Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What to Give When Your Friend's Expecting

At 28 I am in the process of transitioning from the "wedding stage" of my life (i.e., where most of your free time and disposal income goes into celebrating your friends' nuptials) to the "baby stage" (i.e., where said friends start having children and, again, much of your free time and disposal income goes into celebrating the blessed events). In short, my weekends in Vegas or Austin have been replaced with baby showers and "sip and sees". [By the way, the montage above is from the now-defunct Blueprint, which featured a spread on a baby shower thrown for two of its editors. This is definitely how an office baby shower should be thrown in my book.]

Sure, I could go the easy route and shop off the registry, but to be frank Babies 'R Us makes me nervous and I don't really enjoy the experience of gifting diapers and bottles. So I say let the new parents by the boring stuff and I'll play grandparent for a day by bringing the fun, unique gift. Over the course of the past year or so I've culled together a relatively fail-proof selection of "go-to" gifts for babies that with make just about any stylish mom-to-be happy and I thought I'd share them with you should any of the rest of you be in the baby stage of your life as well.

Without further ado, here are my favorites (in no particular order):

1. Pop Menagerie Piggy Bank from Jonathan Adler ($48). A piggy bank is a classic baby gift and this iteration (oh the polka dots!) from Adler just makes me smile. Perfect for the modern nursery.

2. Mary Jane Brights from Trumpette ($24.50). Sure babies can't walk, but that's no reason not to help kick start an early shoe fetish. Since baby shoes are impractical -- and not especially comfortable for little tootsies -- a set of these cute socks is sure to keep baby looking cool while keeping feet warm. For boys, try the Cowboy socks. The entire line of baby socks from Trumpette is available HERE. [Random aside: What is it about teenie, tiny baby shoes that make grown women coo and squeal in delight? Just try and surf that site without so much as a "so cute!" peep...just try it.]

3. Sleep Thief Playsuit from Chasing Fireflies ($48). From what I hear, newborns can never have too many onesies (after all, they're making costume changes multiple times a day) so these are always a safe bet. Extra points if the onesie manages to be (a) adorable, (b) not pastel, and (c) rub it in just a little that you, as the childless friend, are still sleeping in on Saturdays. For more inexpensive clothing options, I absolutely adore the baby clothes from DwellStudio for Target; this gift set for a baby boy for under $20 is insanely cute. And speaking of DwellStudio....

4. Stroller Blankets ($40) and Hooded Towels ($44) from DwellStudio. For a range of adorable yet modern patterns and unbelievable softness, you simply cannot beat DwellStudio's line of stroller blankets and hooded towels. I've gifted these in the past with great success and have every intention of doing so again (after all, if it ain't broken...).

5. Take Me Home Gift Set from Serena and Lily ($68). I love this gift set (and, truth be told, just about everything else on offer) from Serena and Lily, the purveyors of all things baby chic. It's lovely, simple and organic.

6. Elsa Peretti Open Heart and Fork Set from Tiffany's ($265). A gift of silver baby utensils from Tiffany's is the gold standard in shower giving. Obviously not something you'd gift to a friend of a friend, but for a sister, daughter or best friend, it's definitely worth giving them something they will treasure -- a future family heirloom. Of those currently on offer, the classic open heart motif is my favorite.

7. Children's books (various). If you want to instill a love of books in children, you have to start them young. Favorites from your own childhood are a lovely, personal gift for new parents. My personal choice would be a selection of books by Tomie dePaola whose beautifully illustrated stories I remember fondly from my own bedtime rituals.

8. Baby's First Book by Rag and Bone ($68). And finally, one of my all-time favorite shower gifts is this handmade baby book from Rag and Bone, an old-fashioned bookbinding company run by a couple out of Rhode Island. The book comes with plenty of space for the parents-to-be to fill in lovingly with all sorts of pertinent (and not so pertinent) information for the child to cherish many, many years later when she realizes just how great her parents are. All of Rag and Bone's books comes in a wide array of cover choices. If you're looking for a less expensive option, the brag book ($34) would also be much appreciated (though perhaps not by all the coworkers and strangers forced to ooh and ahh over the pictures therein).

