Practical Gifts for Your Baby's First ChristmasNov 16, 2023
I’m going to start this blog post off with a hard truth.
Your baby’s first holiday season will be so special, but they aren’t going to remember it no matter what you do.
You can decorate the house perfectly. They won’t remember.
You can wrap your baby’s first Christmas present beautifully. They won’t remember.
You can make the most delicious meal. They may or may not be on solids yet, but they still won’t remember.
You can rest assured that your baby will not remember the gifts they receive for their first Christmas.
I know, I know. I sound a bit like the Grinch, but my hope is that this takes some pressure off YOU.
Many families choose to give gifts to babies for their first Christmas, but know that it is not necessary unless you want to do it.
Should You Buy Christmas Gifts for Babies?
It’s up to you. Here are things to consider when choosing if you want to buy gifts for your baby…
- Memory-Making: Even if babies won't remember, giving a gift becomes a family memory. Is this important to you? Would it be sad if you didn’t have photos of your baby by presents or a Christmas tree?
- Marking Milestones: Baby's first Christmas may be a significant milestone worth acknowledging.
- Sensory Engagement: Opening or playing with new gifts is a sensory experience for your baby. Some babies LOVE to listen to paper tearing, can pull tissue paper out of bags, or can even shake boxes. This is, of course, dependent on age and development.
- Parental Joy: Channel your inner Marie Kondo. Does it spark joy? Thoughtful gifts may bring joy to the baby, parents, and grandparents, too. Does it spark stress? Maybe you should skip it.
- Building Tradition: Gift-giving may be a tradition in your family that you want to keep up with. You can also start a new tradition once your baby is making memories.
While babies may not grasp the concept, you may still want to offer gifts. If so, my recommendation is to focus on practical Christmas gifts for your baby.
What is the 5-gift rule & how does it apply to practical presents for a baby?
The 5 Gift Rule for Christmas presents is a strategy designed to keep gift-giving simple by focusing on five specific categories of gifts for each baby. The rule aims to strike a balance between practicality and enjoyment. The categories typically include:
- Something They Want
- Something They Need
- Something to Wear
- Something to Read
- Something to Share
While this concept is often used for older kids, you can also apply the 5 Gift Rule to babies. The principles remain the same, with adjustments made to suit their needs and developmental stage:
- Something They Want: Choose age-appropriate toys and soft textures that stimulate their senses. Consider items like developmental toys, teethers, or something to keep them entertained.
- Something They Need: Practical baby essentials, such as clothing, blankets, or feeding supplies, can fit into this category. These items should cater to the baby's comfort and well-being.
- Something to Wear: Babies grow quickly, so clothes are a practical choice. Think onesies, cozy sleepers, or cute outfits. You may consider buying for the next season or next year.
- Something to Read: While babies might not fully understand stories, board books can increase your baby's exposure to new words.
- Something to Share: I’m going to be honest. I don’t really know what babies share with adults besides giggles, kisses, dirty diapers, and great memories. You can buy something you want that baby will “share” with you.
If you are looking for a different approach or if you want to focus on the “something you need” portion, I recommend focusing on practical gifts for your baby’s first Christmas.
Many of these will be age-dependent, but you can always plan ahead!
Here are some of my favorite non-toy gifts you can get for your baby...
Practical Non-Toy Present Ideas for Your Baby’s First Christmas
Practical gift ideas for babies: Feeding items
Clearly, I think feeding items should be included in every baby’s gifts. There are so many products that will make your life easier or that your baby will need in the future.
Don’t forget to think ahead!
Will they be starting solids in the next few months? Consider bibs, utensils, a high chair, or a straw or open cup.
Is your baby nearing one year? Consider a heavy-duty water bottle that can handle big tumbles.
While it technically isn’t a feeding item, I am going to include age-appropriate kitchen tools so your toddler can be more involved with meals.
My favorite feeding products:
Teethers I love putting frozen fruit in this teether to soothe sore gums while teething.
Abiie high chair We absolutely love our Abiie high chair. It's easy to clean and grows with your baby. Max was using it as a 3.5-year-old before we started solids with Elliot.
Silicone bib I love a silicone bib with a trough. This one is even better because it has bungees so your baby's utensils won't end up on the ground.
Suction placemat/plate that actually stays put This is another one that saves your sanity when your baby decides to throw plates everywhere. The suction is super strong.
