Friday, August 01, 2008

Standardized baby gifts

My one-stop shopping idea means finding a standard gift for the 10+ babies expected this year--many of them to work colleagues.

Diapers are almost always appreciated, but seem a little, well, disposable. I picked through a cardboard crate of books at Kroger. Dust-jacketed hardbacks like Waddle Waddle Quack Quack were marked only $1.79.

What do you think about diapers with a book--or a meal, where appropriate--for a no-ship, grocery gift?

Do you shop individually for each new baby, or do you have a standard, signature gift?

100 comments:

Meredith said...

Sorry if you also shop my Kroger--I took the 8 Waddle Waddle Quack Quacks I found to stockpile for this fall!

anita said...

About once or twice a year I am able to shop at one or the other of two outlet malls that are within a 100-mile radius of where I live. One of my stops is always the Carter outlet, where I am able to pick up great quality items for newborns at a fraction of the cost of new. Usually I hit the 75% off racks. I stash them in a trunk in my closet and when a need for a baby gift arises, I pull out an item for boy or girl and wrap it up! I have tons of gift bags for babies from my daughter's baby showers that she didn't want to keep, so never a need to purchase new.

Suzanne said...

I actually really like the diapers as a standard gift. I received several packs of diapers in different sizes, which was great that I had them waiting for when we needed it. This is what I've been doing for baby gifts. Oh, and baby wipes, too.

I've also done some gift cards to restaurants in small amounts (like $15). This is great for the new mom who's too exhausted to cook, even if it's fast food.

Mar said...

Like Anita, I stock pile from sales, but if it's a "special" baby for a close friend, I'll usually buy something different/else because I'm closer to the parents.

Jeana said...

A hooded towel paired with baby bath and lotion is a good standard gift.

AnnMarie said...

I'd nix the diapers gift unless you are absolutely certain it's the kind they'll use. I only ever used two brands, and had I known about 7th generation when we started, only one. I would have given away anything else. Well, actually, we did use Luvs or something when my MIL ignored our request for her to get Target brand for our visit and I thought they were absolutely horrid (baby powder smell!). Some folks quickly find that this brand or that doesn't fit their baby right or causes rashes or they outgrow the size (or take forever to grow into the size).

While I would have loved diapers as a gift, since they get expensive, I wouldn't have appreciated any old brand.

But a meal? Oh, wow, that would have been so greatly appreciated!

I don't have many babies in my life (like 1-2 a year). My "standard" gift is something handmade, like an afghan, bibs, dolls, etc. Along with new items DD never used (well, that worked only for the last couple years, now she's too old) that we had set aside.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Most of my friends are now past the baby-having stage, but I did enjoy stockpiling gifts back in the day! If there were specific needs mentioned, of course I would try to fill the exact need. But for those who already had all the usual baby gear or were not in need of the practical things like diapers, it was fun to find something unique. I love the idea of being creative and saving money too. The books are a great idea!

Happy day,
Melissa

Ewokgirl said...

I'm a former English teacher, so my standard gift is board books. I believe in literacy from birth. ;-)

Right now, though, I have some handmade sets of bibs and burp cloths that I bought from the seamstress we hired to make one of my husband's costumes.

Anonymous said...

If I know the person well enough, I like to give a nursing gift. It contains things like Lanisoh, nursing pads, Mother's Milk tea, and small bottle of local honey for sweetening. We are quite frugal and this is not the cheapest gift but if it helps nursing to go well it's almost priceless to mother and child. I'm painfully aware of how quickly outfits are outgrown so don't do those unless a steal. And I don't know people tastes. So the nursing basket has been a helpful, consumable, appreciated (I'm told months later) gift. I also tell new Moms to call me with any questions and really mean it.

As a former teacher, I adore books. Go, Meridith! They are used over and over and perhaps for multiple children. I order five or six surefire favorites at a time and keep them in the gift tote. And meals are wonderful. I often take them over when the baby is a couple of months old and all the initial help they've been getting is over.

Cindy

P.S. Nursing moms can have honey in their tea. Their digestive tract takes care of it. Don't feed it to the baby!

Veiled Glory said...

As a knitter, I am fond of making hat & bootie sets, in white or some other neutral baby color. Then I buy a small toy, like a teething ring or stuffed teddy to complete the gift set. Gets ooohs & awwws every time!

Karen said...

I shop for each individual occasion and don't maintain a gift closet so much (except for a small stash that's usually for my own kids). I'm afraid I'll forget what I have and it will go unused or become not as appropriate.

However, I do think a standard idea list is good. I love giving (and getting) children's books as gifts, and I keep in mind some of our family's other favorite toys, etc. as being good and reasonably priced b-day gifts. (I just started a blog about our favorite children's books and so my friends and family will likely be getting books as the standard gifts for quite some time.)

For Christmas I like to start in the fall, after I've come up with ideas, and try to work the sales the best I can.

Molly said...

I actually do a combination of both. Every new baby gets diapers and wipes. I know they will be used, they are ALWAYS appreciated, they are easy to find. That is my "take to the hospital gift." Then, for the bris, or the naming, or the first visit, it bring something personal: clothes, books, etc.

Melody said...

