baby presents

anywhere chair

I have friends, at least four, who have had babies recently. I’ve been meaning to send something, but I stall each time because I can’t seem to nail what I want to give exactly. A collection of books? A baby toy robot? A bikini with sunglasses and an embroidered cover-up? Paralyzed by choice, I buy nothing, and months go by, without a gift, constantly on my mind, only now I have no idea what size the child is. I look at “Buy baby gifts” on my “to-do” list every single day. Why don’t I just order something online? Amazon Prime, free shipping. Done. Because I want to give something thoughtful. I think of the most useful appreciated gifts we received for the beans. I can think of one thing. No, two. Personalized chairs from Pottery Barn and personalized bags from LLBean. The chairs are still used today, the bags too. Can’t outgrow them, really. The tough call is this: if you get a chair, you need to know the family has the space for it in their home AND you have to know what color, what fabric to get, does it coordinate with the room you’ve never seen? Alternatively, I could choose a collection of classic books, for a variety of ages, to grow with the child. Help me decide.

Random aside has to do with video cameras. While I’m asking… I own a mini Panasonic camcorder and it needs a cord, to connect to the computer, to download the movies. It seems too labor and memory (drive) intensive. Antiquated. I’m tempted to research video cameras, one that uploads video to your computer wirelessly, via Eye-Fi card, and one where you edit right there on your camera or phone, making the whole process faster without sacrificing quality. Suggestions?

Monogrammed Bags




  1. Love the idea of the bag. Other ideas, along the lines of “down the line”: the Peanuts Holiday collection DVD ( – It’s A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, et al

    Sesame Street Books – B is for baking, C is for cooking, etc (

    Just a few ideas apart from clothing and the chair/bag. Do any of the parents still have registries up?

  2. A lot of my friends are having children right now, too, and I typically send an outfit (in the 6 month range, something cute) and a book. With gift receipts included.

    I also send the parents a one-time maid service and/or dinner delivery from a nearby restaurant, depending on which I think the couple would appreciate more.

  3. We have gotten rave reviews from our gifts of personalized books from

    For the newborn, the “My Very Own Name Storybook” is nice, as it’s just an alphabet letter animal spelling out their full name. Older kids, you can pick and choose story lines that suit their personality.

    The only other gifts I was proud of were handmade quilts, sock monkeys, or offering to do a newborn photo shoot for the family.

    Eagerly anticipating any advice on video cameras, as I hate my Kodak one.

  4. You can NEVER EVER go wrong with books. I still have some of the earliest books I received throughout my life – and I still love and cherish them although they are worn and marked with scribbles. If you buy books, make sure to inscribe them!

    For baby showers, I usually buy Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library because it is so cute. But Winnie the Pooh or the Little Bear series is always good, as are any of the other classics. Obviously you are contemplating purchasing an expensive gift (personalized chairs from Pottery Barn?), but I would opt for something that is more classic.

    As an idea – though perhaps not appropriate for acquaintances, for my niece and nephews, I completely didn’t buy a baby gift, but promised a gift equal to the equivalent of saving $1/week until they were 18. Honestly, most baby gifts are for the parents to mark the occasion. I remember getting a small ($200) inheritance from a great uncle when I was in college, and at the time it was a “god-send” financially.

    When my niece and nephews turned 18 each got a check for $1,000.00 free and clear. Though I had announced my intention many years earlier, no one remembered my promise, so the gift was a total surprise. It was their choice to spend, save, squander however they wanted – though I did make recommendations to set up a retirement account. The opportunity to start out, on the way to college, life, and beyond with a little nest-egg was, I think, the best baby present I could have given them.

  5. I love to send baby Uggs! I know it may be cliche, but it is always well received.

    Other ideas:

    Sleep Sheep (Two sizes.. One for crib or smaller size for stroller or car)

    Baby blanket

    Pajamas (I especially like the plain white/pink or white/blue from Hanna Andersson)

    An outfit or two

    Lullaby cds (On a Starry Night, Guitar Lullaby, Golden Slumbers, Disney Lullaby Album, Classic Nursery Rhymes by Susie Tallman)


  6. The personalized bags look great. One of my favorite newborn gifts (for family and close friends where I spend a bit more) is a print or some other form of art. I like the idea of
    kick-starting their art collection and that it’s something they can have forever. Depending on your budget you can get some gorgeous limited edition prints. I’m from Australia so there’s no
    point telling you which galleries I buy from! However I recently
    purchased a gorgeous photo, limited edition, from 20× which is a a US business.
    Check out the animal photos by Sharon Montrose. They are simply gorgeous. Ideal newborn gift!

