How to choose a gift for a baby’s first birthday

Even though a one year old would not remember the party, you always gift him/her a memorable gift. While there are several options for gifts, you should address factors like intellectual stimulation, practicality, age-appropriateness and the preferences and needs of the child’s parents. Following are a few ways that could help you in choosing the right gift for the little one!

How to choose a gift for a baby's first birthday

Way 1: Choosing Fun yet Practical Gifts

1. Go for classic toy options

Even though everyone appreciates a unique or creative gift, it is usually the best to go for the tried and tested options. Infants have loved wooden blocks, rattles, dolls, red wagons, drums and stuffed animals for generations and continue to do. Little kids do not care about trends; they want something that they can pull, push, cuddle, knock down, pile up or shake. 

    • Classic toys such as shape sorters, building blocks and nesting toys are great options as they are educational and fun at the same time. These toys also encourage problem solving, creativity and coordination. 

2. Choose “make-believe” toys to spur the creativity

Kids attempt to mimic possibly everything they see other people doing by the time they are one. If they see a mother carrying an infant, they want their own doll to cuddle; if they see you speaking on the phone; they want their own to babble as well; if they see you fixing the sink, they want a toolset too. 

    • Age appropriate and simple costumes like superhero capes, royal crowns or firefighter hats help in stimulating the kid’s desire to play and pretend. 

3. Consider feeding or bathing gifts. 

Since one year olds are pretty messy, bath time and feeding time tend to happen one after the other. In both cases, toys and fun implements can make both making a mess and cleaning it up afterwards more enjoyable. 

    • Bowls, ergonomic spill-resistant cups and high quality utensils with cartoon characters on them are a fun addition to the mealtime. Further, you can add a bit more joy to the bath time with the humble rubber duckie. 

4. Buy some toddler books

There is no age to start building a personal library for an infant but choose the books that can handle a lot of use and maybe some abuse. Small kids love books that can be tossed, held, twisted, flipped through or chewed on. 

    • Either soft books (which could be wrenched or twisted without tearing apart) or board books (with tear-resistant, rigid pages) having colorful pictures and few words are great choices for a kid celebrating his or her first birthday. 

5. Don’t ignore the idea of buying clothes. 

It is easy to assume that kids do not like getting clothes as gifts. Keep in mind that an infant would be more excited by the wrapping paper or bow than the actual gift inside. Playful pyjamas or a whimsical onesie could be a fun and practical gift. 

    • Kids of this age grow pretty quickly. So, when in doubt, buy a bigger size. 
    • Also, even though it is tempting to buy a tie and tiny suit or a fancy, frilly dress, you should choose practical, comfortable clothes. The parents and the kids will get much more use out of this type of clothing. 

Way 2: Giving Personalized Gifts or Keepsakes

1. Chart the child’s progress with your gift. 

An abundance of toys is a common gift a one year old is likely to receive. Hence it is fine to choose a gift based on sentiment rather than play. Since you are celebrating the growth of the child, making a month-by-month growth chart or a personalized photo collage will surely touch the hearts of the parents. 

    • If you feel guilty for not buying a gift that the kid would appreciate, you could attach a toy or a small rattle to the package or the ribbon and the child will be equally happy!

2. Look into monogrammed or labeled gifts. 

Whether it is a blanket or a towel, travel bag or t-shirt, album or photo frame, almost every type of gift can be personalized with the initials of the child’s name or any other message. Some personalized gifts could be immediately useful or targeted towards future appreciation. 

    • For example, labeled bowls, bath towels, bibs or sippy cups would come to immediate use and may be appreciated especially if there is more than one child in the house. 

3. Make a time capsule. 

If you know that the kid would be buried in toys anyway, you should not hesitate in choosing a gift that would be appreciated years from now. You can make a small yet sturdy “time capsule” box which is full of mementos, photos, clippings, trinkets and a letter from you representing the child’s first year. Sign it “Open in 20xx” (when the child is 15, 19, 20, 31, etc.)  

4. Buy a savings bond or any long-term investment. 

Another type of time capsule could be a savings bond under the name of the child and is the one that a kid would be more eager to open in sixteen years or so. Also, if you feel weird about giving cash for the birthday of a one year old, this is a more personalized and tangible option. 

    • Take some time to read the regulations and procedures while purchasing a savings bond (or any other investment) in the name of a minor child. 

Way 3: Offering other options to Traditional Gifts

1. Gift the kid some cash 

You might wonder that gifting a one year old money is an inappropriate gift, but keep in mind that 

  1. Kids are very expensive; and
  2. It is never too early to start saving. 

The kid might not appreciate it now, but a contribution to the piggy bank or a savings account is a useful and thoughtful gift for the young one. However, for the immediate gratification of the child, you could buy a cheap little board book and slip the check or cash in the birthday card. Make sure the parents know about it before the kid chews or shreds it!

2. Support a special goal or cause 

Rather than traditional gifts, some parents may request your financial contribution to a larger, special gift or to donate for a special charitable cause. Even if you really wish to gift something cute or fun to the toddler , you should try to abide by the wishes of the parents. Keep in mind that the request was made for a reason. 

    • Of course, you could gift a donation to the charity on your own. Most parents would appreciate and welcome such a gift but you should use your discretion on how such a gift would be received. 

3. A “no gifts, please” request should be accepted 

Some parents would request “no presents” and simply want your “presence”. In such a case, you should accept this request. However, if you really wish to gift something, speak to the parents directly for any kind of contribution or gift you could provide. You could also offer to  help set up the party or to clean up after. 

We hope these simple, yet practical ideas would help you in gifting something thoughtful, fun and useful to the little one!