, love and health, longevity, etc (Google images is your friend here).
posted by travellingincognito at 7:12 AM on January 11, 2015

I think you are struggling over this because you already know the answer and you haven't thought of it yet. Sit down and brainstorm. Think about what you want to receive if you were them. It will come to you.

If nothing comes to you then put the most of the money aside and keep adding to it. Present it to them for their 1st anniversary and tell them that you want to give them a special evening and would be willing to babysit for them to go out and enjoy themselves. Start a savings account for baby (just $25 to start) and commit to adding to it annually. You might be the guy who helps buy his first car!
posted by myselfasme at 9:27 AM on January 11, 2015

Go with the cashmere baby blanket, such a great idea. Useful and heirloom quality! I would have loved one for my son. A nice bottle of wine, champagne, or chocolates to go along with it and a handwritten card would be great.
posted by JenMarie at 11:53 AM on January 11, 2015

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