Gift ideas for a 1 year old daughter?
July 31, 2008 3:03 PM   Subscribe

As a Dad I want to get something very special for my daughters first birthday. I've found some answers but nothing that quite hits it as these are for nephews/cousins/friends

She doesn't need toys, she has a college/growing up fund, she doesn't need any more teddies, she has special party clothes. I'm trying to get an idea of something that will keep giving, or something she will look back in the future.
posted by rus to Human Relations (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have a yard? Plant a sapling on her birthday.
posted by LoriFLA at 3:27 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Almost nobody is able to look back with any kind of clarity on their first birthday; the first couple of years are pretty much about learning to do basic stuff like communicating and moving about independently, not about building any kind of memories to look back on.

Whatever you give or do for this birthday is probably more about celebrating the event for yourself and your family than anything else. We threw a big afternoon party/barbecue for our son's first birthday (it was his second birthday this week and we did much the same). We got the family, friends, neighbours, and some of the other parents and kids to come, and had a really great time; we took plenty of photos of course. Our son probably has no memory of that day even now, but that doesn't really matter. When he's a little older we can show him the pictures of his other birthday celebrations and he'll see how he's grown and changed, which should be interesting for him.

Don't agonise too much about this; as you say, you've already got the important stuff covered.

Maybe you could plant a special tree (on preview, what LoriFLA suggested) or put together a scrapbook or photo album if you want something she can use to connect with that very early version of herself. Or get involved in sponsoring a child of the same age somewhere in the world where life isn't so perfect. Above all, just take time out to appreciate your child. And bake a nice cake.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:29 PM on July 31, 2008

What do you love that you want to share with her one day? Do you love sports, music, literature, traveling? I think you could get a cool symbolic present that she'll love one day because it was about the hopes and dreams you had for you and her. I'm thinking, for example, a beautiful snowglobe of your favorite city (if you're into traveling), things like that. Even if she grows up and isn't into the same thing, it will always remind her of you.
posted by wuzandfuzz at 3:34 PM on July 31, 2008

wuzandfuzz has the right idea. Start a collection for her.

My wife's been getting our niece a snowglobe every time we travel to a new city, and gives them to her on her birthdays and at Christmas. By now, her first question when she hears we went on another trip is "did you bring me a snowglobe?"

She'll be getting another this Sunday as a matter of fact.
posted by JaredSeth at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2008

I have given all the 1 year olds in my life a well made stepping stool with their name on it. The styles have varied based on the child, including a beautiful, decorative white wooden stepping stool hand painted with butterflies and a silver nameplate with her name engraved in a whimsical style to a fire engine red, rugged boys' stool with his name painted in bold block letters.

Children will use these stools for many years, and because I only buy well made and well decorated stools they are certainly something to be held on to.

They also have a lot of surface room in semi-hidden places to put a well-worded message, which makes the gift even more personal and a keep-sake.

Also, I love this as a gift because I still remember sitting on a step stool near my mom as she did various things around the house or worked on projects, reading books while she did her tasks. I wish I still had one of those stools.
posted by prettymightyflighty at 3:41 PM on July 31, 2008 [2 favorites]

Write her a letter! Talk about what her first year was like for her, for you, for everyone around, don't necessarily talk about her first steps or first whatevers, but share your memories of special moments you shared, and how you felt at the time.

Write her another letter next year. And another the next. Etc.

Hold onto them until she leaves for college, or has a rough adolescence, or goes on safari, or suffers her first heartbreak, or whenever it seems appropriate.

At the party(ies), just enjoy your family & friends, and take some pictures.

Congratulations =)
posted by headnsouth at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

My best 1st birthday present I didn't even get until a year ago. The day before I turned one (or, I guess it was the early morning of), my dad stayed up really late assembling a little ride-on bike toy thing. BUT! he videotaped it, and it was really neat seeing my dad by himself putting together this tiny bike, talking (to himself) about how excited he was that his little girl was turning one.

He completely forgot that he had filmed it, and it was only found recently because we converted all of our old family videos to DVD.
posted by phunniemee at 3:42 PM on July 31, 2008 [3 favorites]

Go ahead, buy that wedding dress.

Just kidding. It just seems like that day comes in a flash when looking back.

Actually, that reminds me of something I did for Daughter the First at her wedding. Over the course of several months I had filled a Moleskine notebook with my thoughts, memories of her, my own childhood, advice, whatever came to mind. She loved it (or so she says....).

No reason to wait for the Big Day to share yourself with just her.
posted by trinity8-director at 5:14 PM on July 31, 2008

My boyfriends father bought a nice bottle of wine on his first birthday that was made the year he was born. He kept it until his 21st birthday when they flew out to see him and they uncorked and shared the bottle together. It was a completely awesome experience, and my boyfriend never knew his dad had done that- -- and he actually had done this for his three other kids. It was his sister's turn last year, and I know it went over equally well.
posted by haplesschild at 5:33 PM on July 31, 2008

There are some very cool picture series of familes, and in at least one case, a father & daughter, where they took a picture every year on the birthday in the same grouping. It makes a wonderful way to look at her, and your, growth. The google-fu, it fails me, unable to find an example.
posted by theora55 at 5:36 PM on July 31, 2008

theora55: there's this.

(I think that's a great idea, btw.)
posted by phunniemee at 5:44 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Charm bracelet charm bracelet charm bracelet - there will be a million different occasions to add to it as she gets older.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:33 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Tell her story so far. How she's changed your life. How you love her more than you ever imagined possible. Tell how she filled two sleepers' full of #2 and you still love her all the more. You know the anecdotes. I wish I had some of my own now that I'm old and gray. Nobody will ever love you as much as when you're a baby, usually. Come through with that and you've got a tradition.
posted by wordswinker at 7:30 PM on July 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

lots of great ideas, but I love the idea of a tree that they can watch grow over the years. My sister is considering calling on some unsuspecting owners of an old house of ours to see if the pussy willow she planted as an eight year old is still there 25 years later.
posted by Frasermoo at 7:53 PM on July 31, 2008

I'm with haplesschild. I recommend a bottle of port.
posted by kidbritish at 8:14 PM on July 31, 2008

A friend of mine got his daughter a yacht for her first birthday. I am not kidding. It was a real yacht, a million-dollar yacht. He named it after her. I do not recommend this. By age two, she made Paris Hilton look humble. I realize that this isn't really helpful, as you were probably not considering getting her a yacht.
posted by Capri at 10:26 PM on July 31, 2008

Get some high-quality photographs taken of her. Choose your favorite and have it enlarged and framed, and you can give it to her later.

Tiffany's has a wonderful collection of silver baby gifts you can engrave and give to her as an adult (my mom still has her silver cup from when she was a baby).

Love the bottle of wine idea. That seems really special.

Or alternatively you could get her name tattooed on you. Now THAT's special.
posted by Breo at 5:22 AM on August 1, 2008

Something that will keep giving: a donation to charity. I'm obviously older than your daughter, but my dad bought a goat for an African village on my behalf for Christmas last year. A fantastic gift.

I would be wary of buying a tree. I don't know that many people who still live in the same house they were in as a young child. If you could get something small that is pottable that might be ok.

I wouldn't start a collection for her. If she wants a collection wait until it's something she wants. I had relatives start a spoon collection for me. I had dozens and dozens of them, until one year I threw them all out, feeling terribly guilty. I never wanted them in the first place.
posted by wingless_angel at 7:27 AM on August 1, 2008

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