by: Michael Kabel

If you're a new parent, you know the exquisite joy and hope that permeate a baby's first holiday season. There's something about the holidays and the new life in the family that fairly crackle with hope. It's no coincidence that the symbol of the New Year has traditionally been a newborn child. Both represent the hope for a brighter tomorrow.

The holiday season is a time for gifts, too. In fact, there's a sort of unofficial tradition in many parts of the world that a child's first holiday season be given over completely to keepsake gifts and mementoes. The inaugural holiday only happens once in their lifetimes (of course) and giving keepsake gifts commemorates that special occasion by giving presents that can stand the test of time. 

Who should give keepsake gifts?

Friends and family members close to the new family traditionally give keepsake gifts, either in their official capacity as godparents or simply to communicate their best wishes.

There's sometimes a popular misconception that the keepsake gift has to involve something expensive or elaborate. This is simply not the case. Many keepsake gifts can be purchased for less than forty dollars, including the cost of gift-wrapping and delivery.

What makes the best keepsake gift?

The unique keepsake baby gift can be something small but elegant or it might just as well involve something homey and charming. The idea is to give something you feel will last as the baby's grows into childhood but then can be stored safely away as a nursery souvenir.

When shopping for a keepsake gift, you can go the elegant route of something sterling silver or pewter. These gifts make wonderful nursery room décor and store for years on end with only a little amount of protective covering. Some come equipped with a wooden or otherwise durable storage box, so the presentation of the gift is a moment to remember but that lasts for a long time afterwards.

On the opposite track, keepsake gifts can also be something as useful and charming as a handmade quilt or delicately pretty layette set. Some such gifts feature embroidered personalization, so they're as unique as the recipient. They can be preserved over time with only moderate storage precautions (like airtight bags, for example) and make wonderful family heirlooms. If not personalized, they also serve a more practical purpose when younger siblings arrive in years to come.

How to shop for keepsake baby gifts

It pays to shop around when trying to find the perfect baby keepsake gift. There's a surprising amount of choices available, both online and in real world stores. Of course, you want to look for sturdy construction and the availability of personalization.

Look for the gift that excites you. If you can imagine the parents thrilled to have the gift, and appreciating the gesture that you've made, the gift may have keepsake potential. Many retailers and online merchants also sometimes have keepsake gifts reserved in a special section or are of their store.