My standard gift is usually a mother's bracelet. Some of my favorite gifts from my showers were ones for me, so why not? It does help that I have my jewelry business though. I'm still trying to find a good standard gift for moms I'm not as close to though.

Anonymous said...

Books, & usually someting I've made. I love to knit, & have a good, easy-to-make sweater pattern that can be customized a few different ways. It's fun for me, & it's something that mosts moms have told me they appreciate.

Brenda

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Lately my standard is a baby sling that would best suit the Mama, but that gets quite pricey. So, books are also a favorite of mine. And when I am on the receiving end, I must say I LOVE it when the gift is a meal!!

Steph

Caroline said...

I always buy the sweetest board book "Time for Bed" by Mem Fox. Sometimes this is the only gift if it is just for an aquaintance. Sometimes I give it with a meal or a cute outfit. If it is for a very close friend or family member, I give it with some big item from their gift registry.

Books make excellent baby gifts! A lot of the time new parents don't consider the importance of books when they are stocking up on baby gear. We started collecting them when I was pregnant and began reading to our son when he was in the womb.

Good idea, Meredith!

TJ said...

I knit a cap for most of the babies. I've also knitted several "Baby's First Blankie" and have a little poem that goes on the tag. I also like to pick up books on clearance, and have purchased homemade soap to round out the gifts.

Queen of Carrots said...

I always give the washable, snap-up front bibs that have saved my children's clothes from complete destruction at every meal from age six months to four. Meijer, where we grocery shop, carries them. They're not very fancy or personal (or expensive), but I can attest that they are very practical.

Nancy said...

I don't have a standard gift at this point, but was just thinking that in doing the grocery shopping (I don't know if you include drug store stops like CVS or Walgreens), you could easily pick up some of the other staples like baby wash or lotion, diaper rash cream, etc. Even if new parents don't end up regularly using the brand you buy, it's helpful in the beginning to have some choices so they can find out what they prefer.

gclyne said...

Well, my standard baby gift is to sew a custom nursing wrap (as you know *wink*) if I know the mother intends to breastfeed. I love homemade gifts and making something I think will appeal a new mom's personal style! But if nursing is not the plan for the mom, I go for books.

Shelly said...

My "standard" baby gift is a few of the flannel/terry cloth burp cloths I like to sew. They are always well received. Sometimes I add another little something that I find on sale...baby wash, socks, rubber duckie, book, etc.

I also just recently started making a little bath "lolly". That with some bath wash makes a cute gift.

I made my sister a diaper cake, but that was expensive and I wouldn't do it for just anyone! Although, I always appreciated diapers as a gift. Having six kids (so far!) I don't need much, but diapers will always be used!

Mrs. Mordecai said...

Oh, I love stockpiling. Once I found ten beautiful baby books for $1 each, so I bought them all. Although it's fun to go shopping for each new baby, sometimes it's just more practical to do it all at once.

Mod Girl said...

Unless pressed for time my standard baby gift is embroidered burp cloths trimmed with ribbon. For special friends and/or close family member I will often embroider something (dress, bib, etc) that is a little more special than a spit-up rag.

Anonymous said...

Well, yes, my gift is pretty 'standard' for all who I give gifts too. When a day care parent has a baby, (I know that child will be in my care too) when there is a new baby in the family, I always give the same gift. I buy a dozen cloth diapers, a dozen cloth wash cloths, and some washing soap for baby. I wrap it all in a home made cloth blanket. (I watch for baby print fabric to go on sale and buy it then) My gifts last for years. (except the soap of coarse) I am told they are appreicated. Even if a mother does not use the cloth diapers as diapers they make wonderful burp cloths etc. I spend about $25.00 per gift. That is my limit. Roxie

Kari said...

I love to sew, so lately I have been making baby gifts. Little leather Robeez-like shoes have been a big hit, as have baby sleep sacks (for the little one that has grown past the swaddle stage, but is not old enough to sleep with a blanket safely). Both take some time and effort but end up being quite inexpensive to make (the shoes are only a couple of dollars each to make, and the sleep sacks end up at well under $10).

Camille said...

I also knit and keep around cream colored booties, hats, and sweaters. Baby girls also get a pair of ruby red Mary-Jane booties (like Oz) and boys get a pair of booties that look like sneakers/athletic shoes -- both hand knit as well. I do the baby items between big projects or "on the go" as they are small and easy to transport.

Meredith said...

Such creative handmade ideas here!

I love that kind of thing, but since many of these gifts will be coming "from the boss," I feel like I need to have something storebought or of a specific value. The problem is that I won't have TIME to go to Target 10 times in the next several months!

I will check the registry online, though, to see if there is a diaper brand preference first.

It is quite different if I am giving to a friend, though.

Cat said...

Kind of a mix, I guess. I've been watching clearance sales for cute outfits to put back for those I don't know so well (someone in dh's military unit or something like that). For a close friend I know pretty well, I'd tend to give something like a homemade blanket, something off their registry list, organic clothing or nursing or cloth diapering supplies for those inclined, and of course, a meal or two as well. With baby number four born last January, meals were the absolute BEST gift all around!

