Baby Gifting

So if you're anything like me....you blinked and all of a sudden 90% of the people you know are pregnant.  Ok, maybe 90% is an exaggeration, but it's A LOT.  Since all those new babies means invites to a lot of baby showers, it's not a bad idea to have a "go-to baby shower gift game plan".  (Phew - that was a mouth full).  For me, I love putting together creative gift baskets...really for any occasion - wedding showers, birthdays, Mother's Day.  I find gift baskets the perfect way to be able to hand pick a few favorite items and then wrap them all up in a fun and memorable way.  Sure this may take a bit longer than picking something off the registry and having Babies R' Us slap a bow on it, but this is a new life coming into the world!  If anything deserves a few extra minutes of care and preparation, I would say it's this!  The more info you have about the new baby the easier it is.  Male or female?  Name?  Decor theme for the nursery?  However, you don't need all of that information to still be able to put together an amazing gift.  Read on for the essential items I include in every baby shower gift basket.

So when it comes to gift baskets, I always like to think of myself as Oprah on her famous "Oprah's Favorite Things" episodes.  In other words, I like to gift things that I myself love.  And for a baby it's really no different.

1.  Books:  It's actually becoming a trend at baby showers for the parents-to-be to request a favorite children's book in place of the traditional greeting card.  I absolutely love this idea because I am a huge proponent of books as gifts.  Perhaps it's the inner nerd in me again, but I still look back on reading as one of my favorite activities growing up.  I think it's so essential to start building that library for a child as soon as possible.

2.  Baby Essentials:  There are some items every baby is going to need and you can't go wrong with.  Think diapers, wipes, bath soaps and lotions, onesies, bibs, and bottles.  I always like to include a few of these items, so that I feel like I am crossing something off the shopping list for mom.  And how adorable are the bibs below?  Fairies and the Eiffel Tower!

3.  Baby Clothes:  Ok, so this is primarily a fashion blog and I love clothes, so I always have to include some cute new outfits.  I mean everyone deserves to spend their first few days on earth looking stylish right!?  Although baby clothes are so cute and it's easy to want to buy everything, I try to keep myself in check in the baby clothes department.  It's good to try and find a few cute basics, but remember that mom is probably going to want to pick out all those first special occasion outfits on her own.  So although that red tutu with matching cardigan would be perfect for baby's first Christmas, you probably want to leave that up to mom.

4.  Don't Forget the Card:  So I did mention above that many parents-to-be are now requesting a children's book in lieu of a card.  I think this is great, but I'm also very old-school when it comes to hand-written notes, so I think it's wonderful to write a nice sentiment - whether that be on a card or on the inside cover of the book.  I'm not sure if every Trader Joe's has a card section, but they have the most beautiful card selection and they are all only $1!

5.  Re-usable Container:  Another reason gift baskets are so great, is that the "basket" doubles as another gift.  There are so many cute options, it actually can become a bit overwhelming.  I found this great gray and white patterned tote at Home Goods. It's neutral, so it will fit into the baby's room regardless of the nursery color scheme.  The new parents can easily store extra diapers, wipes, and powders in these wonderful totes.

6.  Biggest Items First:  When you start actually assembling your gift basket, you want to start with your biggest items first and place them toward the back.  I also put down a layer of paper shred in the bottom of the basket.  You'll also want to think about how you want to wrap your final product.  I typically purchase some tulle and wrap up around.  For this basket, I used a clear gift bag or you can always just tuck tissue paper in the basket.  Just make sure you have a plan before you start assembling items.  Below are the three items I always include in a  baby gift basket - a book, a stuffed animal, and a blanket.  Again - what are your favorite things?  For me growing up it was books and stuffed animals.  And as an adult, it's blankets!  haha.  But seriously, gift giving is so much more fun when you are sharing things that you already love with someone else. 

7.  Have a Method to the Madness:  Though a gift basket is essentially a collection of many different items, you don't want it to look like you just dumped everything in on top of one another.  When assembling, remember to remove or black out prices.  You don't want to remove the entire tag in case the item needs returned, but you can usually cut the price off.  I typically remove hangers from clothes, but for this basket I left a couple on.  Space items out so that it's visually appealing.  Mix colors, sizes, and textures.  

8.  Finishing Touches:  Let's be honest, the wrapping is going to make or break your gift basket presentation.  Although this basket was for a girl, I am not a big "pink princess" person (terrible I know), so I decided to do navy and white with a blue anchor for a cute nautical feel.  You can find great ribbon and other little decorative items at any craft store like Michael's or J0-Ann Fabrics.  

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9.  Tie It Up:  I mentioned above that I typically like to tie everything up in either a sheer tulle fabric or a clear gift bag like the one below.  Although items are visible, it still gives the gift recipient the full experience of unwrapping the gift and discovering all the great items inside.  

10.  Some Final Tips:  Creating a gift basket should be a fun process.  To take the stress out, I suggest starting a few weeks in advance and collecting one or two items every time you are out shopping.  This way you slowly start to assemble the basket and don't feel pressure the day before to go out and frantically find a dozen items to fill the space.  I also talked a lot about giving things that you personally love.  I think this is a great concept, but also keep in mind what you know about the recipient and what he or she loves.  If you love scented lotion, but your friend is allergic, then obviously don't gift them lotion just because you love it! ;)  

Although I usually stray from using the gift registry (and my friends probably hate me because of it - lol), it is still a good idea to check the registry out and consider buying at least one or two items off the list to fit with your basket.  The new parents go through a lot of time and stress putting that thing together, so the least we can do is take a look at it!  Depending on how close you are with the gift recipient, I also love including something very personalized.  So for example, a blanket from Etsy with the baby's name and birth date embroidered.  Most times you are not going to know that information until after the shower, but it's a great idea to keep in mind when going to visit the beautiful new bundle for the first time.  

The pic above is of my beautiful friend, Leah, and I.  Have you ever seen a more gorgeous 8 month pregnant person?!  It's hard for me to believe that I have known this momma-to-be since we were 18!  I won't even say how many years that has been, but it's pretty darn close to half my life.  We met in college as we were both Fashion majors and both on the Mercyhurst cheerleading squad (go Lakers!).  We would sit outside the fashion building at 2 in the morning crying because we couldn't figure out how to "thread our bobbins" for our final sewing projects and we would run laps at practice because we were always late.  We've stayed out way too late, drank way too much, and laughed way too hard.  But that's what best friends are for.  Thankfully we've gotten our sh*t together a bit more since then.  (Though I am still late for everything).  I'm so thankful to have friends like this girl in my life.  Beautiful inside and out, blunt and honest in the most inspiring way, and the kind of person who will always have your back.  The thing I have always admired most about Leah is her independence and her ability to literally not take crap from anyone.  Seriously.  I can't imagine a better role model and example of what a strong, independent girl should be.  Wishing Leah, Kurt, and the new lil lady all the happiness and laughter this world has to offer! XOXO