How to Give Baby Gifts They'll Remember

Why do some baby gifts stand out from the crowd and others seem to get lost in the recipient's memory, never to be found again? Unsurprisingly, it has less to do with the cost of the baby gifts than with the thought that is put into them and the way they are given. Here’s how to choose and give the perfect gift so that it will be remembered for years to come.


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    Think about what the new parents need or want most right now. Start with the registry, if they have one.
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    Select a gift of an appropriate magnitude. The new baby’s Godparent, of course, is usually expected to give a “bigger” gift than one of the parents’ coworkers. You have plenty of range in the gift you choose, and of course you should stay within your means—the parents will understand—but neither appear too cheap nor too grandiose. Remember, the magnitude of a gift is not solely determined on how much it costs: the amount of time you put into a homemade gift, for example, is just as important.
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    Consider giving the gift of yourself. For example, a coupon to baby-sit, especially at night, is often a big hit with new parents. So are offers to do chores around the house, run errands, or make dinner. Simply give enclose your “gift certificate” in a card, and let the parents redeem it when they need some help. Be sure, of course, to follow through on your commitment.
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    Choose a gift that will remind the parents of you. If you’re a songwriter, write a song (or, if you want to stick to registry, get a musical toy), or if you’re the parents’ insurance agent give the new arrival a security blanket. Don’t limit your thinking to your occupation, however. Think of an attribute or experience that one or both of the parents most associates you with and choose a gift that will evoke that.
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    Package the gift attractively. Even an expensive gift looks cheap if it’s delivered in a plain paper bag. Choose unique wrapping papers, and take the time to wrap your gift well. Don’t restrict yourself to store-bought papers, of course: you can package your gift in a number of creative ways, such as a diaper cake or a stork diaper delivery.
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    Create a themed ensemble of gifts. A creatively bundled package of small gifts is always memorable. For one thing, many small items take longer to open and thus can appear “larger” than a single gift of comparable magnitude. For another, bundling gifts also allows you to be creative. Put together a "Nursing Survival Kit," for example, with breast pads, Lansinoh cream, frozen peas (to ease nursing soreness), and a copy of a book like “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” Or create a "Sleep Like a Baby" gift basket with a soft baby blanket, a white noise CD, and some herbal teas.
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    Include everything the new parents will need to enjoy your baby gift. For example, if your present requires batteries, include a small package of batteries (the correct type, of course) with it. You don't even need to give the whole pack—just the right amount for the item you've given.
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    Put the gift together for them. The best baby gifts for new parents are those that require no work on their part to enjoy.
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    Include a gift receipt. They may love what you've gotten, but they may have also received two or three baby gifts just like it. Make it easy to return yours, and they'll be grateful.
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    Include your full name and address discreetly on the card. This makes it easy for the sleep-deprived parents to keep track of the gifts and write you a thank-you note. Better yet, write your own stamped, self-addressed thank you note! If the new parents are close friends and have a sense of humor, they'll appreciate this trick. Write yourself a Thank You note from them, with humorous options they can check off, such as: “We loved the gift and we think you're the best,” or “Thanks for the gift, but we hate it so we'll be returning it.” Of course, it's all meant in fun.


  • If the parents need a particularly expensive item, try joining together with friends, family members, or coworkers to purchase it together.
  • With all the focus on the new baby, it’s easy to forget that the parents have lives outside child-raising, and those lives will be lot harder to lead once the baby is born. Consider giving a gift especially for the parents’ pleasure, such as a gift certificate for a massage, a weekend getaway at the beach (make sure they can choose from a wide or unlimited range of dates), or even coffee.
  • If the parents have registered for baby gifts, choose something from the registry.
  • Think about buying larger sized baby clothing or several sizes (small and large). It is cute to get teeny little clothes, but the little bundle of joy will get bigger quickly!
  • When giving a gift certificate, try to get one that has no expiration date or at least has an expiration date that is quite distant. Parents are busy, as everyone knows, and they may not get around to using the gift certificate right away.
  • Want to be different? Swim lessons are available for infants beginning at only a few weeks. Look for those classes at a reputable swimming school. It's a great bonding for parents and baby. Make sure the parents are comfortable with the idea. Bring them literature to go over before you commit to buying the gift. Babies still have many of the instincts and it is easier to get them comfortable with the water early.
  • When you purchase the gift(s) be sure to get a gift receipt from the store(s) where you did your shopping, and include it in the baby shower card. This not only makes it easier for parents to make returns or exchanges, but lets them know you do not take it personally if they do decide to return your gift.
  • Try putting an all purpose gift basket or stocked baby bag together. Include some smaller items from the registry that you can never seem to get enough of (onesies, bibs, wash clothes) and put it in a basket with lotions, diaper rash creams, Dreft or other baby washing powder, Lysol disinfectant spray, infant Tylenol and Advil, Ipecac, baby aspirin, oatmeal bath powders, Anbesol, a bottle brush and bottle. Think of those items that often send a new parent off to the store in the middle of the night and include those. Include a few Tide or Clorox stain stick pens for the parents to keep handy. You can also add sample sized wipes, lotions, hand sanitizer that could be tossed into a baby bag. Often they stock up on the household size items but forget the little sizes to include in the diaper bag.
  • If they haven't already received a safety gift you should put one together for them. Include extra fire and carbon monoxide sensors, fire extinguisher, outlet covers for electric plugs, cabinet door fasteners, alarm sensors for doors and stair areas, baby gates, baby cam for the babies room, etc. Give this a month or so before the baby is due, bring some tools and help them with the installations. Also toss in a baby first aid book and kit.
  • Gift cards are key. They give parents the opportunity to shop for their baby, without spending their money!
  • Make a less expensive gift stand out with creative wrapping. Instead of just a bow, decorate your box with a rattle and a bib or hot glue other usable items to the outside of the package.
  • A great gift from parents is a carpet cleaning service. Pay to have the new parent's home carpet steam cleaned. Try to arrange this shortly before the birth or after they are home and settled. The week of is a bit busy a time. Even fairly new carpets have chemicals or toxins in them. Older carpets have dust and dirt. Peace of mind is a great gift.
  • If you want to get a big gift that's functional, get several large boxes of diapers from Sam's or Costco. They probably already have the little sizes but get big boxes of the bigger sizes. The 100ct boxes in the next 5 diaper sizes can be stored until they are needed but It's nice to have that next size handy the way kids grow out of them.
  • Give gift certificates to a few restaurants near their home. Chances are they won't have lots of time to cook. You can arrange these in a vase with the cards hot glued to small dowels and arrange it to look like a flower arrangement. Or, get an inexpensive flower arrangement and add the gift certificate dowels into it. Offer a variety of foods: pizza, Mexican, Steak, deli, or even grocery or gas cards. They really come in handy when you're trying to adjust to new expenses and less time out. Anything that delivers is even better. You can pick these certificates up along the pregnancy so you are only needing to pick up the flowers and add the rest the day you deliver it.
  • Give them a photo session with a local photographer. If possible, arrange for one session before the baby is born with the expectant parents and another family portrait with the infant. Contact a reputable studio and they may be willing to divide the sitting fees.
  • Have the parents' baby blankets combined to make a very special quilt for the newborn. You can also include a swatch from the wedding dress, boy scout uniforms, swatches from the parents' clothes as children. Talk to the parents' parents and grandparents and you'd be surprised what people hold onto.
  • Gift your services to come over, cook and do the dishes for 2 or 3 of their first nights home. If there are lots of family already in town you can offer it when the family has departed and things start to slow down. Take them to go from their favorite restaurants or prepare a dish (lasagna, breakfast casseroles, quiche, roast, stew, etc.) That will leave behind plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day or two. Encourage them to eat healthier options to help with their energy levels and keep everyone healthy while they are adjusting.
  • God Parents or other close family can also contribute a long term gift in the form of a savings bond.
  • Write a note or poem to show the parents how happy you are for them. This makes any gift more special.
  • Most new parents today prefer practical over pretty; this is especially true for parents who may be a little short on cash. When in doubt, diapers and hygiene products (i.e. baby shampoo or lotion or diaper rash cream) are always good choices.
  • A handmade baby quilt is an excellent gift that can be cherished for years after. So if you know anyone in the family, or a close friend even, who can make you one. Then gather the family round and choose baby quilt patterns together to make the gift that bit more special.


  • Don’t try to outdo other gift-givers. Just because you can afford to spend more than most people doesn’t necessarily mean you should do so, especially if you’re only a casual acquaintance of the parents. An extravagant gift may indeed be remembered, but not necessarily in a good way.
  • Don't assemble any baby gifts unless you are absolutely positive the new parents want what you've gotten them. Remember, baby gifts that are put together aren't so easily returned, only assemble a gift if you're buying something off the registry (and you can be reasonably sure that no one else has purchased the same gift) or when the recipients have specifically asked for what you're giving them.
  • Do not send personalized gifts unless you know the family well. It's too easy to misspell the name (even common names like John and Mary can be spelled Jon and Mari), and you don't know what the parents will really end up calling the child. They may have named her Margaret, but intend to only call her Peggy. If you send a personalized piggy bank with Margaret on it, the child may never see it.
  • Don't give blankets. With the sleep recommendations these days, parents can't use the blankets with infants.

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Categories: Gifts for Children | Baby Showers