I stay away from disposable diapers unless they've been requested. Some people prefer particular brands or cloth diapers (including myself). Hats and booties rarely fit so I avoid those, as well as teensy tiny outfits unless they fit the aforementioned really low cost category and are going to someone I don't know well.

Cat said...

Forgot something. Maybe this is weird, but I still pull out things (on baby #4) and think "so and so gave us this with baby number'x'"...guess I like the nostalgia that goes with something lasting which is another reason I prefer not to do diapers, though I can understand why they can also be a welcome gift in some instances.

Meredith said...

Just remembering back when we were new parents living on 1 teachers salary--I could find nearly any other baby item used/cheap, but disposable diapers were our biggest budget-breaker.

I'm glad y'all reminded me to check the registry for diaper preference, though. Most moms include at least some indication of their diaper plans there.

Meredith said...

That's why I'd like to include something non-disposable, like a book, if I do give diapers.

I treasure those little baby gift memories!

Edi said...

My MIL likes having standard gifts for different occasions (she hates shopping)...I think for babies she usually gives a bowl/cup/plate/cutlery set...

I don't really have a standard gift...I do like making up gift baskets and will fill it with miscellaneous stuff. I do like giving books (I think it would be so cool to have a book shower for a mother-to-be)...clothes if I can get a great deal (and I prefer to give clothes that are for larger than a newborn b/c they grow out of those so fast)...blue or pink baby hangers, bibs, baby wipes etc.

Diapers are so expensive - that I was glad to receive them, regardless of the brand...they all ended up being used :)

Jenny's Vegcafe said...

I think diapers and a book are a great gift idea. You know the diapers will be used and not clutter.
I got so many receiving blankets and 0-3 clothes that I was glad to get diapers.

Webster's said...

I have been lurking for months, but I had to share my "standard" gift idea. If it is someone i am close to, I always do something more in addition to this. But, the standard baby shower or new baby gift from me is a small gift bag full of all the necessary infant medications. Ibuprofen, Tylenol, teething tablets, gas drops, Oragel, gripe water. This is something that I can stock up on when it goes on sale, I can purchase the generic versions, get them free after rebate, or get them at midnight the night before the shower at the grocery store if I forget. I have had many mother's call and tell me that it was so nice to have it all there together when they had a sick or teething child. This would work nicely for your "one-stop-shop" theory!

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Our dollar store occaisonally carries padded baby hangers. I usually buy several packages and dress them up with ribbons or flowers or something boyish (cute little frog buttons!) to include with diapers. I love books - we almost always give them for kid's birthday gifts.

Anonymous said...

I am strongly opposed to the use of disposable diapers and would never dream of giving them to anyone. Cloth diapers will never break your budget. My granddaughter is the 5th baby to wear my stash of cloth diapers. Her mother was the first to wear them! I prefer to give handmade gifts or something like a cute bucket with laundry soap and maybe a Mrs. Meyer's nursery cleaning product.

Martha A. said...

I pick up nice baby board books whenever I find them, if I find baby stuff cheap like onsies, rattles, socks etc that everyone can use, I get those too so I have them throughout the year.

Meredith said...

It's an interesting problem--giving people things they may not want or use.

I suspect that moms who are picky about products (myself included, in some cases) would be picky about most any gift you give.

The same even applies to handmade gifts. how many less-than-beautiful, but made-with-love quilts did we receive? More than we could ever use or store.

Same with food--what if I send a meal that's not using every single product your family prefers?

In this age of careful parenting, giving a gift is NOT easy.

That's what registries are for. And yet, you shouldn't have to feel like you must buy from the registry or present a gift card because you're too scared to choose at all.

Give the gift you want to give, but include a gift receipt when possible.

Anonymous said...

Old Navy has a great sale at the moment - cute jammies and half price baby clothes. I got some organic cotton onsies there last month for half price.
We have the same crate of books in our Jewel (Chicago) for $l.79 - good deal !

Tubo Family said...

I don't have a standard gift but I do tend to buy in sets. Most recently it was "That Baby CD," purchased directly from the family business that made it. If the family's money seems tight I try to go for gift card or something on their registry. If my budget is tight then a book bought on sale. A good generic gift has been this nifty place mat, http://www.kiddopotamus.com/p_tiny.php now available at Walgreens & Walmart for easy shopping.

Shannon@Idylwild said...

Hopefully, the people we give gifts to do appreciate the thought, too. Of course that's no excuse for a shoddy gift, but we could drive ourselves crazy trying to guess what a person would want or be overwhelmed trying to come up with just the right thing. I think it's important to put thought into a gift, but it's just as important to receive gifts with a grateful attitude:)

Anonymous said...

I think if the gift is from "the boss" I would go for something that looked a bit extravagant and not as practical as diapers (and people definitely have preferences in brands!) I think the gift from the boss should be more impressive than from an equal co-worker. You are good with baskets, so I would do something pretty with food for the family and including, of course, something for the little one with books always a good option. If there are siblings, it would nice to tuck in a little surprise in the gift basket for them, too. I have found that babies get an obscene amount of clothes that they can't possibly wear before they outgrow. New moms appreciate food and some pampering products for herself way more than another cute little outfit. With some ribbon and your talent, I am sure you can put together an over-the-top basket for the price of a department store gift that looks like everyone else's.

