Not sure what to get that baby on your holiday shopping list this year? That’s OK, me neither. My son is going to be 10 months old and he has yet to produce a wish list. How am I supposed to know what he wants Santa to bring him if he won’t write it down? So as a newbie father I have a few ideas for what to get a baby who is still too young to remember their first Christmas, but not old enough to want to forget it.
Let’s start with the obvious — college fund. By the time my son is 18 it will cost roughly a bazillion dollars for him to go to school, so instead of gifts, the obvious choice is to put money aside in a college fund. Now if you are dirt poor (as most new parents are) and don’t have the funds to invest in college for your child just yet, hook up with the Harold Alfond Scholarship. For those of you living in Maine with a baby less than a year old it is free money for them for college. Let me say that again — it is free money. It takes a little time but look at it as if you are shopping for the perfect Christmas gift, which in this case happens to be $500.
Now let’s talk about some “tangible” gifts for the little ones in your life.
The Fisher-Price® Laugh & Learn™ Love to Play Puppy™. This dog does it all. It knows your kids’ name, sings songs, plays games, lights up, teaches numbers and colors — basically does everything but change and breastfeed your baby for you. Unwrap and unwind while your little one is distracted for hours by their new best friend.
“The Elf on the Shelf” makes sense for those of you with young kids. It is a fun holiday tradition to start with your child. The doll comes with a story book and an adoption certificate. The elf is basically a spy for Santa that watches over your child in the month leading up to Christmas to make sure they walk the line. Each night after you child goes to bed the elf reports to Santa about the day’s events and returns to a different spot in the house before your child(ren) wake up. Seems like a fun holiday tradition that has kids getting up each morning looking around the house for where the elf is that day. Here are a few hilarious examples of where you can put the elf.
For those of you out there thinking more along the lines of literature for your son or daughter may I recommend something simple like a book or two.
“I Love My Daddy Because“ by Laurel Porter Gaylord
“Tyrannosaurus Dad“ by Liz Rosenberg
“Just Me and My Dad” (Little Critter Series) by Mercer Mayer
“Blue-Ribbon Dad“ by Beth Raisner Glass
“My Father Knows the Names of Things“ by Jane Yolen
“Sunny Bunny Loves His Dad“ by Penny Little
“Daddy Hug“ by Tim Warnes
You get the point. Also, I like to remind people that although the books listed above are all linked to Amazon, make sure to shop local when you can. I recommend The Briar Patch in Bangor, Longfellow Books in Portland, and in the Bull Moose locations that carry books (Scarborough and Bangor).
If you’re like me and in your late 20s or early 30s than you probably remember playing with some really cool action figures. And if you’re like me you don’t have them anymore and you’re sad. So even though your baby is a little young, it’s never to early to start re-buying your childhood. Check out eBay for some great relics from your childhood that you can scoop up for a song. Hold on to them until your child is old enough to play with them and then bust them all out. You’ll get to spend hours playing with your old favorites (and with your kid) without fear of judgement or social exile. You won’t be a creepy adult, you will be hailed as a great father. Also, since you are buying them secondhand you are being thrifty, retro and green (or whatever buzzword you want to go with — I’m going with “hipster daddy”).
Everyone is always saying how when kids are young no matter what you get them they always seem to be more interested in the box. So for those of you with babies, try doing just that. It saves on the shopping and it won’t matter if they break it. When people ask, just say that you got your baby a castle for Christmas. Or a spaceship, or the Temple of Doom from Indiana Jones. At some point, it coud be all of those things.