On September 10th, my tiny baby turned one year old, and quite frankly, I’m still in shock. Because she’s not walking yet, I’ve been in denial, but the truth is plain to see—I no longer have a newborn, an infant, or a baby. I am the parent of a toddler.
I was never really around younger kids growing up (I’m the youngest of my whole family) so I had no idea what in the world to plan for her birthday party, let alone how to answer the well-meaning but totally stupefying question of “what does she want?” The only thing that she is truly, truly passionate about is food and empty water bottles. I figured I should probably just ask around to find out “What’s the best gift you can give a one-year-old, and why?”
Here’s what my friends had to say:*
“PJ’s! We have plenty of toys and clothes.”
“A cute outfit in the parents’ taste/style for pictures or holiday that is coming up. All the cute ones that you got from the shower are grown out of and parents have other higher priority things to worry about.”
“Off the record- Experiences! I wish people (in-laws) gave us a membership to children’s museum instead of mountains of noisy plastic crap that I’m going to get rid of as soon as I think [my son] won’t notice.”
“Savings bonds or college fund. They get way too much in the toy department. A book with a note written in it and dated.”
“I would say I liked getting gift cards. I was able to put them towards practical items we needed. I got a mat for the bath tub, diaper cream, his Halloween costume, and I did get him one fun item, which was a small doodle board. I still have money left over, I’m deciding what to get with it.”
“Jammies, or money for the college fund. I also like the idea of experiences, but only for things I know we’d utilize like swim lesson, the aquarium, or children’s museum.”
“You can never go wrong with books! I also think a subscription to Babybug or Hello Magazine would be great.”
“Zoo memberships are so great at this age when families need some time out and about. Dinner/shopping with a 1 year old usually ends in stress. The zoo is fun for everyone though and mamas need out of the house! And yes, clothes are always iffy and toys just pile up. We’ve gotten lots of duplicate books too.”
“I love personalized books from I SEE Me. I got the “Who Loves _____” one for my older son for his first birthday and it’s so, so cute. I get the baby one as baby gifts for friends and they are always huge hits!”
“My dad and stepmom got [my son] a savings bond and I thought that was a really good gift. He will get that money when he’s ready to go to college.”
“We don’t have any particularly interesting children’s museums around here, but a San Diego Zoo membership or something like that would be cool! Books are great.”
“I have to say the Melissa & Doug shopping cart is the best gift. We’ve gotten almost 4 years out of it and it’s played with daily.”
“I’m not going to say it’s the best gift for a 1 year old. But the Disney Collection Mickey Bath Toy Set has been my favorite thing [my son] got. He’s in love with them (they are pretty big—maybe 6″ each) and carries them all around the house.”
“Musical instruments! If you don’t mind the noise, they keep baby entertained for a while. And you can play with them too—I like to get on the floor and ring the little bells. My daughter loves them!”
Of course, I also wanted to reciprocate a little something for the parents and children that came to the party by way of the gift bags. My husband will tell you that I’m practical to a fault—any party bag that you get from me will be useful or edible. I decided to give out Ubbi’s Tweat containers.** They are useful, come in adorable colors, and are the perfect size for toddlers to manage on their own. I even had my adult friends without kids asking if they could keep them. Best of all, they’re spill-proof and dishwasher safe.
What are your favorite gifts to give a one-year-old?
*Names are omitted to protect the feelings of well-meaning but misguided friends/mothers-in-law/grandparents who bought us crap that we will never, ever use.
**I received a wholesale discount from Ubbi because I bought a ton of these suckers, but I was not compensated for saying nice things. I just really, really like Ubbi.