Anonymous said...

My husband is a senior minister of a fairly large church in our community, so I needed a "standard" gift for new babies in the congregation. It had to be fairly frugal, yet something with a special touch, since it comes from the "minister's wife." So, I put together a small basket of practical things (wipes, lotion, etc.) that I try to stock up on when I have coupons or there's a great deal at CVS. To add a personal touch, I include the local newspaper from the baby's birthday, tying it with a pretty ribbon. Moms usually love to have this for the baby album, and it's fun to look back years later to see that day's news and events. We take the paper, so there is no extra cost involved there, and I try to keep everything else in the $10 - $12 range. Obviously, the newspaper idea only works after the baby is born, and not for a shower beforehand. I love to give books as Christmas/birthday presents to children of any age!

Shauna

Heather said...

I am the 'books and homemade bib' giver - and I always throw in some homemade salt scrub or brown sugar scrub for the new mama. All the new mamas know what they'll get before they open it - I pray for guidance over which books to give from my stockpile - which I pick up for a song from our favorite Christian book warehouse - and they often say they are the child's favorite. I have my husband (who is a very tidy printer) write a blessing for the baby in the book and a verse. It makes it easy and memorable.

connie said...

My standard baby gift is art work for the baby's room. I began this when I was teaching and raising my children as a single mom...it was the most special and yet most frugal thing I could give. I usually paint a small painting of an animal or child's toy. Now that my children are grown and I have more money, I frame it in a nice frame. I have had mothers mention my gift years later ane that meant a lot to me. Connie

Anonymous said...

Knitters!

I want to know WHICH baby sweater you knitters are making! The Baby Surprise Jacket? The Mason-Dixon baby wrap jacket? Another? And are you making the sweaters out of acrylic so that they're washable? Or out of sweet warm wool?

Because I don't have a standard gift ... and I love knitting.

For the last baby ... a friend's daughter having her baby in Mexico, I just sent a silver-plated spoon that my friend could tuck into her luggage. I got the spoons on clearance and stockpiled several. Maybe a spoon plus a book? Maybe a knitted gift and a nice book?

I think I will also check out the books at our Kroger!

Jora -- Oh! And I would have loved diapers. After all, they're disposable, so I think it's nice to try a brand I didn't usually try. Maybe I'd have learned to prefer the different brand.

Lea said...

...well, I'm a crocheter but I also give books at times when I can find them in the next to nothing bin at Barnes & Noble or Borders... Last year I picked up 3 Eric Carle "Very Hungry Caterpillar" mini board books and crocheted a stuffed caterpillar for each book... they gift was a HUGE success

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

My standard gift is a knit baby "elf bonnet"--pattern off etsy here:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?ref=vt_related_1&listing_id=12478103

and EVERYONE loves it--distant family, close friends, even at baby showers. It's small, but with a handmade card (with a sincere note attached works wonders). I've also been putting in a very* small gift that I can match to the mom (if I know her), for example, some cute earrings from target (obviously, one has to know this woman's style, or it doesn't really work) but EVERY SINGLE TIME I've "guessed" at the style--it worked and they loved it. Mom's get tons of baby stuff, but often get overlooked on their own beauty needs after a baby is born.

With my bonnet, card, and small pair of earrings, one can do it for just under $7.00. One skein of yarn produces 3 bonnets! For $1.99, that's not bad!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

My favorite book for a baby is the board book called I Am a Bunny. Stephanie had it when she was a baby thirty years ago and they STILL sell it. If it a first baby, I like Goodnight Moon (which is available in board book form now).

If this is a third or fourth child for a family, I almost always get a gift for the mom instead of the baby. I figure that woman needs a gift.

Meredith said...

Well, perhaps I'll nix the diaper idea after all.

If I go with a gift card, I'll feel obligated to have a bigger amount "from the boss"--and that is going to get so expensive, FAST.

But I don't think I can reliably count on enough new-with-tag treasures from yard sales and thrift stores.

Hmmm...maybe we'll just try to do the extravagant meal/gift basket thing. At least that would be consumable, and a book makes for a nice tall element in the back.

So hard! Especially times 10!

MrsKamorri said...

I make hooded towels using a washcloth, bath towel and about a foot of grosgrain ribbon. It ends up costing about $7 per baby and 15 minutes of my time. I use the nicest towels that Walmart carries (nice plushy ones) and they're big enough to last until age 10 or so. My kids use theirs all the time and love them. Everyone I've given one to has mentioned it at some point in the future which I take as a good sign :)

I'd be thrilled to get a book for a baby gift! And diapers are never a bad thing, even when the family normally uses cloth.

http://homesteadblogger.com/lindseyinal

Dana said...

I ususally buy the mom a present, instead of the baby. I buy a nice nightgown, sometimes with a robe. If I know Mom is going to be breastfeeding, I get a nursing gown. Moms have always appreciated being thought of along with the baby.

Blessings--
Dana

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

I think your idea is perfect! I ran across a wonderful bind up of three classic Robert McCloskey books on the clearance rack at Border's. I bought all ten copies for $2.00 each. Paired with a package of diapers, or a sweet little personally embellised onesie, it makes for a very nice gift. I think you scored big!

texasmcvays said...

I am a diaper girl. I always give diapers or I give all the baby supplies no one wants to give because they are disposable like gas drops, baby wash etc... I like the idea of adding a book and will probably start doing that too. I have a $10-12 budget per shower and I may go to as many as 10 showers in a year. We have a baby making church!

Empty Nest Full Life said...

I have been giving diapers and wipes and here is the reason: When my first child was born 26 years ago last week, I was given so many diapers that my closet(tiny one that we had was stacked with different sizes of diapers. This was so helpful. With the other expenses of having a new baby this gave us a little financial break for quite some time, and for that I was very grateful! I think a book to go along with the diapers is a great idea.

Anonymous said...

I am not at the age yet that my friends are having babies, but my mother always used to give a set of old-fashioned wooden blocks as a baby gift. Works for both genders, can be reused with multiple babies, is toxin-free, etc...

jessica @pianomomsicle said...

i like to give a pack of onesies, usually 9 or 12 months ones. My friends have all been really appreciative when the baby is a little older and they don't have to go buy more basics. So many people forget that babies get bigger!

i generally give a more personal gift along with the onesies, but that is the "general" gift. i get coupons from Gerber all the time and look for them on clearance.

Suzanne said...

I have standard signature gifts, and my latest for babies is found on Etsy. For ONLY $10.50, I found the prettiest burp clothes and everyone loves them. They're handmade and look as if they cost much much more! Love them.

Janette said...

My sister gavve my daughter a book shower. "Bring the book you loved as a child." It was wonderful.
My standard is diapers (I go ahead and ask type), cardboard book, gentle wipes and something for mom (bath salts, lotion, candle)

Kristy said...

I haven't stockpiled any gifts for babies yet-though I should-there have been 40 babies born in our church in the last 2 years...but the best gift I ever received as a new mom(it was a bit weird, but oh-so-practical) was underwear from Victoria's Secret. It wasn't frilly, lacey stuff-just cotton kind, but soooo appreciated after the 9-month-stretch of the old ones...lol

Sheri said...

This is for the knitter!

If the gift is for a special friend, I knit any cardigan by Debbie Bliss, usually in washable wool (often DK weight), though once I made a gorgeous cotton-blend cable one for a friend in Arizona. Be aware that Bliss sweaters run BIG--"6 mos." can easily fit when the baby is wearing American 9-12 mos. clothes.

I've used several different patterns from her baby books. The most useful Bliss book, I think, is *Quick Baby Knits*--although many are not exactly what I'd call quick. My all-time favorite pattern is the embroidered sweater and shoes from that book.

If I know the person less well, I whip out a pair of the embroidered shoes, often substituting a striped top for the embroidery. They are very clever little moccasin-style things that everyone loves, and they fit longer than regular booties. These take only one 50g ball of DK yarn. I've made them in both wool and cotton.

I also often make a totally precious hat with earflaps and (get this!) a widow's peak. It's a great match for the booties, but the pattern is vintage and Danish . . .

Depending on the situation, I sometimes make a (truly) quick cardigan from either the Yarn Girls book or *Big Fish, Little Fish*. Knitting on size 9-10.5 needles, I can make a little sweater in a couple of weeks.

I've made a few blanket and hat sets, but only for our children and godchildren!

Good luck, and happy knitting.

hsgbdmama said...

I don't have many babies to give for either, but have always gone for literacy and practicality.

A classic children's story (preferably in board book format) and supplies, such as baby wash (both regular and the nighttime), lap pads (they work great as portable changing pads) and either a sleep-n-play, fleece jammies or a baby blanket have served as a nice gift package.

Mrs. Noonzie said...

I like to buy a package of wipes refills. Then I buy a wipes travel case and cover it in batting and fabric and trim to hide the edges. If I'm feeling generous, I'll make a matching burp cloth. I can often use fabric I already have that I bought on clearance.

Margo said...

As the mother of 2, the youngest only 3 months old, the memory of baby gifts is very fresh! I most appreciated meals and other consumables (like baby wash, OTC medicine, wipes). That way, if the gift wasn't really to my taste, I knew I could just use it up and not have to worry about how to pass it on. I agree with whoever said that babies get obscene amounts of clothing. But baby clothes are irresistably cute, so people really enjoy picking them out for gifts.

I think your idea of a book and diapers is fine, Meredith. You have a flair for packaging that will make the gift really special and most mothers appreciate practicality over extravagance. Plus, you will be knee-deep in your own baby and little ones, so having such a quick pull-together gift will pay dividends in your own life :)

songbirdy said...

Typically I do a meal, but I inquirer with the family prior to the birth to find out what they like to eat, if there are allergies, and what food issues I might need to consider. I used to be a semi professional cook and I've never had some one say no yet. Typically I'll buy inexpensive dishes/crockware at the thrift store so that they don't have to return the dish to me afterwards. And I'll make a very personalize home-made card to accompany the gift.

