If it isn’t wedding invitations coming in the mail, the baby announcements are plastering your fridge, right next to your grandkid’s zebra drawing and the reminder to go to the dentist in 2 days. As exciting as it is to have a friend, child or sibling welcome a new life into the world, you have to be careful to not go overboard with the presents. It can be easy to do, seeing that every store and garage sale seems to have baby stuff “on sale” just at the right time.
How do I know this phenomenon seeing that I don’t have any children of my own? Here writes an older sister who was all about grabbing onesies, toys, and blankets galore for her brand new nephew! The sale section at Walmart and Target very much could have been my enemy, but a little voice inside said, “Your sister already has that for the kid.” That same voice is going to have to come in again as I prepare for nephew #2.
When you find yourself in this very similar predicament, may I suggest looking at this list writer Jill Smokler came up with to help you cross off the “Not-Needed” from the “Needed Always.”
~Anything that needs to be ‘grown into’ past year one. It’s okay if the outfit is a little big — after all, babies are tiny, and they grow super fast! Or if you got a pack of level-3 diapers. That’s fine, I’m sure they will come in handy. But do you have any idea how much space it takes to store things that baby can’t wear until the first grade? A LOT. So, unless you’re prepared to store it for mom, skip the “someday” clothes.
~ Anything hard to clean or, worse, dry clean only. Just don’t. Unless you plan to take care of that for her. Are you doing that? Because if so, I have a couple things for you to take …
~ Personalized gifts. There’s not a thing wrong with going the extra mile and getting something with baby’s name on it or having something monogrammed … unless you forget to double-check the spelling on baby’s name. Whooops.
~ Anything vintage/used. Some people don’t mind hand-me-downs or thrift store items, and then there are some people who mind it a LOT. Regardless of where your giftee falls on this scale, please, for the love of salt, make sure that everything is stain-free and in good repair. Unless you think handing over a bag of useless trash is the best way to welcome a new baby.
~ Dollar store gifts. Just because you bought it new from the store doesn’t magically make it better than if you purchased it at a yard sale (see vintage warning), and it’s probably lower quality.
~ Anything that makes assumptions; a collection of pacifiers (she may not use them), breastfeeding supplies (maybe she’s using formula), etc. The last thing she needs is stuff she doesn’t need. (Note from Nikki: it’s ALWAYS good to look at her registry, and if she doesn’t have one, just ask)
~ Clothes with team logos. Unless you know beyond all doubt that mom and dad are fans of a particular team, avoid the temptation to get Junior his first jersey. I know, I know. What’s the harm, right? And you found THE most adorable little Yankees jersey in a size three months that’s just too cute not to buy! Well guess what? Mom and Dad are Mets fans (*gasp*) and that delightful little onesie is going straight in the trash, possibly after being set on fire.
~ Seasonal items. If it will be Christmas in a month, please don’t get a holiday outfit in a size nine-month. It will be way too big this year and too small next year (i.e., USELESS). Baby also does not need a cute little swimsuit in a three-month, when she was born in September. Know what I mean? It’s a waste of money, time, and storage, and it makes it look like you don’t know how calendars work. Which is totally not true. Right? RIGHT?
~ An invitation or gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or day spa, if it has an expiration date anytime soon. This is TOTALLY a thoughtful and awesome gift, it can also end up being more of a problem that it’s worth. Leaving a new baby for the first time can be an extremely emotional affair that can take a long time to work through. Aside from that, she may not yet have a support system for childcare. So, by all means, get this one — just make sure it can be used at least six months or a year from when it’s given.
~ Anything you were given at your shower that you didn’t want. Obviously. (Side-note from Nikki: I don’t fully agree with this one. If you had all girls and for some reason someone gave you something specifically for a boy, AND it’s still in good condition, give it. It may be just what your friend wanted)