Shopping for baby's first Christmas is such a memorable and sweet experience. But wowza there’s a lot of stuff out there to choose from! To help out all the new (and likely exhausted) parents, I’ve rounded up
some of the best holiday gifts for babies.
I remember my own kid's first Christmas as a sort of sweet, blurry haze. He was a November baby, which meant that my husband and I were still pretty catatonic by Christmas time, and our infant was still learning to focus his eyes. Nevertheless, we loved giving him his first set of blocks, and his very first stuffed animal. (A hippo, if you must know.) We still have both gifts, and while the hippo now looks like it’s been through several wars, we do still play with the blocks. They are regularly hauled out should we need to build a tower for Minecraft figures to stand upon.
I became very nostalgic and wistful putting this list together, and now I wish I had a friend with a baby who I could gift some of this stuff to. There are so many incredibly cute, well-made, unique little items out there. From knitted rattles to name puzzles to ride-on, candy-colored walkers, parents have a menagerie of cuteness to choose from. Of course, your kid is most definitely going to want to play with the wrapping paper more than anything else, but that is neither here nor there.
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The Most Melodious Llama You'll Ever Own
I kind of think every home needs this brightly colored, musical llama this winter. Even homes without children present. The thing is just so cheerful and smile-inducing! A brightly painted wooden llama with a five-bar xylophone on its back, two "clacking saddle blankets," and a maraca tail? Precious. It also has adorable little flip panels on the back that teach children shapes and colors. I guess I just feel like if you're going to go for a play cube, why not get one llama-shaped?
Perfect for the little urbanite bebe, or parents who heart NYC, these super cute and original rattles are hand-knitted in Peru, and are made from organic cotton. They also feature "soft, non-jarring" rattlers to keep the rattlin' nice and mellow. The only thing missing is the gross hot dog water and the surly pretzel vendor trying to charge you $4 for a bottle of water. Ah, city life!
The Educational Tissue Box
If you want to give a present that is both aesthetically-pleasing but also Montessori-based, well, Lovevery has you covered with this simple but sweet gift box. A monthly subscription service, the play kits start around $36, and arrive every two to three months. It's kind of the perfect gift for right now while many parents are stuck at home and have grown weary of the same board books and blocks. Each box is customized for the child's age, and includes simple toys for babies to explore, chew on, and throw around. I think the Senser Playkit is particularly sweet, with its little "spinning rainbow" and "magic tissue box". The items are also beautifully crafted, using organic cottons, wood, and baby-safe plastics.
For the Kid Who Loves to Moo. And Baa. And La La La
I must admit that before I had a child I was not that impressed with the Boynton oeuvre. The drawings of piggies and cows all seemed a bit simplistic and silly, and I didn't quite get the appeal. And then I had a child and saw them for what they truly are — comedy of the highest order for the 1 to 3 year-old set. This big box includes four of the Boynton classics:
Moo, Baa, La La La!, A-Z, Doggies, and Blue Hat, Green Hat. Get yourself these, and I promise your little one will read them until the covers are in tatters, and you're able to recite every moo from memory.
The only thing little ones love more than a good ball pit is, well, Mom and Dad. (Maybe.) This super cute mini-pit from Melissa and Doug gives your toddler the ball pit experience, without the worry of germs or 7-year-olds leaping onto their heads. Just plop them inside this giant turtle, and let the kids flail around in the 60 soft, plastic, brightly-colored balls. Does this mean you will soon spend much of your day chasing balls around your home? It does. Will your baby love throwing them at you? Most likely.
OK, so I realize this is pricey for a stacker toy. And you obviously can find much less expensive stackers. But will they be as cute as this little turtle, cow, lamb, pig and hen tower? Doubtful. These little guys are made from super soft fabrics like corduroy, velour, and percale, making them fun for kids to explore and squeeze. And unlike other stackers, they give your child the chance to practice their favorite animal sounds, which is always a bonus.
The Mathematical Sausage Dog
This brightly colored, well-crafted pup is made from natural wood, and features four rotating cylinders painted with a rainbow of different shapes. Little ones will love spinning the body of this little doggie, which not only gives them good fine motor practice, but also helps them to learn about patterns. They'll also probably enjoy boinging the head and tail, which are both attached by metal springs. A sturdy, solid toy, this one will also look lovely on a nursery shelf.
For The Baby Who Wants To Go On Safari
These plush rockers are quite the upgrade from the rockers of my youth. Firstly, we only had horses, and secondly, the horses tended to be made of hard wood and have scary, beady eyes. But not these guys! These adorable, soft rockers from Pottery Barn Kids are fluffy and sweet, and there are several animals to choose from. This giraffe here is my favorite, though the pink elephant is also super sweet. There's also the option to personalize it with your kiddo's name, turning it into a cuddly heirloom.
