Don't want to give a set of washcloths or a tiny outfit? Here are some ! For all you busy moms or non-craftsy friends, these are my top 5 off-the-beaten path gifts that do not require any assembling on your part:
1. The Teethifier ($6.50)- I searched long and hard for a teether that would actually reach my daughter's aching swollen rear gums. Those molars are bears to come in, and her little fingers already bore marks from sticking them in past all her other teeth... not to mention all the germs she was pushing in every time she did that. This teether has been super-helpful!
2. "You Are Loved" ($18) baby book or "The Little Things" thankfulness journal ($9) from Gadanke. I am eager to order several of Katie's handmade journals myself, particularly her thankfulness journal! They are so distinctive, beautiful, and creative!
3. Christmas ornament, toy nativity set ($20 Playmobil set on Amazon), and/or related books (such as Noel Piper's Treasuring Christ in our Traditions -$10, or the little ebook A Natural Noel, $7)-- many parents would love to better use the Christmas season to teach their child of Christ, but are so intimidated because they don't know how to get started. If you give them something to start them off before they even need to be "worrying about it yet," they will be one step ahead, and will more than likely be very well prepared when their child's first remembered Christmas rolls around! (Hint: troll stores after Christmas each year to find non-year-specific ornaments and Christmas items on sale, often for 90% off!)
4. Cloth finger puppets, such as these ($15 on etsy)-- go an extra step and get Nativity finger puppets and you will be blessing a family every year for years!
5. Board books or music CDs- these are easy to find all over the place; check sales online and in stores, take advantage of clearance or bargains. For lots of book ideas, see my Amazon store... and here are some CD ideas:
- Slugs, Bugs & Lullabies or Slugs, Bugs & Lullabies Christmas
- any of the Seeds albums (great because each CD comes with an extra CD)
- any of the Hide Em in Your Heart CDs (or DVDs)
- any of the Praise Baby CDs (which have a lovely mix of hymns, older, and newer praise music)
- CDs of classical music
- Why Can't I See God? or other Judy Rogers albums
- a hymns CD (such as Michael Card's Starkindler or Fernando Ortega's Hymns)
- Sleep Sound in Jesus, Come to the Cradle or Close Your Eyes so You Can See by Michael Card
My favorite money-saving gift-buying tip is to keep a physical list (or a mental one, if your brain is less hole-y than mine is these days) of gift ideas for groups of people and specific loved ones, and snag gifts for them when you see them on sale. We have a gift cupboard for this exact purpose, which allows us to give gifts that are useful and nice to our families on time (relatively speaking =D), without spending too much money, and short-cutting the whole Christmas rush. I grab stuff at craft stores, on trips, online during sales or free shipping events, or when I randomly see a special at my local grocery store. (I just have to remember to check what I have regularly so I don't forget!) This has the added benefit of keeping my loved ones regularly at the front of my mind and in my prayers!
What distinctive gifts do you keep up your sleeves & love to whip out?