By Alberto Mendez
A baby's birth is a special occasion, and there is an ancient tradition that gifts should commemorate the joyous event. Gifts can memorialize the event, offer help to the parents, or provide luxury to the newborn infant. Indeed, there are so many different kinds of baby gifts, both unique and mundane, that choosing the best one to convey your good wishes and denote generosity may seem an overwhelming dilemma. This is especially so in the era of online shopping, when stores offer any abundance of baby gifts, far more than typically available in most retail outlets. Nevertheless, many gift givers with the best of intentions sometimes overlook some gift ideas that, when considered, may seem even obvious in retrospect.
Perhaps the gifts with the most immediate value are supplies the parents can use to care for the baby in the first few months. These can include gifts such as bath sets, diaper cakes, or blankets. Bath sets combine the needs of baby's bathtime - soft shampoo, soap, and towels - into a handy bundle, and are usually artfully arranged in a basket or gift box with tasteful decoration. These gifts spare new parents the hassle of assembling bath time items or devoting precious time to shopping. A similar gift idea is the diaper cake, which is literally a stack of disposable diapers arranged into a pyramidal, cake-shaped foundation and decorated with any number of embellishments. It's almost a cliche to say new parents can never have enough diapers, and diaper cakes provide a good head start against that shortage.
Bath sets and diaper cakes are also noteworthy in that they are not unusually expensive. When considering a gift, some family friends and godparents are tempted to "let the money talk" - buy an expensive gift as proof of their joy and benevolence. But parents often buy the priciest items for a baby's nursery very early in the pregnancy, well ahead of the due date. Also, gifts with a hefty price tag can often appear gaudy. So, gift givers would do well to remember the simple gifts, when chosen sincerely, bring the most lasting gratitude.
When buying clothes for a child, it's best to buy items that are a little large for the child, to give him or her time to grow into it. Babies grow fast, and toddlers grow faster, and adequate clothing is a constant headache for parents concerned about their budgets. Buying clothes literally with "room to grow on" will last longer, provide more comfort in the long run, and can even be reused with any siblings that might appear later.
For the decidedly sentimental touch, personalizing a gift is a great way to make a gift into a family heirloom. Gifts such as a personalized spoon or plate remain useful after childhood, and can be saved for future generations. They may possibly be slightly more expensive, and take longer to deliver, but are certainly worth it for the extra touch of sincerity.