Creative, Original, and Useful Baby Shower Gifts: Dare to Go Off Registry!
Have a Little Fun for Yourself and Your Expecting Friend(s)...
Baby showers can be stressful for the expecting parent(s) and the people attending, especially if they don't have kids themselves and don't already have opinions about the absolute best baby items. I thought I would share what I've learned from my one baby and throwing many other showers.
It seems to me (at least among my friends) to be the norm to register for baby showers, but I did not, and I'm so glad I didn't. It was so fun to see what creative things people came up with, and I ended up with a really nice balance of items somehow. Of course, if you simply don't want to pick and don't have time, you can never go wrong with a gift card!
If you are feeling inspired to have a little fun with your baby shower gifts, here are some ideas to get you started.
Clothing That is Cute, Fun, and Useful
There are certain clothes items that I believe you simply cannot go wrong buying for a baby shower. Onesies and blankets are always a safe bet, and if you know that the expectant parent(s) need clothes, it's probably smart to just go with a cheaper pack of short sleeve or long sleeve onesies, or blankets. I had some friends who went this route, and I appreciated it very much.
But if you want to get a little more creative and treat them to something they probably wouldn't buy for themselves, while still providing them with useful items, here are some recommendations:
- #1: Trumpette socks - these are simply the best baby socks. As anyone with a baby knows, it's incredibly annoying when your baby's socks keep falling off, and I am surprised at how many baby socks are just no good! It's also a little disturbing when your baby has red imprints in his legs after wearing his socks for 5 minutes. Trumpette somehow figured it out, and their socks stay on, but don't cut off circulation in order to do so. Also, they have so many cute designs, it's really easy to pick a style that matches your friend's style. My son's aunts got him these argyle Trumpette socks and he got so many comments on them (not sure he noticed, but I did!). They are a little pricey but totally worth it, and they make a really fun present. I get them for every friend who has a baby now, and it's the one thing I always actually see them using.
- #2: Organic cotton items for eco-friendly parent(s) - We got a few Under the Nile onesies and blankets, and I really loved them. They are incredibly soft, and I also loved having some organic cotton, even though I felt we couldn't afford to go with that completely. So it was really nice to have some friends treat us to this high quality and eco-friendly clothing. I'm sure there are lots of other great brands, but we were really happy with the Under the Nile stuff that we got.
- #3: Alma mater clothing - Some of my friends from college got my son some clothes from our school, and it was so fun to put him in them! This isn't something I would have bought for myself, but I loved having them.
- #4: Cause-related or humorous clothing - Our son was born in 2009, and we had worked on the Obama campaign, so some relatives got us an Obama onesie - it was really fun to put him in it and hopefully he will be proud to see those pictures someday! Our friends also got us some hilarious t-shirts (fake tuxedo, fake loosened tie, etc) that were really fun. This was all stuff we wouldn't have bought ourselves because of the price, so it makes a great shower present.
Pillows - Can Never Have Too Many
I am of the opinion that you can never have too many pillows. I suppose the exception would be if you have a tiny house and just don't want too much clutter. But if you know your friend(s) have enough space, there are a few great pillows that I think are great to have, even if they already have some. Of course, many people already register for Boppy pillows, so this may be something that you get off the registry anyway. But a surprising number of people don't know about the Boppy Baby Lounger pillow, and it is nothing short of awesome.
#1: Boppy Baby Lounger pillow - I borrowed this from a friend, and it was a total life saver for us. It was the only thing I could transfer my son onto when he was an infant and he would stay asleep. It's best for napping when you can just sit by your baby and rest or read, because you don't want to leave them on it alone, but you will be giving your friend the gift of rest for them and their baby! They also look nice, and I am now obsessing about the moon and stars fleece cover - might have to splurge on that for my next baby. For some reason, these aren't often on the list of must-have baby items, so you can be a superhero if you introduce your friend to one of these.
#2: Boppy nursing pillow - A lot of people swear by the "Breast friend" pillows for nursing, but I had a bigger baby, and found the Boppy a lot easier. These are also useful past nursing, for laying the baby on, propping them when they start sitting up, putting them face down for "tummy time" and even as a neck rest for the parent! Again, if they have the space, it can be nice to have a couple of these to just leave in different rooms.
#3: Other decorative pillows - It's just nice to feel comfy when you're home with a baby, and it can be nice to have cute pillows for the baby's room or living room. This is another of those fun items that your friends probably won't get for themselves, but can be a nice treat and cheer up the house, as well as being useful.
Fun Toys Guaranteed to Be a Hit
There are so many baby toys out there it's sometimes overwhelming trying to decide which to pick. From my experience and what I've heard from my friends with babies, a few are simply much more liked by babies than others. I'm not sure what magic potion these toy makers have access to, but it seems to work.
#1: Lamaze baby toys - these have nothing to do with heavy breathing during labor, and everything to do with the baby having fun. These were the toys my son gravitated to the earliest and with the most sustained attention. Jacque the Peacock became an instant favorite and I ended up bring him everywhere. This is yet another reason you can't go wrong with these - even if your friend already has one, it never hurts to have an extra. In addition to your mind, actual tangible things seem to get lost pretty easily when you have an infant.
#2: Sophie the giraffe - this is one of those things you have no idea about when you are not a parent, but once you are, everyone seems to know about it. Kids love to hold and chew on these and they really are made out of some magical soft plastic that even makes me want to play with it. Again, we got multiples of these for our shower and it was a blessing.
#3: Manhattan baby toys - somehow they have also figured out how to keep infants entertained. Their mobile was over our changing table and sometimes those were the best parts of our day, just laying there under the mobile (well, just my son - I didn't fit on the table though I would have loved to lay down). The toys are also just nice and fairly simple looking, and yet kids love them. No major bells and annoying whistles, just simply fun baby toys.
#4: Balls - I would be remiss not to put in a plug for simple balls. There are some nice ones made out of a softer plastic that have nubs on them that are nice for teething babies as well as later for toddlers because they are easier to grip and throw. We got a lot of fancy things, but the balls ended up getting the most use.
A simple ball is a gift that will last for years
What is your approach to baby showers?
Go Forth and Have Fun Shopping for a Baby Shower!
I could go on and on, but the point here was to keep it easy and not overwhelming to take the step of buying a baby shower present on your own, without picking off the registry. Of course, this should be fun, so no pressure! But hopefully this can give people, especially without kids, some ideas about what to get, while knowing that you will be getting your friend(s) a useful present as well.
Please share any other ideas in the comments!