Married men and guys with girlfriends can skip this post. So can single guys who would rather turn over baby gift shopping to mom, a sister or a favorite gal pal. There’s nothing wrong with taking the easy way out.
I’m sure there are lots of single guys who face the task of buying a gift for their married friends who have babies. I’m talking to you. Here’s your chance to man up and make one heck of an impression on members of the opposite sex, most of whom view a man’s ability to pick out the perfect baby gift as sweet, sensitive and downright sexy, not to mention completely unexpected. The truth is, picking out a great baby gift is easier than you think. Here are six simple tips to baby-gift buying if and when you’re ready to make a truly bold statement:
- Gender—These days, most parents-to-be learn their baby’s gender early on through an ultra-sound, and usually they’re willing to share the info with family and friends. Of course, there are always couples who prefer to wait to be surprised. When selecting a gift, fall back on what you know–pink for girls and blue for boys. When you don’t know the baby’s gender, look for baby clothes or gifts in yellow or green. Of course, there are plenty of baby gifts where color isn’t an issue, like a diaper disposal.
- Shopping Options—You’ll have two choices here, and one of them makes it really easy. Parents-to-be almost always register at a store like Babies ‘r’ Us, Target, etc. When they register, they go through the store and identify all the items they want. Particularly with first-time parents, most of the items will be necessities like a diaper disposal, baby bottles and other feeding accessories, a stroller, crib linens, high chair, baby monitor, etc. Typically, their selections will run the gamut with regard to price. When you go to the store at which they’re registered, you can obtain a print-out of everything they’ve chosen. It will also tell you how many of each thing they need and whether or not it has already been purchased by someone else. Determine how much you want to spend and buy accordingly. Still not confident? Get them a gift card to the store at which they’re registered. You can’t miss. Your other option is to trust your own judgment and pick out a gift on your own. Very brave–and very doable. Go to the next bullet.
- Online vs. Your Neighborhood Mall—Baby boutiques abound online and at your neighborhood mall. If you’re into mall shopping, go for it. Or you can sit in your skivvies at home, drink a beer and surf the ‘Net. The following keywords will open the doors to dozens of e-tail establishments where a world of baby gifts awaits: baby gifts, baby clothes, baby toys, newborn gifts, baby gift baskets, personalized baby gifts, baby gift ideas. Any one of those should do it. Trust me. Sales people in stores and customer service reps online are more than willing to help you with suggestions. Online stores will be happy to ship the gift to you or directly to your expectant friends.
- Baby Gift Categories—Don’t be afraid to make the call on this. Decide ahead of time what you’d like to give—baby clothes, baby toys, baby accessories, baby room decor, baby blankets, keepsake gifts like photo albums. If you’re still clueless, most online baby gift sites will help you with a list of categories you can browse until you’ve finished the six-pack. Something will catch your eye eventually.
- Sizes—If you’re buying baby clothes, pay attention. Baby clothes and a few other baby-related items start out at size 0-6 months. At that age, unless the new mom popped out a 12-pound baby, one size fits all. And, of course, those tiny clothes are just adorable! However, you might want to think ahead and purchase clothes in size 6-12 months, so the baby will have some new attire available a few months down the road after outgrowing all those newborn clothes everyone gave them.
- The Cuteness Scale—The truth? The recipients of your gift will be touched, no matter what you choose. That’s what they’ll tell you to your face, and more often than not, they’ll mean it. But it’s always a good idea to include the “gift” receipt with the gift. The receipt doesn’t reveal what you paid—it simply confirms that the gift was bought at a certain store, so they can easily exchange it for something more suitable if necessary. (That’s when they find out how much you paid.) There are a couple of ways to practically guarantee they’ll keep your gifts. One way is to have it personalized with baby’s name. The other is to give a gift that bangs the needle on The Cuteness Scale. Some gifts are uniquely designed with gift-packaging that melts the new mom and dad’s hearts. A gift like that, coupled with the knowledge that you picked it out yourself, will have them showing off your gift to everyone for days. A couple of examples are on the left (“Big Dreamzzz” Baby MD Sleep Set) and right (“Chick Wagon” Layette Set.)
That’s all there is to it. Armed with this knowledge, you can boldly go where few men dare to tread—baby gift shopping!