There’s a new nephew on the way. . .YEAH!!!
Except my wallet can’t keep up with my exuberance. . .or the registry.
Now, any experienced Mom will say you don’t need even a 1/4 of the stuff the “babymoneymakingmerchandisingmachine” says you do. . .Yet, still you have to show up at the shower with a little sumthin’. Especially if it’s one of those showers where they unwrap every damned gift while everyone pretends to enjoy the flat soda punch and dry as dirt cake-pops.
When I had the budget, I ALWAYS went TIffany’s. Sterling, spoon, cup, porcelain plate set, charms, engraving. . .impressive, timeless, keepsake, whole hog. . .
Now that I stay home with the kid, the budget is a tad slimmer. . .but I still like keepsake and sentimental. . .
Here are my best ideas:
1. Frames – Get 12. Either for a wall or a table top. In various shapes and sizes. You can go uniform frames or mixed styles depending on the parents’ decor style. Insert in each frame, a stencil or paper cut-out of the numbers 1-12. Parents have a ready to go photo gallery for baby’s first year. Bonus? If you etch the numbers 1-12 into the lower corner of the glass or stencil it onto the frame, once baby graduates to 1, then parents can use the frames for 1-12 years.
2. Library Cart – Find a small cart at Ikea or flea market. Paint, embellish as needed. Load that sucker up with books. Some for baby on the bottom rack and one or two for Mom and Dad on the top rack. Maybe add a little plush animal to keep watch over everything. Watch everyone swoon when you roll it into the shower. No wrapping required. But you’ll put a bow on it anyway. . .won’t you?
3. Coins – My in-laws do this, have been doing it for a while for friends and family and I love it. They purchase for new babies a US Mint Proof Set for the year they were born. It’s a cool thing to have – boys especially seem to like coins – and it doesn’t break the bank.
4.. Bags – Little and big hand sewn bags with simple string closures at the top. For dry snacks (Cheerios and goldfish), for puzzle pieces, for hair bands, for toiletries, for jewelry, any little bits and bobs. . .They look better, feel better, and are better for the environment than a plastic bag. Bonus? They are way less of a choke hazard should the kid want to play with them.
5. Journal – Baby books are intimidating. Sometimes writing in them feels like the “permanent record.” Make, put together, or purchase a few smaller journals where sleepy parents can record simple and useful things. Say 1 week old baby had 3 ounces at a feeding at 4AM. When baby gets up at 7AM and only wants 2 ounces, Mom or Dad won’t be concerned, nor will they have to get the sleeping parent awake, because it’s noted. New parents won’t have to worry about bad handwriting or grammar in the “permanent record.” Good for scrapbook lovers too – they can repurpose all the pages.
6. 4 Huge Storage Tubs – Sounds nuts, but the kid outgrows everything – EVERYTHING – faster than you can blink. Offer up 4 tubs and 4 blank small photo albums. Mom can chuck all the out-grown stuff into the tubs every 3 months, but before she does, she can make sure she has pictures of the kid loving on whatever is on the way out. It’s so much easier to part with things if you have photos.
7. Speaking of Photos – Find out what online photo service the parents use and purchase them a pre-paid print plan. Or find our what computer printer they have and purchase them ink and photo paper and magnet paper, and T-shirt transfers. . .Bonus? You’ll get lots of cute kid photo swag.
8. Start a Life of Service and Charity – Consider a donation in their name to an aquarium or zoo where they can “sponsor” an animal or purchasing/planting trees. Give related items for the shower – small stuffed toy, books, etc.
9. Knit, Crochet, Sew – anything hand-made is super sentimental. I’d say blankets are way over-done. . .go with novel, brilliantly designed hats, mittens, tights, socks, toys, pretend dress up clothes, etc.
10. Get sumthin’ for Mama. . .A charm with pre-paid engraving for the baby’s name/birthdate, A huge box with photos of all the meals and goodies you are going to cook and freeze for her so she’s stocked up when the baby arrives (Photos are a bonus because they can go right in the baby book!) If you have a skill, offer photography, or nail painting, or hair coloring, etc. Sharing your talent is a pretty good gift. . .Unless you suck at it.
Go cheap, think deep, and watch ’em weep.