  7. I know this sounds like an unthoughtful cop-out, but I’ve been giving cash money in a beautiful, artsy card. I typically put in the card “…for diapers, for college, for mommy and daddy date night”. I’ve done that a few times now at baby showers (becuase there have been so many lately!), and each time the recepient has expressed a suprising amount of gratitude and relief that it’s not another set of onesies, receiving blankets or toys.

  8. Hi Stephanie,

    Books are great.

    My husbands work sent us a ‘Baby Clothing Bouquet‘ when both my son and daughter were worn. They are pieces of baby clothing rolled up and made to look like flowers, and then placed into a bouquet.

    Totally amazing.

    They looked incredible, I never took them apart. I still have them today.

  9. I vote for books. Moving all the darlings out to college this year, the bags and chairs all went the way of baby detritus, but the books (especially the ones with notes from the givers) drew ‘aahs’ and ‘oh, I remembers’ as the darlings plopped down on the living room floor to re-read their favorites: “One Fish, Two Fish…”, “Oh the Places You’ll Go” and “Green Eggs and Ham”. Now the treasured tomes are safely placed in grandma’s book cupboard for eventual great grand-babies.

  10. When sending clothes, I always go with a toddler 2. Most people give infant sized things and babies outgrow them so quickly. My other go-to gifts are one of those tutu ballerina outfits with a wand & tiara for a girl and a slicker for a boy. And of course, you’ll never go wrong with a selection of books, especially if it’s a first child.

  11. I’m loving the chair and can think of one little bean who doesn’t have anything like that!

  12. One of the best baby gifts we received was the “Best Ever Baby Jacket” by Hanna Andersson… It’s the little flannel jacket with the pointed hood and soft felted applique. They updated it often…

    We received one for our first boy, and happily pulled it from storage for our second eight years later.

  13. I just had a baby 11 weeks ago so I am in the midst of receiving so many gifts…the things I love the most are a cable stroller blanket from Restoration Hardware with my daughter’s monogram, the hooded bath towels from Pottery Barn Kids (perfect size and weight) with her name on them and pink sparkly Tom’s – good for about a year from now. Personalized burp cloths are also good. And otherwise, anything with a gift receipt from a common store is perfect.

  14. Ugh. Thanks for the reminder/guilt trip. Cousin had twins (girl/boy) in the summer and I haven’t yet given a gift. She got so many gifts at the baby naming/bris it was obnoxious.

    I love the idea of books though it’s hard to know what they already have. Just gave a friend a collection of Dr. Seuss for her wee one and she loved them.

  15. I like the books idea. I’ve given an assortment of classics to a few close friends- if I have time, I order personalized bookplates.

    Otherwise, how about baby bath type products? California Baby, Mustela-you could do a set or gift basket of those.

    The personalized bags look great too.

  16. I love giving Zutano booties, can be coordinated with outfits or hats. mthe fleece kind is nice and warm but not polyester. Great quality and always appreciated.

  17. I have been buying personalized baby blocks for the past several years. Such a big hit with everyone I have given them too!! Brought a first time father to tears!

    Here is the website.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide.

  18. I like going for the unique gifts people don’t know about — and personalized things. The company I Can’t Believe It’s Me has pretty cool stuff, including personalized musical CDs, personalized books and coloring books, and so on. The website is – everyone I send these items to love them, especially the CDs, which are fun for the car!

  19. I often give a personalized tote from Land’s End. I fill it with size “AA’, “AAA”, “C” batteries. I also include a set of those really tiny screwdrivers from Home Depot. The kind of screwdriver I never knew I needed until I had to swap the batteries out of Tickle Me Elmo for the thousandth time. Finally, I include one of those as seen on tv Zibra Zpcopen package openers. That mother will cut through all those plastic wrapped toys a parent can never open. The gift is always well received.

    On a totally different note, Taste of Home is gross. I live 15 minutes from it. If you’re doing another party on LI (so confused, thought you were in Boca?) I use an awesome cake pop lady. I can give you her info.

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