If it is something special, I've often knit up the Baby Bolero from One Skein by Leigh Radford, pg 62. I knit this up in a quality cotton. I figure its baby friendly, wash friendly and eventually it will pill but honestly! Its not meant to stay around forever!

Typically I pick colours that aren't baby-ish but more what I've seen the mother wear.

And if I truly want to do something special, I've not got the baby anything but did something for the mother (sometimes new clothes, shampoos and fun stuff like scented candles/oils) to make her hopefully feel more lively after the birth!

oh... and in the spring, I'll sometimes get a bunch of flowers for their flower beds or a planter for their house. Something with a little longer shelf life than a bunch of flowers.

Angela in MS said...

Wow---the books were a steal and so special too! I love books, but have to wait for great bargains.

I combine methods of gift-giving. I usually keep gift bags and tissue paper on hand as well as any "spa" gifts for mom and baby---usually organic stuff found on clearance. I sometimes tie on trial sized products with ribbon.

I give diapers for a spur of the moment gift. For close friends and family I buy brand name clothes on clearance ahead of time and make a freezer meal.

Once I found a clearance of various styles of Kalencom diaper bags for $5 a piece. Because it was a New Orleans brand that moms in the South would recognize and appreciate, I stocked up. Everyone I knew having a baby that year got one! For my sister, I filled up a black leather backpack with the usual diaper bag products and made a diaper cake with 7th generation diapers. (Of course, I made a freezer lasagna for her too---her favorite.) I even kept one of the bags for myself---decisions, decisions!

My Boaz's Ruth said...

For my baby, my boss gave me something off my registry (that ended up not working for me so I eventually got rid of, but I still remember the thoughtfulness of her going to my registry and getting me something I actually wanted!) And then put it in this awesome, vivid red bag!

One of the other gifts I remember vividly was "Packed" in a basket with a cute blue cover on it.

Kim N said...

I think books are always a great book for any age. Also, I loved the unusual gifts I got that I had never seen. The little hand baby food grinder and the card with the explanation of how my coworker used it with her child was one I remember. Also, gift cards or gifts from major stores that include a gift receipt are always nice.

My Boaz's Ruth said...

Another thought: Are these 10 women who are pregnant all direct reports to your husband? If not, maybe he doesn't need to do anything at all.

My direct manager got me a gift for my baby shower. But her manager didn't, nor did the department manager or the overall manager in the office

I did get flowers after the baby was born at home, from the office in general. that is something they do for all new babies/people in the hospital/etc. It seems.

Anonymous said...

Go to a store that has a nice box, like Baby Gap, and get clearance infant items for boys/girls each season. Make sure to ask for enough boxes for each gift. You can get a really nice outfit for less than $10 or pieces for very little sometimes. Store the boxes flat with the clothes in a special drawer, and when you give the sweet outfit wrapped in that nice white box with a simple bow on top, it looks like a treat and the clothes are too!

Anonymous said...

My standard gift (to which I never deviate)is diapers. I usually give size 3 or 4, since that's when they really start getting expensive.

I've never met a person IRL who uses cloth diapers. If I did, I'd have to come up with another gift for them.

Christi said...

I don't have a standard gift, but I'm thinking maybe I should! I usually average 3 baby showers a year and I do something different for each one. Both of the ones (a few months ago & next Friday) I've been to lately have been for close friends, so I've done a little something more.

gracemercyandpeace said...

Your book + sounds just right for the office.

I know a pastor's wife on a very limited budget who gives the same favorite Bible story book to every new baby in their church. It's her signature, she doesn't show favoritism this way either!

Last night attended the 9th BRIDAL shower this summer.

My standard bridal shower gift is a practical, under $10 kitchen tool* from her registry + a wonderful book on hospitality written by a friend. We buy the books in bulk for this purpose.

deb meyers

Jane said...

How about staying with the education theme since your dh is in education. And just give books? Does he have access to Scholastic Book order? They have an "book club" called Firefly that is for preschoolers and always includes board books for 95 cents. Or regular scholastic book order has a range. You could do the theme of reading from the beginning and include a board book, a couple of picture books at various levels. Also, when you order from scholastic you get bonus points and can use those to get more free books. Those could be used either for gifts or by your dh for prizes at school. It might be worth looking into.

GiddyRobinMama said...

At this point, its the stuff I got from the Target $5 off 3 items, Johnson baby wash, etc and some wipes (.61 cents a box). I might part with some diapers if I continue to get them for 2 or 3 bucks a pack after coupons and mega sales.

GiddyRobinMama said...

PS I also regift anything I didn't use because they never fit into it, etc.

sarah said...

I second the comment about BabyGap! Just last week I got some very adorable onesies for $1.97 each, so I stocked up! I usually get a few that somehow coordinate (color, pattern, etc) and are in different sizes (usually 6-12 mos, 12-18 mos, then 18-24) and use the store's awesome packaging. Then, we make some sweets for the new parents' freezer...a batch of cookies and a jar of puppy chow, etc.

I've also gotten some fun package tie-ons from Pottery Barn kids - stuffed rattles, etc. Sometimes they have these on super clearance by the register!

Regina said...

