What does my baby want for Christmas?
November 17, 2016 11:17 AM   Subscribe

My baby will be almost three months old by Christmas. People want to know what he 'wants' for the holidays. We have a lot of stuff already so I'm not sure what to say.

We got a ton of hand-me-downs, and have an older same-gender child as well. So the baby has clothes right up to three-year-old sizes, a bin of second-hand baby toys, and all his brother's old Thomas trains/Duplo/Lego/Hot Wheels/Playmobil to grow into. We also have gift cards to every kid-themed store as we returned many of the new things we were gifted (since we had so many second-hand things already).

We have three sets of very excited grandparents who all are asking what the baby 'wants' for the holidays. I know the correct answer is probably 'money for his college fund or Walmart gift cards we can use to buy diapers and other less glamorous but useful things.' But realistically, it's so fun for them to buy the cute little baby things. So what can I actually suggest to them that won't have my house overrun with stuff and might actually be useful?
posted by ficbot to Grab Bag (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You don't mention having books at all?
posted by praemunire at 11:18 AM on November 17, 2016 [11 favorites]

Books books books books! Books that he'll enjoy as soon as he's aware of his surroundings, books that he'll enjoy as a toddler, books that he'll enjoy as a child! Books! All the books!
posted by lydhre at 11:18 AM on November 17, 2016 [19 favorites]

I like to dress big & little sibling up in the same outfit. They love it too (well at least big sibling does.) It's not always easy to find identical outfits when big kid is toddler size and baby is infant size, but I had great luck at Costco the other day finding Carters onesie jammies that had the same pattern in the toddler and infant sizes.
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2016

Your baby wants everyone's favorite children's book. Always. That's always his answer. Whatever book you loved reading as a child, whether alone or with your parents, that's what your baby wants. With a lovely little note written in it, if that's how you feel. Your child will grow up with a wonderful library of loved books.
posted by phunniemee at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2016 [28 favorites]

Cute storage containers and/or bookshelves?
posted by Kriesa at 11:24 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

This Jellycat Pet Tails soft book was my baby's favorite thing from about 3 months to 1 year. She wasn't very interested in regular board books until more like 9 months.
posted by Kriesa at 11:28 AM on November 17, 2016

It's another suggestion for books, but if you don't have any of the books that are also puppets, our four month old is crazy about those.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:35 AM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

Family memberships to your local museums.

My kids are only two years apart and so they share a room and mostly share all their toys. Bu I got a little trunk/toy chest for Younger Sibling, to hold her special things that are just for her. You don't have to fill it immediately, but it will be there for the baby to stake out his/her own claims eventually.
posted by Liesl at 11:39 AM on November 17, 2016 [22 favorites]

Something fuzzy and fleecy to lie on and play would be nice. Some Dr. Seuss books to read together over and over again.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 11:45 AM on November 17, 2016

posted by Night_owl at 11:45 AM on November 17, 2016

Photo session with a nearby photographer who's experienced with babies/families! Win-win since grandparents get pictures too.
posted by Baethan at 11:46 AM on November 17, 2016 [14 favorites]

A membership to your local zoo.

Seconding pre-paid photo sessions (get a few, and you can get family sets as well as kids alone). Make sure it's some place that you can buy the digital files, so you can post them online, email them and turn them in to physical prints and books.

Gift certificates for photo prints and books.

You mentioned gift cards to Walmart for diapers - perhaps a membership to Costco, if one's nearby? Then you can stock up on diapers and wipes, and get inexpensive photos printed locally, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:49 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I'd ask for money that you can put into an "activity fund" so you can sign baby up for things like swim lessons when old enough. It's the most useful gift in that regard.
posted by zizzle at 11:49 AM on November 17, 2016 [7 favorites]

Books is a great idea, but also memberships to local attractions - Children's Museums, Zoos, Science Museums, indoor play spaces, etc etc etc. Memberships that let in the whole family can get pricey!
posted by hungrybruno at 11:53 AM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

My baby will be almost three months old by Christmas. People want to know what he 'wants' for the holidays. We have a lot of stuff already so I'm not sure what to say.

