Mommyish Gift Guide: 6 Perfect Gifts For Baby Because Baby Has No Idea It’s Christmas

89277867Once, many years and several children ago, I was given some advice about babies and Christmas.  I was struggling with my Norman Rockwell expectations for my two-year-old’s holiday. My neighbor, a veteran parent with two kids in middle school, shared some hard fought wisdom.  Babies and toddlers, she explained, will never remember these first few Christmases. Relax, she told me. Wrap up a box of Cheerios and a box of Band-Aids and call it a day.  The baby gets a snack and something fun to stick all over herself and you get to skip a trip to the mall to battle it out over a toy that your daughter knows nothing about. Embrace the simplicity and the magic of those early holidays, before they get old enough to make lists.  It was great advice that I promptly ignored. I smiled and nodded, and then went on my merry way to buy gifts that my daughter cared little about, and that also became quite creepy as their batteries drained (I’m looking at you, TMX Elmo!)

Two years later, I was given another chance to reclaim the simple magic of the holiday when my second daughter was about 17 months old. I caved again, as the lure of Melissa and Doug was too great.  Not only did my daughter become annoyed about 2 presents in; she insisted on sitting in her high chair to eat, what else? -  Cheerios- and watch us open her gifts instead.

Now I am given my final shot. Here I sit, reading Amazon reviews about blocks, toys made from recycled materials and activity centers needing 8 batteries.  Meanwhile,  my 11-month-old son  is smashing the TV remote, eating  a leaf off of the ground, and trying to sneak away to hang out in his favorite place- the dog bowl.  According to the internet, the thing that will make him happiest involves primary colors, lights, and a switch to make it speak in Spanish. According to my son, the thing that will make him happiest is 30 seconds alone with a roll of toilet paper.  How do I reconcile his special first holiday with the now deeply ingrained knowledge that this gift grab is ridiculous? If I don’t get him Big Hugs Elmo, what do I get him instead?  So here are a few simple things I have come up with, because we already have a full box of Cheerios in the cabinet.


1. Gerber Puffs

(Image: Gerber)

(Image: Gerber)

 I am pretty sure my baby would slap me in the face with his tiny, chubby fists until I gave up these goods. Puffs are definitely on his list.

2.  Pudding

(Image: getty)

(Image: getty)

One, it’s a delicious stocking stuffer.  Two, it is edible finger paint. He can go to town “painting” and I don’t have to battle his need to shove everything in his mouth.  When he’s done, I can just hose him off.  If you are feeling adventurous, there are instructions available on making various colors.

3. A box of tissues

(Image: getty)

(Image: getty)

Something about a box of tissues makes a baby soooo happy. Look at the soft, fluffy mess!  Don’t spring for the aloe, as these tissues will never actually be used to blow a nose.  If you want to go a little more earth friendly, fill an empty tissue box with scraps of sturdier material for the baby to pull out and stuff back in.

(Image: Pinterest)

(Image: Pinterest)

4. A container full of buttons

(Image: Getty)

(Image: Getty)

Fill it, dump it, and fill it again. Sort it, shake it, and roll it under the couch. Not for babies that will eat the buttons. See: my child.

(Image: Pinterest)

(Image: Pinterest)

5. A basket full of treasure

(Image: Pinterest)

(Image: Pinterest)

Walk around your house and fill a basket with an old hairbrush, hair bows not being used by older siblings, an eggbeater,  a seashell, a glove and a few scraps from old T-shirts. Call it a “sensory basket” and feel very creative and smart inside.

6. Box fort

(Image: getty)

(Image: getty)

You can use a combination of the boxes from retailers that will come when you ignore my advice, and free boxes from Lowe’s. Basically, you build a baby and toddler maze. That’s the gift that keeps on giving. What’s the old saying- Kids this age prefer the box to the present? Damn straight.


Good luck, parents of little ones! And remember to relax and enjoy these first holidays, because someday your child might hand you a list that includes a jet pack and a grappling hook. Or maybe they will sleep with the American Girl Doll catalogue under their pillow, opened to the page with the $300 doll car. Either way, you are going to miss those Cheerio days!

(Image: getty)

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  • MJ Arquette

    Love this and so true. Tissues are for me this year as many boxes from yoyo and amazon come to my door.

    • Jessica

      I need to get my husband a tissue box as well. Cheerios won’t cut it for the older two!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I am hoping all the parents in my classroom give me Kleenex this year instead of the usual teacher present stuff. We’re out of damn Kleenex and that’s what I really need!

    • Eve Vawter
    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I actually remember that article! :)

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Holy crap, I just realized I commented under that article but was using a diff. name then. :)

  • SA

    For Christmas for my one-year old, I am buying toys for her that I am interested in. If she doesn’t like them, fine, at least I will have something to do while she insists that I sit in the nursery and watch her climb in and out of her chair. :)

  • Paul White

    I’ve been trying to tell this to my sons grandparents and uncles…he’s gonna be 1 year and one month old on Christmas. He does not care.

