A little context, to get you in the mood: I hate gift guides. Of course, hate is a strong word. That’s why here, I have used it ON PURPOSE and with full intention.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Gift guides are AWFUL. They are not helpful. They are confusing and overwhelming.
And yet, when my friend had her first baby a month or so ago, there I was, poring over them like a chump, my brows furrowed with anxiety, imagining her closet full of hideous unused diaper bags, the baby lying there in a reusable diaper two sizes too large, half-naked and sporting some pink lacy headband.
SO many of the items in the gift guides were useless and misleading and SUPER EXPENSIVE and occasionally downright silly. Then I got to thinking about all the stuff I received as gifts when I had my first baby, much of which was VERY BEAUTIFUL and I certainly appreciated all of it. Was it all…umm, practical though? Maybe not.*
What do people with newborn babies want/need for The Holidays?
First of all, forget what they want. Who cares? They just had or are about to have a baby. They have no idea what’s going on. They start to want things that they think they need, like “wipes warmers.” Let me tell you something: nobody needs an electrical appliance that warms up wipes. (Well, except for me maybe. That sounds very nice, actually. Let me think about that one.)
The point is: SHUT UP GIFT GUIDES.
Do you need to buy a gift for new parents? Buy them one or more of these things:
- Over one thousand plain white facecloths. Not the nice, thick luxurious ones—the awful, thin ones that you might take camping. Why? Because luxury washcloths don’t dry efficiently, and these will need to be washed every day until they get holes, and even after that, even after your husband tells you that they are disgusting and you should throw them all out—you will continue to use them. When the baby turns one you can buy it one thousand more plain white washcloths every year until that baby goes to college. Wrap them with a pretty ribbon. (I’m joking about the one thousand thing. Ten thousand would be WAY better.)
- Glass baby bottles. Everyone knows that things taste better from glass bottles, why should milk/formula be any different? Also, they feel old fashioned-y and nice and they’re cheap and they last a long time. Wrap them with a pretty ribbon.
- Food for the new parents. A casserole they can heat up. A week’s worth of portion packed food for the freezer that they can thaw out and scarf down while standing in their apartment overwhelmed by joy/fear/emotion/fear/elation/terror. It’s hard to cook for yourself when you are pacing your home topless in sweatpants with moistened cabbage leaves stuck to your boobies. Aaaannnd…SCENE.
- A black and white toy, like a stuffed penguin or something; a toy with a lot of color contrast. Nothing too artsy please. That baby could not care less about that faceless corn husk doll you bought from that German website—faceless dolls…smarten up! Give her one of those books full of huge grinning baby faces—or something with googly eyes. The end.
- You must tuck something in there that a new mom would really like to do or read while nursing/feeding/sitting up all night frightened and in the darkness while the baby fusses. What does that mother like? Trashy magazines? Food or décor magazines? Documentaries about things that are sad? Box sets of Breaking Bad? MallowMars? How does that particular mother eat her feelings? Give her something to munch on for God’s sake. Let her have this one please, let her feed her soul. She keeps drinking Fenugreek tea, which is the most revolting beverage on earth—let her have a well made macaron, just this once, For The Love of God. Also, tell her she’s allowed to watch TV sometimes at a low volume when the baby is fussy. I did NOT know this. I spent far too much time staring out into space and thinking crazy thoughts when I could have just been watching Season 3 of Mad Men.
Thank you. I finally feel like I have put something good into the world.
*(Please forgive me. That baby blanket that your Nana crocheted for me—it was gorgeous. I cherish it. When I put it over my newborn baby to cuddle up under, she immediately got her fingers and toes all tangled up in the decorative holes. It was ridiculous, like watching a cat try to claw its way out of a turtleneck sweater. It went in a trunk for things that are to be treasured forever. Thank you.)
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