So what about you? What sorts of gifts do you like to give new or expectant parents? If you're a parent yourself, what sorts of gifts did you most appreciate or cherish?


Christy said...

Oh these are all so cute -- love the piggy banks and the dwell stroller blankets!

To be honest our favorite presents after our daughter was born? Meals. We got gift cards for restaurants and picked up to-go, and we got home made meals we could freeze. And family came in and cooked for us. We were extremely sleep deprived (as most new parents are!) and totally appreciated the help.

Oh - and cleaning ladies. My mom had cleaning ladies come once a week for the first month and that was a HUGE help!

I'm sorry my answers are so not fun! But all of your designer choices are just fabulous too and I am sure all new moms would love any of them!!!

Unknown said...

Great ideas! I've had good luck with Kate Quinn Organics. They have cool stuff and great customer service.

Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

I love babies!!! Great items too - books are always welcome.

You should also check out tea collection clothing - - the absolute cutest baby clothing ever! I know with your stylish taste, you are going to love it too.


alison giese Interiors said...

I think Christy's suggestion is spot on - help with meals and cleaning is probably the best gift that could be given.

We received so many lovely little knick-knacks or "wear once" beautiful outfits - they are sincere gift ideas, but really not the best use of funds for the giver - just my opinion.

I would also suggest the gift of service - If you have some mad photography skills, offer to come in to take some candid shots of those first, precious few days. Forever treasured, I assure!

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Such cute ideas! And related to a post I have planned for next week...:) I have so many pregnant friends now. In my book club, whenever there's a new baby on the way we always buy books to start a library for our newest little member. Somehow, we always manage to buy different books!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Great go-to's Averill. I adore Dwell for Baby. I agree, Babies R US is a bit of a downer these days compared to what options are available these days. I bet Etsy is overflowing with terrific goodies too. I need grandchildren!!!

annechovie said...

I love those little booties, Averill!

Daniela said...

Great selection Averill! I see a lot of girls wearing those Mary Jane socks! Personally, I can't bear to spend $25 on a pair of socks! I will spend my money on cute bedding though! Romy's sheets are from Dwell Studio. The pattern is discontinued though. I believe it was called Bells-Pear. We had some friends over this past weekend that purchased Dwell for Target and I was impressed. The quality wasn't the same but the pattern was super cute!

Kitty said...

I remember those days fondly. Great post.

Things That Inspire said...

I am a decade older than you, and in the blissful 'sweet spot' where I am not spending much of my disposable income on either weddings or babies! So what is next, I wonder?

Although I do not have to buy too many baby gifts these days, on occasion I still get a baby announcement, and my favorite baby gift to give (by far) is Disney's Children Favorite Songs Volune 1-4. These CDs contain all of the songs that you knew as a child, but have forgotten, and it gives the ideal refresher course so you can sing song after song to your children - great for the kid and good for pure entertainment!

Maybe I am being a bit outdated recommending a CD, but there is always a chance that the albums are on itunes as well!

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

So cute, I especially love the Mary Jane socks! I will definitely have to remember those. My favorite baby gift is always a slew of baby books - and even not-so-baby books, like a collection of Shel Silverstein poems - always awesome!!

Alicia said...

I love Trumpettes, carried them in my last boutique I ran. I also lived Oopsy Daisy artwork...if you know the name or nursery theme. Tea clothing but the post natal spa day day for mom & a classical music cd for baby are my go tos. The wave of other stuff I leave to family...I like to remember to pamper.

Beth Connolly said...

50 shares of Exxon when Kate was born-between stock splits and dividend reinvesting over 18 years, it was worth a great deal by the time our daughter started college.

Kellie Collis said...

Love those playsuits!

Maple said...

I love the Tommy DePaola books- just donated a bunch to a school through I love Style Redux 2's idea, especially now that the market is low(er) and stocks are so volatile.

Lauren said...

I agree 100% on the books! I loved Tomie de Paola (sp?)!! The Clown of God was one of my favorite books :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great post! I am typically at a loss as to what to get for unique baby gifts and now I have this great resource of ideas.

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