A quick Google of the ‘top ten Christmas gifts for babies’ brings up all manner of ideas from baby gyms to personalised sleep suits. But what do newborn babies really want for Christmas? The answer is really not a lot. Newborn babies have needs, not wants; the nurturing care of their parents can meet absolutely all of these!
So, do you need to buy anything?
It is easy to get sucked into the commercialism of Christmas but, personally, I’m all for just not buying a newborn baby anything for Christmas. We believe that we need to buy things for people to show them we care. Yet, we show our love throughout the year without prompting. I’m very anti buying stuff for the sake of stuff. However, there’s many motivations for giving a Christmas gift to a newborn. Perhaps you give gifts to older siblings and don’t want to miss out the little one; maybe their parents bought for your baby, so now you want to do the same for them. Whatever the motivation, how can you choose a gift that will be useful?
Christmas gifts for babies: making it count
If buying nothing really isn’t an option, then here are my suggestions for making gifts for newborns meaningful. There’s no point in buying something that will end up in landfill along with other frivolous festive purchases.
I had a think back to when my children’s first Christmases. Sure enough, for the most part I really can’t remember many gifts. That might say something about my memory, or lack of it. However, I think it says more about the gifts themselves. They were mostly disposable items and novelty gifts. Whilst it’s lovely that someone thought of my baby, the gifts themselves simply contributed to waste creation in the long run.
However, there were a few that stuck with me. My eldest still has an Eeyore teddy they got for their first Christmas. One year, a friend gave me a toaster; they had noticed mine was broken.
Some of the greatest gifts we have recieved over the years were the smallest. Some weren’t even ‘things’ at all.
What do the parents want for baby’s first Christmas?
Firstly, it’s a great idea to ask if there is anything that the parents want for their baby. Perhaps, they’d love a Christmas outfit for their newborn, on the other hand they may have five! Alternatively, they may be saving for something bigger that you could contribute to, a newborn photo shoot or a few days away as a family.
It takes away from the element of surprise, however it means you know it’s something they genuinely want and will to appreciate. Some things might not seem like they’re ‘for’ the baby but babies really don’t need things. Contributing to the family is just as special.
Is there anything the family need?
It might be tricky to shift your focus from the baby to the family as a whole. However, giving something that the family needs can take the pressure of the baby’s family over Christmas, and beyond. This benefits everyone. Maybe they need the next size up baby grows or cot bedding or perhaps they’re saving for a baby carrier, or a microwave. What they need doesn’t have to be baby related. Ask them if there is something that you could chip in on.
I know practical gifts often seem less exciting. On the other hand, they’re often the gifts that are most used if they’re something the recipients really need.
For baby’s first Christmas give your time
Is there something that you could do with or for the baby and their family? This doesn’t have to be anything massive or extravagant. You could offer to take older siblings out for the afternoon to give the parents some time with their newborn, You could cook a meal, help decorate a bedroom, crochet a blanket, arrange a day out together.
The possibilities here really are endless and the only limit is your imagination and creativity. It can also be a really nice way of having something to look forward to in the new year and spreads christmas gifting throughout the coming year. One of the nicest ‘Christmas presents’ we ever had as a family was a day at the zoo in June!
Keep it small and meaningful
Still stuck for ideas? My go-to here are small gifts that have been carefully thought about. It can be difficult if you’ve been given no direction at all, but if you know the parents well, you’ll have an idea of things they might like. Mixing in some practicality, sentiment and fun; a set of leg warmers in a funky pattern, a book you used to enjoy as a child, a framed photo of them with their baby, a stocking they can use year after year.
Whatever it is you choose, pop the receipt in an envelope with the gift Though it may seem harsh, it isn’t ungrateful. Better to exchange something than to have it sit unloved and unused until it ends up in the bin. They can swap it for something they want or need. There’s no need to feel bad, everyone gets it wrong sometimes…
A couple of years ago my daughter asked for a dressing gown. I spent ages choosing the one I thought was right for her. Alas, it was the wrong size, she hated the colour and it was too fluffy!
A gift is one way we show that we care. We often want to shower new arrivals with gifts. However, keep in mind that what the gift signifies, your love for the family, is much more important than anything you can gift wrap. There are many ways to show people you care. So, whether you choose to buy something, or nothing, we hope that newborns and their families are showered with love this Christmas, and always.
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Jeni Atkinson: a CalmFamily director and owner of Little Possums Preloved
Jeni is a wonderful, compassionate and inspiring woman: “Just because our parenting is gentle doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a difference, the way we raise our children will impact how they feel about themselves & the choices they make as they grow up.
I want to see things change in their lifetime, I want to fight back against the childist views of our patriarchal society, I want to see a world where children are allowed their own autonomy, that lets them learn for themselves & make their own mistakes. A society where diversity in all its forms is celebrated, where neurodiversity, mental health, sex & sexuality, gender, politics & all these subjects that are shied away from are talked about openly. A society where parents are inspired & supported to make the choices that work from them & their families. Oh & save the planet at the same time!”