Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
As parents, we want to choose a fun, meaningful baby gift. But we also know babies don’t just need more STUFF. Anyone with me on this? They are already showered with any and every baby item we can imagine from before birth and on through their first birthday. And then some.
We love to buy baby stuff. It’s fun! I know!
Our little ones really just need us for Christmas or Birthdays (not to mention Easter, Valentine’s Day and every day in between.)
On the other hand…
We can’t help ourselves. Right? We get excited about getting baby that first birthday present or Christmas gift and choosing something we really want to see them enjoy…and that’s ok too!
My first baby was around 3 ½ months old during Christmas and my soon-to-be second-born will be around 6 weeks old when it rolls around this year. With Sam, we wanted to be sensible and not spend money unnecessarily, but we also couldn’t resist getting him something fun. It was our first “Baby’s First Christmas” too!
So…here are some tips on finding a happy medium…
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Meaningful Gift Ideas for Babies and Young Toddlers
Tips for how to choose a great meaningful gift:
Splurge a little: but keep it practical. Have fun with it! That’s a joy of being a parent! But try to think through gift choices. For instance, baby probably doesn’t need 10 new toys, outfits and fancy teethers. I’d go as far as to say baby will feel just as loved with ONE present.
Think ahead: For Sam’s 2nd Christmas, just after he turned 1, we wanted him to have a fun toy from us, but we didn’t want to overdo it. We wanted something that he could enjoy for a long time and wouldn’t get bored with any time soon.
So, we got him bath toys. I was super happy with this decision. It livened up bath time and since he only played with them once a day (at most) he never got “over” them. We didn’t spend much and everybody felt a little spoiled. Christmas win! (Keep reading for a list of what specific bath toys we got him and still love!)
Focus on the heart: We are determined not to raise entitled little ones, especially in an increasingly self-centered world. We want to help our kids understand that we love people more than we like things. We hope to raise them this way from the beginning.
But that’s a hard concept to convey to a new baby!
So, we are kind of practicing it ourselves as we work through gift-giving our first few Christmases and Birthdays as new parents. We are trying to give gifts that focus on experiences and building character. It’s a bit of a challenge sometimes and we still like to give fun treats too, but we keep it simple.
Ok! So that’s the WHY.
Perfect Gift Ideas for Newborns to 3 Year Olds
Here are my suggestions for some awesome gift ideas, including things that we have given our son and plan to give our new little one this year.
We love reading books to our babies! It’s so good for their development and it creates such special time together. Sam loves to read with us and he’s learned a ton from really simple books over his 2-year-long life. We got him books for his 2nd birthday last month. Just books.
I think it’s a really great way to avoid flashy, expensive presents and to foster a love for learning in our kiddos. Plus, as we read the new books to them, it shows them that we want to be with them, not just keep them busy so they’ll leave us alone.
Here are some of our favorites, ranging from what we’ve been reading him from day 1 to our favorite newest additions. We seriously LOVE all of these books. These fantastic stories will make for a special first few years, I promise.
This has been a family favorite since Day 1. It’s short and simple and just adorable.
This is my favorite. It actually had to grow on me with time because I didn’t get that it was supposed to be lulling him to sleep. I read it softer and softer towards the end. It’s sooo wonderful for bedtime.
We got this for Sam’s 2nd birthday gift. We love it so far. It has great biblical truths that point to Jesus, even in the Old Testament stories.
This is a lift-a-flap book. It has a surprisingly lot of pages for such a little board book. We’ve read it a ton in 2 years so it’s special to us. You’ll love it too.
This was a gift from my aunt, the librarian, on Sam’s 1st birthday. I love it so much that I’m trying to collect all of the series. This is one of those books that isn’t annoying for mom or dad to read a thousand times. It’s really entertaining and a great story with some teaching concepts. Love!
This adorable book is so wonderful for teaching our little ones how to use their imagination. It encourages creativity, friendship and good old-fashioned play! My son loves to “read” it to us because he knows it so well. It’s a new favorite in our home.
Give an Experience
Who says our gifts need to be tangible? For a baby, they probably prefer doing something fun with Mama and Dada anyway. Plan a fun outing and make a big deal of it. Plan a special outfit, take your good camera, budget for some splurging.
Take baby to a special festival in town and let them try a new treat for the first time. If it’s the holiday season, research the best places to see Christmas lights and go for a long stroll. Get some hot chocolate, let Baby get out and touch the scenery. Little ones LOVE stimulation. They will adore such a fun time with their very favorite people. That’s a perfect gift if you ask me.
Another non-traditional gift idea is to give a memory. Obviously, we can’t remember baby years, but you can take photos and help them remember. Plus, you will always treasure the memory too.
A couple ideas:
Start a Tradition
I love this idea. Make a new tradition just between Mom, Dad, and Baby. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, but maybe you start using a special birthday plate every year and the honoree gets to choose whatever treat or meal they want to eat on it. Maybe you could start using a live Christmas tree and going to chop it down together could be a new family tradition. How about game night on Christmas Eve or a special birthday movie night? Take lots of pictures to help baby remember when the tradition began as they grow and get to enjoy it every year.
Make a special ornament
This is an awesome example by Thrifty Crafty Girl. It can be kind of a gift/memory combo.
We did this for Sam’s first Christmas and plan to do it again for this baby. We used his footprint cutout from his hospital papers, his hospital hat and bracelet, and an ultrasound picture. What a perfect way to keep such special items! And baby will grow up seeing it every year and knowing it started with their first Christmas. How cute is that?
Like I said earlier, I’m ok with splurging a little! Toys are fun and a valid part of a baby’s life. Playing is important. Just keep it simple.
I read sooo much about what to give Sam on his first Christmas. We wanted to do something fun and super simple that a 3-6 month old would love. This toy did the trick! It’s cute and inexpensive too.
We actually got him this too for his first Christmas present, because I couldn’t choose between this and the one above. Since they weren’t pricey, we got both and he loved them! I kind of prefer this one, because it’s wooden and moves a bit more.
Ok, not a toy, but…we got this for Sam for his first birthday. We had a party and this was his gift from us. That’s it. No regrets. He has his own little space and feels like part of the family. I lovvve that this one isn’t flashy and “kiddy.” It looks nice in our family room (because he is part of our family and that matters) and it has held up super nicely. I read a ton of reviews before purchasing this and I love the thing. Highly recommend!
Here are the toys we got as our first Christmas gift to Sam. They have all played out really well, so I recommend them all!
These are so fun! They are simple, cute, and are great for little water-lovers to play creatively.
We wanted Sam to have a boat. This one is classic looking and it has a little fishing game that we can practice with him.
This is his favorite. He ends up putting everything through the hoop. I like the little spinning pieces too!
One more vote for books! These are short and sweet and can get wet. We have them memorized because Baby lovvves them.
I think this may be what we do for our 2-year-old for this year’s Christmas. He doesn’t really have a stuffed animal that he’s attached to yet and we think the experience of picking out the exact little details of his new toy will bring him great joy. Plus, this will be something he can love on and treasure for years, then have as a keepsake. Mama and Dada will cherish the memory of making it with him too.
So, enjoy being Mom and Dad to that little on the special occasions this year. Have some fun with your gift-giving and watch as they grow and play and learn as a result. We get to have the honor of raising little ones who will impact our world and those around them. Let’s start them off well with our love and our time being the foremost gift we give them each day.
Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers