This holidays are a beautiful and stressful time of year. Adding a new bundle of baby love to the mix brings more excitement and joy, but also more to do. I find buying Christmas gifts to be a challenge. It can be especially challenging when your baby is so little because they don’t have a comprehension of what is happening. So, at our home, this is an ideal time to integrate gift items other than toys under the tree. For little lambs (two and under, especially under one) I like to have an even balance between gifts in the “need” category, and gifts in the “want” category. Because, let’s be realistic, most of us out there can’t afford to go crazy with spending and gift their child everything under the sun. And, more often than not, a child so little will be happiest playing with a cardboard box and colorful bow; they aren’t going to mind or notice they aren’t getting every toy imaginable. So, including items baby truly does need within their gifts is smart and practical from a budget standpoint.
For example, for my baby’s second Christmas, she was around one and a half. At that stage in her growth, she needed to transition to a different car seat. Car seats are expensive, but a very important purchase from a safety standpoint. Because of this, I choose to invest in a good quality car seat. That being said, with Christmas expenses around the same time of year, it was not in the budget to spend several hundred dollars on a car seat and several hundred dollars on Christmas gifts at the same time. So, I combined the two together and my baby got a big girl car seat from Santa. Now, she got other gifts as well, but by balancing the gifts between the “need” and “want” category, one can wisely combine some major expenses at an age where they won’t know the difference.
So, here are a few of my favorite things to gift to a little lamb one year and under in both the “need” category and “want” category.
NEED CATEGORY FOR BABY ONE YEAR AND UNDER
FINN & EMMA ORGANIC WOODEN TEETHER (Multiple options, also have solid wood teethers too.)
LOULOU LOLLIPOP WOODEN & SILICONE TEETHER (Multiple options, kinds, and colors.)
Natursutten Teether (This has been a personal favorite in our house.)
Banana bibs for teething, eating, burping: Banana bibs are wonderful for baby’s teething stages. I use them to catch the massive amounts of drool that comes from baby when teething. Aden and Anais make a great “burpie bib.” It is a muslin burpie that converts into a bib as baby grows. I loved this bib because it covers baby’s shoulders too, which saves the outfit from more spills and stains. Here is a link to a lot of good bib options: BABY BIBS .
LITTLE UNICORN BANANA BIBS (I prefer the deluxe line of bamboo muslin by Little Unicorn because it is softer. However, I have been impressed by the quality of all their products.)
Blankets: I my opinion, you can never have too many baby blankets and swaddles; especially of the muslin type. We put some pretty heavy wear on these in our home so they are still at the top of the “need” category even in our toddler years. Here is a link to a large selection of BABY BLANKETS . I prefer bamboo muslin because it’s softer, however enjoy cotton muslin as well. My top three brands for bamboo muslin blankets are LouLou Lollipop, Little Unicorn, and Aden and Anais. Additional brands of muslin blankets I enjoy are Petit Pehr, and Modern Burlap.
Eating utensils, mats, and sippys:
EZPZ MATTES : WE LOVE EZPZ IN OUR HOUSE! In my opinion this is a must have. There are so many color and style options. They are microwave and dishwasher safe. Ours have been washed in the dishwasher and microwaved dozens of times and still look brand new.
Sleep Sacks: I am a huge fan of sleep sacks, who doesn’t love safe sleep? We utilized a sleep sack well past the first year every night. Our favorite brands are LOVES TO DREAM (love their swaddle UP! and swaddle 50/50) and NESTED BEAN (love their zen swaddle). Both companies have sleep sacks for stages from birth through toddler years.
Winter car seat/stroller muff: A stroller and car seat muff is essential if living in a geographical location with cooler weather. A car seat muff allows you to keep baby warm, insulated, and covered from weather conditions without having to hassle with a coat. A stroller muff allows for baby to still enjoy fresh air when it gets cooler. This is also helpful for parents who need to take a stroller in and out of buildings do errands and whatnot.
SKIP HOP STROLL & GO STROLLER MUFF (This comes in grey and black with infant and toddler sizes. I recommend starting with the toddler size for babies over six months. This muff is also multi-seasonal and will convert to different temperatures and climates.)
WANT CATEGORY FOR BABY ONE YEAR AND UNDER
Grow with me tricycle: I am all about a product with stages that can grow, adapt, and evolve along with baby. I would much rather invest in one tricycle that can work and last through all the growth stages from infancy to school age. In the end, spending more on a trike that can do more, will save you money and garage space.
RADIO FLYER 5-N-1 TRICYCLE (I love that this item can be used from early infancy on.)
JOOVY TRICYCOO 4.1 TRICYCLE (This product is cushioned and padded, which is great for little ones.)
QPLAY T600 MULTIPLE FUNCTION TRICYCLE (Love how this folds up.)
Grow with me activity center: Again, another product with stages that can grow with baby. A baby and family gets much more use out of an activity center than can go from a bouncer, to a interactive cruiser station, to a play table and chairs that will adapt through several years of growth stages.
ORIBEL 3-STAGE ACTIVITY CENTER (This product comes in two colors.)
Play gym & mat: I love the option of having a play gym and mat as two separate items. A play mat is also great for “none play” related baby use such as diaper changes, travel, sleep, etc. One can get a lot of use out of items when they can be used for other purposes. Plus, the Nook play mat is water resistant and also folds up quick and easy; making it an ideal choice for storage and travel.
FINN & EMMA PLAY GYM (This comes in three different wood stains and multiple options of hanging play toys.)
NOOK PEBBLE LILYPAD (This comes in multiple colors).
SKIP HOP VIBRANT VILLAGE ACTIVITY GYM (For those individuals who prefer to have an activity gym attached to the play mat, this is a fun option!)
Rocking Horse: Well this is a no-brainer, because what child doesn’t want a pony when they are little? The soft plush rocking animals are nice, I do like them. However, I prefer to a rocking animal that can withstand potential food and drink spills better than a plush animal that can’t be washed.
JOOVY SPOON WALKER (Multiple color options, removable food tray, and collapses to fold away for storage.)
STORK CRAFT MINI SPEEDSTER (Multiple color options, removable activity toy, snack tray.)
Push Toy: Shocker (insert sarcastic face here), I tend to favor push toys with more than one function. All of these push toys have more than one purpose. The first option doubles as a wagon. The second two options double as a shallow wagon with developmental building blocks. Who doesn’t love a two-in-one toy?
PLAN TOYS VAN WALKER (This comes in three colors.)
Baby Doll: I love baby dolls for little girls. But when they are so little it is nice to have an all plush/cloth doll, they make great starter dolls since they have no hard plastic surfaces.
Baby Stella Doll by Manhattan Toys. (Great first baby doll because they come in smaller sizes, and have a magnetic pacifier.)
I wish every parent good luck on their shopping adventures, and every family a wonderful holiday season!!