People know that they aren't buying a present for a three month old, they are buying a present for his parents. I think that if you are honest and say "we have so much stuff for him already, thank you so much for the offer," a lot of people will stop insisting on getting something.

For people who feel more of an obligation (family members maybe), I will nth books. This might depend on who is asking, but I personally am very receptive to hints dropped by my new-parent friends that "a baby sitting commitment so his parents can have a night out" would be a great gift (this pretty much the only non-baby registry thing that I "give" to babies who are less than a year old).

As far as "he has too much clothing already," you may also want to consider how much of the clothing you have was handpicked/handmade for him by his doting grandparents. Maybe some things you've got in storage can be shuffled to the donation bin earlier to make room for presents that people want to give.

And finally, on re-read, you might try redirecting to your older child: "Baby and Big Bro would definitely get a kick out of playing with [thing that big bro wants] together, even if it takes a few years to grow into it"
posted by sparklemotion at 12:21 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Books are always a great default answer.

We were in almost the same exact situation (same sex, 3 year age difference, baby 6 weeks old at Xmas). I ended up telling one insistent grandparent that Baby and Big Bro would really like some festive holiday jammies so we could take fun pictures at Christmas. I was not about to buy festive holiday jammies myself, but the grandparent in question went for it in a big way and it did actually make the pictures really nice.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 12:35 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Agree on tickets to events and memberships.

Also, letters from them to be opened at age 18. This could also work for 1st birthday at which time you will probably have a similar dilemma.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:47 PM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I never appreciated savings bonds as a gift, until I got to cash them in. 529 or college account?
posted by MichelleinMD at 12:54 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think it's great that you're recognizing that the grandparents are excited and it's fun for them to get cute gifts. It's also great that they're asking what you want. So it seems that everyone here is being really thoughtful about the other people involved.

So I would ask you to let the grandparents have the fun of getting gifts for the little one, but maybe put a number limit on it - like suggest they only get one present for the child and if they want to do more, then you go to things like memberships. It is super fun to buy something for a kid in a toy store, and I would not deny the grandparents this pleasure to have three fewer toys in the house. When my kids were little, their dad's parents would buy them immense quantities of toys, then tut-tut over the kids having too much stuff. It was annoying to say the least. But these people are asking, so you can talk about space and clutter and just ask them to limit it to one gift. Also, you never know what a child's favorite toy is going to be.
posted by FencingGal at 1:12 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you started a music or movement class with the baby yet, like Music Together or Gymboree? My kids all loved Music Together starting at that age, and it was so much fun to take them and enjoy it together. You could ask for that experience as a gift.

Similarly, the zoo, a local children's museum, a theatre company that does Theatre for the Very Young -- all these wonderful experiences you can share make great gifts.

And I add my chimes to the books, books, books suggestion.
posted by gateau at 1:18 PM on November 17, 2016

Savings bonds or contributions to a college fund.
posted by Cranialtorque at 1:29 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

You know what I wish I had from my first Christmas? A letter from each of my relatives. So many of them are no longer with us, I would give anything to have a letter from my grandparents or my aunts and uncles about their lives, or what kind of year they had in 1982, the year I was born. It wouldn't have to be long and complicated, just a page or two. Let's face it, your 3 month old won't really care about some bit of plastic, but a box of precious letters will have value and meaning forever.
posted by matthew.alexander at 1:49 PM on November 17, 2016 [8 favorites]

Nthing the letter idea. Babies don't really need or appreciate much at this age but letters are priceless.
posted by Jubey at 3:00 PM on November 17, 2016

Yeah, if it were my 3-month-old, what he'd want for Christmas is an analog synthesizer from KORG...and maybe a big box of those chocolate-covered strawberries from Godiva.
posted by sexyrobot at 3:08 PM on November 17, 2016 [10 favorites]

nth books. Board books. At three months I was like, ugh, this baby doesn't want to look at books, she'll never go to college. And now, at 13 months, her 2 intelligible words are "more" and "book."
posted by vunder at 4:31 PM on November 17, 2016

Books and a membership to the local zoo or children's museum or baby gym.