These handmade wooden puzzles from Etsy turn your child's name into chunky, colorful blocks just right for a little one's grasp. This is another toy that also doubles as a really lovely nursery decoration. It's also a sweet little intro to the alphabet... and narcissism! Note — they're priced according to the number of letters in a kid's name. So if you named your kid Sebastian, it's going to set you back about $38. However, if your kid is called "Jo" you can score one for a mere 11 bucks.
For The Baby Served With A Side of Guac
I think most parents can relate to the feeling of finding their baby so cute they kind of want to eat them alive, yes? Well, now parents can take that desire to the next level with this hilarious tortilla swaddle and cap. Just wrap that bebe up and turn them into a large, crying, pooping burrito. I mean, why not?
A Sorting, Pull Toy Combo
OK, yes, this is pricey for a pull toy, but it also doubles as a shape sorter. Just pull the little snail's shell off and your baby has six different block shapes to sort. It's also made of wood, which means it will last, and it's painted in such a bright, cheerful palette. I love this happy little snail.
A Minimalist Intro To Art
As we know, babies first see black and white images the most clearly, which is why they're sure to be captivated by this deck of monochromatic cards featuring an array of cleverly illustrated animals.The cards are made with sturdy materials and have rounded corners, making them safe for little ones to hold (and likely gnaw on). The cards are a really charming and fun intro into baby's first encounter with original art.
For The Baby Who's Ready To Rock
Headbanger babies everywhere will love clutching on to this plush, vibrating grasp toy. Just pull the cord to make this guitar shake and shiver. This toy is sure to not only entertain baby, but parents as well, as little ones clutch on to this thing like a little Jimmy Page. The vibrations are soft and soothing, so don't be surprised if your little rocker needs a nap after their jam session.
These giant, egg-sized crayons are perfect for little hands to grip and create their first ever drawings. The come in bold, primary colors, and feature an ergonomic design. They're also Crayola, so you know they're washable. Which means no need to panic if you end up with a few abstract masterpieces on your floor.
There are few things little ones love more than something that pours and whirls and spouts water. This is such a simple toy — just a bunch of brightly colored plastic pipes — but kids really, really dig it. The pipes suction to the bathtub wall in different formations, and kids can spend their entire tub-time busily pouring and playing.The pipes are also brightly-colored and BPA-free.
For The Warm Weather Baby
In keeping with baby's love of pouring and splashing and generally making a mess, this water table is a surefire hit. It has spinners, ramps, buckets, and even its own little waterfall. Obviously, this one is best-suited to those who live in sunnier climes. Although parents in colder locales could always throw down a tarp in the living room and let their kid go to town. I mean in quarantine times, anything goes.
Do you often find yourself dreaming up ways to make your small child look more like a cool Italian breezing by on a motor scooter? Well, good news! This ridiculously cute baby walker from Retrospec will instantly make your baby look like she's on a Roman holiday. It has a steel frame and an adjustable seat and handlebars, so it grows with baby. It also has soft, "no scratch" wheels, so your kid can toddle down the hallway without fear of floor damage. The bikes comes in a variety of bright, candy colors, and — take note — there's even a Blippi version.
A Bunny That Plays Peek-a-boo
I personally tend to find talking stuffed animals rather creepy. (Tickle
yourself, Elmo.) But this talking bunny from Gund is so cute, it's hard not to see the appeal. Babies can squeeze one foot to play Peek-a-Boo and other interactive games, or the right foot to have a sing-a-long. Or they can pull on its tail to have it reenact the entire first season of Breaking Bad. Kidding! But for real, this little guy is super adorable and is sure to give baby some laughs.
For The Baby Who Wants To Pretend He's Escaping Shawshank
The thing with babies is that simple is almost always the way to go. Which is why your kid is definitely going to be way more into climbing in the boxes his gifts come in than the actual gifts themselves. This colorful tunnel from Walmart is also just good and simple fun for little ones to crawl and giggle their way though. Not only are these tunnels inexpensive, they collapse really easily, which means they can be jammed under the bed or into a closet when you want a little more floor space.
If you want to get baby their very first toy vehicle, why not opt for this unique (and kind of hilarious) plumbing truck? It's made of solid beech wood, painted with water-based paint, and babies are sure to be mesmerized by the little plunger on top. Considering you will have many days ahead of watching your child throw random items into the toilet, this is also a nice little intro into why we don't flush the car keys or Mommy's shoes.