Meredith, you have some good ideas here, but like you said the hard part of your question is how to gift as a BOSS? Even if a mom isn't going to nurse, she certainly is going to be up at all hours of the night feeding the baby, and a "mommy care kit" would be appreciated by any mom. Healthy and yummy snacks in one of your fabulous looking baskets would be great. You could add a touch for baby by putting in a few custom onesies or two. Something I've done is get some Gerber cloth diapers (cheap) and sew a strip of fabric down the center panel. Then I buy blank onesies from Beverly's Fabrics and they have the CUTEST iron-on transfers for babies, and hey presto, out of a 2-pack I can make 2 "custom" baby onesies. Just a few thoughts. With possibly a few exceptions, these are going to be women you don't know at all, let alone very well, so it's going to be impossible to know if they will nurse or not, whether they are opposed to disposables or to cloth diapering, whether they would be opposed to medicines for baby... yadda yadda. Oh, something someone mentioned about how she picked books might help: ask God for guidance! :) And I love the board book idea, I got such a plethora of blankets that I was tickled with each gift that included books. And it's funny, I don't think I got any "Mama" gifts at the shower, but I have to say that's my favorite thing to do is to gift the mom! Everyone wants to give cute baby clothes, but I recall after having my baby that it seemed like I was now chopped liver and all that anyone cared about was the baby (baby blues didn't help this line of thought), so it's nice for the mom to have a reminder that she is the one who is still the nourisher of her sweet babe. Sorry to go on for so long, hopefully some of this helps!

Regina said...

p.s. forgot to mention, if it wasn't apparent, that the cloth diaper is a burp cloth :P

Theresa said...

I tend to make baby gifts ... crocheted blanket, x-stitched bibs, etc. :o)

mama k said...

I tend to go all out with gifts for close friends. I prepare a pamper mama/nursing supply basket for the new mom with stuff like breast pads, a breastfeeding book, nipple cream, cozy socks, snacks, a water bottle, lip balm and some "pampering" items just for mama.

For someone I don't know as well, I make a stack of burpcloths. I embellish Gerber Prefold Dipes with fabric. They cost less than $2 each and are always very well recieved.
Sometimes I pair it with some nice baby soap or something practical like that.

I'm not to keen on the disposable diapers, but I think a book and a meal would be a fabulous gift!

mama k said...

I just went back and read some comments. Regina and I think alike! LOL

Anonymous said...

Meredith ~

In reading through almost all of the comments...thinking about consumable vs. enduring gifts...and meals for the busy mom/family...and gifts for the mom, as opposed to something specifically "baby"...

What about a *crockpot*, and some of your favorite recipes to be used with it?

The timing may not be right for this particular group of babies, but I've often seen them on "Black Friday" sales priced well below the cost of a package of disposable diapers...and it's a gift that would likely be used for years.

It can be a lifesaver in encouraging the new mom to try to follow the nap-when-the-baby-naps advice that sounds so good until naptime's up, and dinner prep is still waiting...or the morning after a nighttime of walking the floor with a wakeful baby...and even the most novice-in-the-kitchen new dad can salt, pepper, and season a roast and toss in some bagged baby carrots for a really decent supper at the end of a long day. :)

Not entirely anonymous, but still working on a blog name here on the mountaintop... ;)

FatcatPaulanne said...

I tend to buy favorite books that my kids enjoyed when they were little, like the Sandra Boynton books. I also sometimes make personalized baby gifts on my Cafepress store.

http://www.cafepress.com/grandparentgift

Chris said...

I'm pregnant with number 7 now, and I have to say that my favorite gifts were always things for me! So that's what I always give, along with something for the other siblings.

Meals are nice, but I'm not opposed to giving my kids sandwiches or frozen pizza, etc, so many times warming a meal that someone else prepared is actually more work than making a big salad. Medicines, baby wash, wipes, etc are appreciated also, but I never buy that stuff normally so in a way I feel like they are wasting their money on stuff I wouldn't ordinarily use.

Ewokgirl said...

If you're nixing the diaper idea, what about embellished onesies? Buy up a bunch of onesies when they're on sale, which I assume even baby clothes are on sale during back-to-school time. Buy some cute iron-ons and dress them up a bit. This would be inexpensive, but it looks a tad more extravagant due to the embellishment. I've done this before, and it was well-received. You can buy packs with several little iron-on applique thingies.

We attended the baby shower for one of my husband's Star Wars-loving friends, and a guy made iron-ons with the computer and special transfer paper. All the onesies said, "I am a Jedi Knight like my father before me." Those were the hit of the party.

April said...

I usually make up an emergency supply package...infant tylenol, motrin, teething medicine, gas drops, diaper cream, baby vapor rub,hand sanitizer, and usually include burp cloths, wipes, a freezer teether, a soothing cd, some relaxing tea for mom and dad and nice bath salts, and even freezer gel packs for boo boos(or mom's headache). Many moms have told me how this came in handy in the middle of the night and they didn't have to rush out and buy something.

It's a Mom Thing said...

Diapers(name brand) and a book sound great to me. Or a meal. I was just thankful for anything we got, especially with the second.

I do have a signature baby gift. I decorate a wipes case with fabric like you find in boutiques. They are super easy and always a big hit.

Christi said...

