The Anti-Gift Guide: what not to buy this Christmas for Under 1s

So your sister has had a baby. Your best friend has popped one out. And your cousin? He’s disappeared into a haze of diapers & endless talk of wind with a giraffe called Sophie.

But it’s Christmas. And whether you want to buy the little one something, or feel obliged, I suggest you prepare yourself. I know if it was me, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. And Mothercare is a minefield to even the most seasoned of parents, so god help the rookies, nevermind the babbyless.

Below is a list of what not to buy this Christmas. I know, ‘it’s totes adorbs’ or hilarious or just ‘has to be done’. It doesn’t. Trust me. Don’t be that person. Please.

1. Drum Set

Carousel Drum Set, 3+

Carousel Drum Set, 3 years+. Step-the-eff-away & choose something else.

Really, you need an explanation of why not? There’s a de-friend button on Facebook. We’re not afraid to use it.

In this vein, if you buy any toy that makes noise – VTech, Fischer Price, Leapfrog, whatever – it had better have an ‘off’ button.

(Dad, this one’s at the top of the list especially for you. Hint, hint)


2. Shoes, specifically those with a hard sole for anyone under 1

Baby Converse, 0-12 months

Baby shoes, 0-12 months, potentially damaging. Failing that, they’ll just get lost. Avoid.

I agree, they look awesome. They’re mini shoes! But babies just kick them off. And they end up lost. And then everyone is sad.

Also, there’s now research suggesting babies & even toddlers shouldn’t wear shoes with a hard sole:

“Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot,” she says. “The feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down.” Walking barefoot, she continues, develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arch, improves proprioception (our awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.

Tracey Bryne, London podiatrist
speaking the Guardian in 2010
read the full article here


3. Raincoats for babies

Fisherman raincoat, 6 months+

Fisherman raincoat. Pointless until they’re toddling.

Babies spend their lives either in a sling under an umbrella, or in a pushchair under a rain cover. They have no need for a raincoat. And unless you’re going to splash out (no pun intended) they don’t usually provide much warmth either.

However, if bambino is toddling around, this does have it’s uses. More than likely they’ll be in & out of the pushchair, wanting to run around catching raindrops in their mouth. Why not throw in a pair of wellies too? (Despite number 2, toddlers can’t very well splash about in puddles in January in bare feet!)


4. Clothes for the wrong age in the wrong season

[Sorry, no image for this one, it’s a hard one to depict!]

If you have the foresight to think, ‘I’ll buy clothes for later because they’re bound to get loads for now’. Then quite frankly, I applaud you. You’re one of the few babyless geniuses. I certainly never thought of that before I had Baby Girl.

BUT think about the baby’s age. It’s no use buying that lovely, cuddly jumper at Christmas for six month’s time (July) when the UK might just make it into double-digits-Celsius. Just make sure you buy it for far enough ahead. Eg, if he or she is 9 months now, buy 18-24 months, which is next autumn/winter. You just won’t get to see them in it for a while.


5. Baby scarves & snoods

Baby scarves & snoods. 'Here's a stranglation device for your baby. Merry Christmas!'

Baby scarves & snoods. Helping babies strangle themselves everywhere.              Merry Christmas!

This seems an obvious one to me, but a few of my friends have indeed received a baby scarf or snood.

Babies love strings, wires, laces… Anything remotely dangly. And If something is wrapped around your neck & you pull on it, it gets tighter…

Just put the scarf down & walk away, mate.


6. Books with paper pages

This is how paper books will end up. Why not just give a bag of recycling for Christmas & save toddler the time?

Paper books. Why not just give a bag of recycling for Christmas & save toddler the time? (Photo courtesy of The Undone Blog)

It’s a lovely gesture, a special edition Mother Goose Rhymes book, or that classics collection Peter Rabbit book. But babies & toddlers do not mix well with paper books. Board books (with cardboard pages) are the only option until they are into preschool years. Any paper books will be put into a box in the cupboard or loft until suitable.


Baby Björn Original Baby Carrier

Baby Bjorn = baby forlorn

Baby Björn = baby forlorn

Where to start. This, unfortunately, is the one that catches many out. You think you’ve done a great job, got something genuinely useful & baby-related. But sadly…

  1. if you’re buying for a newborn, babies can’t use baby carriers until they’re 8lb.
  2. the Björn is not ergonomically friendly for babies’ hips. Their legs should be at a right angle, not dangling. See the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for more details.
  3. I’ve met so many babies who just don’t like the Björn. They sit in other slings or carriers happy as Larry, but in the Björn they just fuss & cry until you take them out. I don’t know why (maybe the hip thing?). I haven’t heard of any other carrier that has this effect on this many babies.

5 thoughts on “The Anti-Gift Guide: what not to buy this Christmas for Under 1s

  1. Lisa (Travel Loving Family) says:

    Ha an interesting take on the Christmas wish list! I’ve never really thought about the pointless rain jacket for an infant before but you are definitely right, it will never get used as baby will be snug under a rain protector in pushchair! If anyone bought my boys drum kits now at 18 months and 4 years old I would still de-friend them! #BeInspired

  2. Mummy's Blog says:

    Oh yes, someone bought my daughter a scarf – it wasn’t even for Christmas it was a gift when she was born. I’m quite shocked that they even make baby scarves, it seems like a disaster waiting to happen!

  3. Pam says:

    Great tips though surely a grandmother’s role in life is to indulge – drums sound perfect! Any advice for soon to be 3 year olds?

    • amiecaitlin says:

      For GranPam? I suggest soothing CDs or Potty Training aids with guaranteed success rates…. No drums. Not until we’ve moved into a bigger property with significant space between Little Miss’ wing and our own at least!

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