Present Perfect

Gift suggestions for baby showers and first birthdays.

When baby showers and children’s parties pop up on the calendar, do you head to the same stores— again and again and again? In need of some new gift ideas? Finding the perfect present for the soon-to-be parents or their child’s first birthday is never easy. Make your gift memorable and appropriate with some of the following suggestions, such as customizing a present depending on the recipient.

Personalized Gifts

Gifts that are personalized have grown in popularity in recent years. This can be as simple as taking the time, perhaps with one of your children, to decorate a plain photo frame or embellish an album. Add a twist to traditional items, such as baby blankets, bath robes and teddy bears, by having the baby’s name embroidered on what you plan to give.

Personalized jewelry is a luxury baby present that every parent treasures. Nowadays there are many fashionable choices. Consider mommy and baby matching birthstone necklaces or a bracelet set with names to commemorate a special bond.

And all parents love a good book to read to their children. To make the book you bestow a family favorite, have the newborn or birthday child star in a customized book that features his or her name.

In the case of a baby shower, don’t worry if you don’t know the baby’s gender or name yet. There are many great options that allow the parents to customize the gift after their baby is born, including keepsake banks, handprint kits and baby books in which the mom-to-be can record baby’s firsts.

Baby Shower Gifts

Presents are an important part of any baby shower. As the organizer, you are sure to impress with a multi-tiered diaper cake as a centerpiece, along with favors that match the shower’s theme or color scheme.

Gift baskets are fun to create yourself. Or, buy one off the shelf and enhance it by choosing products specific to the family’s lifestyle or values, such as with wooden toys, organic clothing and natural bath products. Help make older children happy by including a gift for each sibling in the basket.

Another easy and fail-safe approach is to review the gift registry. Choose an item from the baby registry or offer a gift card from the store where the couple has registered.

For the New Mom and Dad

Having a baby is like starting a new chapter in your life. What better way to capture the treasured times to come than by eternalizing them in a scrapbook? Complete kits are available that have everything for new parents to document precious family memories. Give such a gift and you will be giving the family a valued keepsake.

Allow for some relaxation after baby’s birth by giving the expecting mom a luxurious spa basket. And a set of personalized cuff links or a keychain is a wonderful idea for a new dad. Add a little humor to dad’s wardrobe with a silk tie on which he can add the foot and handprint of his little bundle.

First Birthday Gifts

As any parent can testify, a child’s first birthday is a significant event marking a period of rapid development and intense learning. Every bit of progress is exciting and the commencement of a new adventure. Choose the right toy to stimulate baby’s senses, motor skills and development. Touch & Feel animal books, interactive music toys, building blocks and stacking toys are some of the must-haves to foster a toddler’s development. But realize that interactive toys are not all equally designed from a noise-level perspective. Consider how loud or repetitive a toy’s sounds are to make life easier on sleep-deprived parents.

Wooden toys are generally an ideal choice; they are sturdy, attractive and great for the imagination. As babies are fascinated by high-contrast patterns and colors, toys with vibrant designs or red, blue or yellow motifs capture their attention.

Child safety should be a top priority when selecting the appropriate gift, whether it means avoiding small parts, lead-based paint or BPA in plastic items.

Little ones quickly outgrow their clothes. Cute outfits are welcomed by parents, especially when there is room to grow into clothes. Think about the season you are buying for and perhaps purchase the next size up as parents don’t always have clothes for the child’s future use. Also consider choosing organic fabrics to minimize the impact on the environment and delight today’s modern mom.