  • CP414

    My daughter was 10 months old at her first Christmas. When she saw all her gifts she was excited, when we tried to have her open some and play she got crazy angry. I was so disappointed and wound up opening the rest of her gifts myself after she ate. Lesson learned for next baby!

    • Jessica

      Did you get some angry pictures? My daughter was practically rolling her eyes at me at 17 months.

  • Jon

    I am still haunted by my daughter’s complete indifference to the high-quality toddler drumset I purchased for her 2nd Christmas.

    • Eve Vawter

      HAHAHAHAHAHAH. we need to make a big list of things babies just don’t GAF about

  • kay

    anything i’ve bought for the baby lately that she doesn’t immediately need I’ve been wrapping. She’s getting SO MANY PRESENTS. Like puffs and diaper cream and bibs…I may have wrapped some diaper genie refills this morning.

  • Kim

    There is a big present wrapped up under my mother’s tree with my 6 month old’s name on it that is just about the right shape, weight and feel to be a jumbo box of nappies. I like that present.

  • K

    Love this list! One thing to add….a musical card with a song that doesn’t annoy you. Hours of entertainment right there!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Somebody got my kids one from Friends that would have Ross saying “I’m the holiday Armadillo” over and over. Best. Card. EVER.

  • ted3553

    last year, my son was 5 months at christmas and we actually didn’t get him anything. He hung out in a laundry basket and played with the remote. This year, he gets 1 box of Duplo from us because he’ll get more than enough toys from everyone else although I may also give him a box of tissue because that’s a stellar idea and will definitely be a hit

  • Rachel Sea

    A box of plasticware, and a silicone spatula: they open and close, they stack, stuff can be put in them, they make a great not-too-loud racket when whacked together, and they’re all chewable.

  • pixie

    I was going through some old family photos and found some that must have been from my 2nd Christmas when I was just shy of 15 months. In half the pictures someone is trying to get me to play with one toy or another, but I’m way too thrilled to be sitting in an empty box or running around with a giant sticky bow on my head.

  • Amber Starr

    OH my god… You have all given me such great ideas for gifts for the baby for this year & next year. I freakin’ love you all. True story.

  • AugustW

    My daughter is 3 and this is the first year I have bought her birthday or Christmas presents. She is the only girl with 6 older boy cousins, so yeah, every day is Christmas in her world. She doesn’t really care.

    For the record, it’s December and she’s still trying to trick-or-treat my neighbors at every opportunity.

  • Courtney Lynn

    The great thing about babies is they don’t give a damn about Christmas.

  • AP

    My sister was due in early January, but was born a week before Christmas. I don’t remember what she got ( pacifiers, washcloths, bottles, I think) but she spent a good portion of that Christmas sitting under the tree with a bow on her baby carrier, surrounded by presents and candy canes.

    • Kay_Sue

      My younger sister was born in October. Her first Christmas, we lost her in the wrapping paper from everyone else…

      Yup, 20 years later it is still funny.

  • jendra_berri

    OMG, basketful of treasure! Boom!

  • DatNanny

    The best part about this list is all these things are so much better for baby’s development and cognitive skills than any battery-powered “learning toy” you can buy.

  • Sam Inoue

    Lol, my son will be a little over 7 months so I feel you on the not wanting to buy to much! With our we bought het some new clothes she was gonna need anyway and let her shread the wrapping and boxes

  • CrushLily

    For my son, we can’t go wrong with the three Bs: balloons, bubbles and books. I am tossing up getting him a new toy since he’s technically grown out of his current ones (he’s 2.5) but when I weigh up how much he loves playing with the 3Bs it comes down to deciding whether to give him something I know makes him happy or something that might make him happy but will most likely sit in my living room collecting dust.

  • Sarah Thompson

    Christmas is coming, the latest bag here, good price quality, introduced to everyone

  • Stacey

    YES! I have been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out what to get for a 6 month old that doesn’t give a damn about Christmas. Pudding sounds fantastic. Cause she figured out that whole object permanence thing so I don’t think I can convince her the jumperoo is new.

  • val97

    Thank you for this! My niece is 18 months, and I’ve been wondering what to get her. I have 2 boys, 8 and 14, and my mind is too frazzled too recall what they liked as babies. Now I remember. They did not gaf.

  • GPMeg

    This is probably the best list ever! I got a case of those puffs for my goddaughter her first Christmas (she was a January baby) and her first word was “Meg” — I’m pretty sure it’s related to the sheer amount of snackage that was piled upon her that year. Not because her mother and I share the same name.

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  • Helen Hyde

    Bought my one year old a scooter that he can’t use until he’s like 3 or something. Stub my toe on that damn thing every day. I’m such a jackass. This year my now 2 year old is getting smaller things for sure!!

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