Gootensils I reluctantly purchased these for Elliot, but I LOVE them. They are textured, which provides stimulation for the mouth. He loves them as teethers, too.
EZPZ cup As you may know, Elliot refuses bottles. We are focusing super hard on cups and this is his favorite. We practice by modeling what to do and by encouraging the movement with his hands.
Small bamboo snack bowls & plates We have been using these for 3 years and they are still super sturdy and in good shape.
OXO tot straw cup The straw is very easy to clean. Nothing is worse than cleaning old milk out of a tiny straw. This one is much bigger.
Stainless steel straw cup This is the only product on the list that I have not used, but it came highly recommended by Elliot's feeding therapist.
Kitchen helper This was a splurge when Max was a toddler, but we used it all the time. I can't wait to use it with Elliot. I would skip the white paint, though. It chips easily.
Wooden knife I was looking for ways to help Max be involved more in the kitchen. This knife is not sharp, but still cuts soft things. It is easy for little hands to hold.
Practical gift ideas for babies: Household items
Is there anything you’re using now that your baby will grow out of in the next few months? It may be a good time to buy those items. Think about things like towels and bath items.
Will they grow out of their car seat soon? Their clothes or shoes?
Towels This towel is expensive, but has lasted us 3 years.
Bath mat Is your baby growing out of their baby tub? They will likely need some sort of non-slip bath mat. This one worked great for us!
Electric toothbrush Great for oral stimulation and for easily brushing teeth.
Car seat We love this Cadillac car seat. It is comfy and grows with your kiddo. They can remain rear-facing for a long time and it has good crash test ratings.
Clothes or shoes for the next season
Wagon I never knew how often I would use a wagon. Definitely get the push one!
Practical gift ideas for babies: Developmental toys and books
My method for choosing toys and books is spending more on gifts that will grow with babies and that will be used for years to come and buying inexpensive gifts for items that will only be used for a short time frame.
Board books This is my favorite baby book. So sweet!
Stacking cups A super cheap toy that gets used all the time.
Picasso tiles You may think your baby is too young, but these will be used for years.
Push walker Slightly annoying, but a super helpful toy!
Balance bike We love our strider bike, which Max has used for a year now.
Yourigami couch I splurged on these last Christmas and they get used every day. We bring them on trips as a bed for Max, use them as a couch for movie nights, and build forts/castles/houses with them multiple times per week.
Practical gift ideas for babies: Subscriptions or memberships
If you are okay with your baby NOT opening presents, but want something they will enjoy all year, consider buying a membership to a local baby group. Some options may be baby music classes, mommy and me yoga, a membership to the zoo, or a children’s museum. You can actually make the purchase when it is age-appropriate for your baby.
Another option is a subscription service that sends age-appropriate toys, such as Lovevery or KiwiCo. They help take the guesswork out of what is developmentally appropriate and most have been tried by many parents with good reviews. While I never purchased a subscription, a close friend sent Elliot the newborn 3-box subscription from KiwiCo and we use those items almost every day.
Practical gift ideas for babies: A present for you
Your baby doesn’t necessarily need presents, but you know who does? YOU.
You should be treated for everything you have done all year.
Maybe you should get a massage, ask for a few hours away from your baby, treat yourself to a nice tea, or a new bag for when you don’t have to carry around the diaper bag 24/7.
I hope you get some great and practical ideas for your baby’s first Christmas. No. Toys are not bad. It is absolutely okay to buy toys, but this will be helpful if you are looking for non-toy gift ideas this Christmas.
I wanted to leave you with one tip that has been SO helpful for me.
Create an Amazon wishlist for your baby or toddler and add items immediately when you think of them. Give family members and friends access to the list so you don’t have to remember on the spot.
What are you buying your baby? Let me know!
*This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase using my links, I get a small portion of the money which helps me offer you free content.
Have questions about starting solids?
I have you covered! Starting Solids 101 is a self-paced digital course that goes over ALL of your solid questions.
- BLW vs purees
- How to assess your baby's readiness
- What, how much and when to offer solids
- Introducing allergens
- Choking vs gagging
- Bonus: Starting cups and drinks
Looking for more solids information?
Join my mailing list to receive a FREE guide with sample schedules for 4, 5, and 6-month-olds straight to your email.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason. Opt out anytime.