Just reading through the comments - and I LOVE the crockpot idea! I'll have to keep that in mind in the future.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with april and the idea of baby medicine. Gas drops and teething medicine are things you only think about when you're having problems in the middle of the night. Giving them as a gift is a fantastic idea.

Jordana said...

I have very few diaper preferences -- name brand or generic, I am always grateful for diapers.

I think it partly depends upon what number baby this is. With my first child, almost any gift was something I could use. Now with my fifth, we seem to even have most of the books people like to give for presents. Therefore, I'd rather get disposable things or a meal or maybe something for me. If someone is going to give us something special that is not consumable, something like a special outfit or a photo session or something like that would be really nice.

Caroline said...

OK, I'm reading some of the new comments....NOBODY told me that mom's should get gifts, too! My baby is 9yo---is it too late to ask for some gifts just for me, now? LOL :)

Renee said...

I always do the same thing which might seem boring to some but I like to get a nice stash of great condition books and put in the closet for the new baby. Classics, and really neat vintage nursery ryhme books that I spend very little money mostly under a buck. I always like to write in pencil on the front page a little poem,verse, or just a nice welcome sentence along with the month, year, and out names. I still have books that my grandmother and grandfather wrote in that I look at and it brings smiles to my face after reading it, that she took the time to personalize and write something special in the book.

Another is the wholesome, and nutrious meal which I double alot of meals sometimes if I have extra.The key here is healthy.

There was such a kind woman that 3 children when I had my first daughter in 02'. She was in part in my local La Leche League which I came to every month.

What is the most memorable gift was that she knew I was struggling so much with postpartum depression and had no family, or friends to help so she came over with homemade stuffed shells, a bagged dole veggie salad, and fresh baked bread. It is the gift that meant so much to me and I will always remember her and her family.

My leader came a few days later with homemade lavender shortbread cookies, her daughter's precious white lace bonnet, and homemade lemonade since it was hot and in July with no AC. It's the little things that we treasure and hold to our hearts so I always try to put my heart, and not always think about price as this sometimes distorts things for me. But price is a factor.

Julie said...

I would have appreciated this, so now I've made this my standard gift to people who aren't close friends or family: a baby medicine kit. I usually include infant Tylenol, teething medicine, diaper rash cream (the kind for really bad diaper rash), gas medicine, and then maybe a book or small toy.
We didn't know to have those things around the house when our little one was born. Having them would have saved many late night trips to the drug store.

Michelle H. said...

I received tons of tiny outfits at my babyshower that my 9 pound baby never got to wear, so now I'm a practical gift giver.

Either diapers and wipes, or a gift bag with various medicines. Kroger has buy one get one free sales on store brand pretty regularly, and I stock up on gas drops and infant tylenol.

I received several different types of diapers at my shower, and it was great to be able to try them out and see what brand we liked best. A friend had gotten me a baby medicine kit and it was a lifesaver when I needed something in the middle of the night.

Liz said...

Of late, my standard present has been a basket full of odds and ends. Each week when I am grocery shopping I'll pick up something little. Especially for friends who are having their second, and have a small space. And also for friends who I knew would be having an enormous baby shower and would get more baby gear than they could ever need, "consumable" stuff (or disposable) was better. There are always one or two little things in there that aren't throw away items though.

mama 2 a&b said...

I love giving - and receiving - books as gifts! Please consider adding an inscription: to, from, and the date. Recently I went through stacks of books my mom had saved from my own childhood for my children to read. So wonderful to read who gave which books on which occasion. Makes for special memories!

Sarah Schreffler said...

mama 2: Inscriptions bring out anothe problem though. I have SO many books with inscriptions in them to and from people I don't want. After all, I bought them at Half Price Books. Or Salvation army
...

Rachel R. said...

I usually do a baby towel as someone described - with a regular towel and a washcloth. This was my mom's signature gift (along with a red washcloth for boo-boo's down the road!), and we, too, always get positive comments down the road.

But I like the onesie idea, too. Nearly everyone uses onesies. If your babies don't wear them "out," they wear them as underclothes. Whether you use medicine or just herbals, the baby still wears clothes. Whether you breastfeed or formula-feed, the baby still wears clothes. Regardless of which brand of diaper you use, or if you use cloth, the baby still wears clothes. These basics are usually helpful regardless of the mama's overall taste in clothing, and gets worn out fastest, so it's useful even for a 2nd, 3rd, 5th, or 10th baby. (Just my 2 cents, from a babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, no-meds mama who had a hard time even *making* a registry because I use hardly anything "mainstream.")

I also like giving or receiving board books, especially classics.

And I was so up to my ears in pastels that I was thrilled when someone gave my girls clothes that were purple (not lavender, but *purple* purple) or red!

Bumkins' Superbibs are another of my favorite gifts to give. I think these are the best "eating" (as opposed to "drool") bibs of all time! But they're a bit pricey, IMO, to give as a "stock" gift.

peggy said...

hello, I just happened on your blog last night, our church service Sunday featured all our local food pantry, clothing bank, nursing home, etc.where we always need help. I wish we had had this video, thank you for putting it on, I would like to pass it on if that's okay. I'll be visiting with you often. best wishes.