Saturday, February 19, 2011

Off the Registered Path

Giving a gift that is not on the registry can be a big hit.  Handmade and personalized gifts from the heart often become the centerpiece of lifelong memories.  For example, a knit blanket or a scrapbook ready to be filled with evidence of milestones.  These are standard winners, although often face competition because they are so standard.  My mother asked close friends and family to each design a square of fabric, which she then stitched together into a handmade baby quilt.  I still have it.

But, these adventurous gifts can also be a big old bust.  Every now and then there is the out-of-the box choice that misses the mark (by a long shot) and ends up under the crib (or in the annual summer yard sale).  Here are some thoughts to avoid the latter.

Making the call to give a gift that is not on the registry should be largely based on the gift receiver.  And, as a general rule, if you don't know the receiver well or you're just not sure - choose a gift on the registry.  Or, you could do both: a registered for and non-registered for gift.  Just keep in mind that there are a lot of registry items that the parents-to-be truly need.  Meaning, as much as you may think that the monogrammable baby snowsuit is the truly perfect gift, don't underestimate the perfection of a basic baby gift.  And don't underestimate the happiness that essential, non-creative, non-personalized gifts can bring.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Personalized Name Gifts - A gift that is personalized with the baby's name, initials or the first letter of his or her name
  • Knit and Crocheted Gifts - These are really popular and cover a range of items, many of which can be considered essentials.  Things like blankets, hats and swaddle pods (a trend that I'm seeing and hearing about constantly these days - is it new or did I just previous miss it?)
  • Holiday Gifts - For the right family, holiday themed gifts help the baby jump right into a cherished family festivity or tradition
  • Books - These are nursery fixtures and will get tons of use through childhood
  • Handprints and Footprints - Memorializing the baby's tiny hand or feet (or both) might be right in the parent's wheelhouse 
  • Year of Firsts Book - These scrapbooks allow the parents to easily chronicle all the amazing firsts that happen in year one 

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