To give you a reprieve from board books - try out the Indestructibes line of books, because they are truly indestructible.

My kid was 4 months at Christmas last year, so our books took a while to pull interest. Now? She is constantly carrying books to us and placing herself in our laps. "DIS!"

posted by kellygrape at 5:04 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Books. Books. Books. If you need recommendations, there have been a few askme's with people's favorites.
posted by gryphonlover at 5:11 PM on November 17, 2016

I am a librarian and I love books, but I would suggest you ask for nice hardwood blocks that can be added to each year. Your three year old will also benefit from them, and your kids will get at least a decade of use out of them, if not more.
posted by momochan at 5:11 PM on November 17, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'd be cautious about deciding that all the toys will be shared. I'm the eldest of 6 kids and let me tell you, having what I considered my treasures routinely used, stolen, broken and lost by my younger sibs really made me unhappy as a child. There was a lot of resentment especially towards my middle brother, who was one of those kids who could break a pillow without even trying.

Allowing the grandparents to buy one small toy gift for each kid's going to prevent that from starting. A soft blankie or teething toy as well as books for later will help establish some boundaries from the start. The hardwood blocks are a great idea, too - we have a big basket of those at ours and they are in almost constant use.
posted by Jilder at 5:29 PM on November 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

A "Baby's first Christmas" ornament is a nice thing to have if you do a tree and are sentimental. It's also nice since it just lives in your box with all the other ornaments, so it isn't really adding clutter.

Seconding a gift certificate for Gymboree or My Gym or some other local "mommy-and-me" class.
posted by gatorae at 7:17 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Stuff my daughter loved at 3-6 months:

Her playgym
One of these (really loved it starting 4-5 months)
Any toys that could be clipped to her stroller for her to manipulate with her hands while we were out.
These books
Things that she can shake to make noise - shaker eggs, jingle bells, a water bottle with beans in it, a tambourine.

Blocks, including stacking boxes, got big for her around 6-9 months, as did stuffed animals of all kinds.
posted by Pearl928 at 7:24 PM on November 17, 2016

Museum/zoo memberships are great; photo sessions are also great.

We are asking our stuff-oriented grandparent this year if she would get one or two small things (like books or outfits) and then perhaps pay for the kids' mommy-and-me type classes. (Instead of sending a zillion toys as she has in the past.) We're hoping this fits both her desire to give concrete, openable gifts, and her desire to give generously, without us ending up with a billion toys we don't need and don't have space for.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:27 PM on November 17, 2016

I have two boys and a closet full of hand-me-downs and I realized not far in that I was so sick of seeing the same shirts on my little one that I had looked at for so long on my big one. So I welcome new shirts. I'm all set for pants and shoes for a couple of years.

I also like the idea now of matching jammies for Christmas. Also, I try to get one new Christmas book per year, and we read those for bedtime throughout December. Maybe something special for later on, like a snowglobe. I buy my boys a new Christmas ornament each year. These are things that hopefully will last, rather than plastic crap that will break by the end of the day.
posted by vignettist at 8:01 PM on November 17, 2016

Baby sign language books and something to chew on. Bath toys.
posted by Toddles at 4:31 AM on November 18, 2016

Photo session or photos (whether it's JC Penny studio or a gift card to get snapfish prints etc). It's been hard to make sure 2nd kid gets as many photos and that may help. Possibly coordinating outfits for both if you would be into that kind of thing (or the grandparents want those kind of photos).

Also baby gloves/hats (easy to lose), double check that the shoes you do have still have enough tread.

Also, I'm OK with asking for less for the younger one for the time being (I have a 1.5 yr old and a 4.5 yr old).
posted by typecloud at 7:47 AM on November 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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