Present Buying For Children

Alexandra enjoyed the Christmas presents, but mainly loved the food.

Before having children, I used to love buying for my friends’ little ones but I’m not sure now whether the selections I made were good or not. Now I’ve got one (and a half) of my own, I definitely have a firmer idea of what I’d want and hopefully have got better at present buying for children. Having just had Christmas (where we got lovely stuff from all our family and friends for Alexandra), it brought to mind a few pointers that I thought I’d share:

  • If you’re planning on having children of your own in the future (or already own some) then beware, people could return the favour if you always buy super noisy toys! (I did actually buy a couple of noisy toys myself this year but most the ones we got were quiet, result.)
  • I found while I absolutely loved getting clothes for Alex when she was born, some of the presents which were the most helpful were full of useful little bits I might need along the way but have forgotten to get (or not known about). Now if a close friend or family member is having a baby, I like to put together a little pack with things like Calgel, Snufflebabe and other products we’ve tried and loved.
  • Buy bigger sizes. Whilst having lots of newborn outfits is absolutely adorable, it’s great when you also get some bigger sizes, firstly because they grow out of the first size stuff so quickly but secondly because it can suddenly be a big expense when they get to six or nine months and you’ve got nothing as everyone bought tiny stuff.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask. I’d much rather someone ask me what Alexandra wants or needs then end up with something she won’t get a lot of use out of. My sister said at Christmas that one of my friends always buys Alex really great presents – it’s because she asks me what she wants!
  • Don’t overuse the selotape – Alexandra is just getting to the age where she can help unwrap her own presents, but it’s much easier when the person has only used a couple of bits of selotape rather than the whole roll. Someone said to me they used to put their kids’ stuff in tissue paper which I think is a fab idea as they’d love ripping it all up to get to the present.
  • I just asked Dylan what his top tip would be and his response was: ‘buy an empty box. The kid will be love it and you’ll save a ruck of money’.

Harriet, Alexandra and bump x

Christmas Isn’t For Toddlers

While it’s generally accepted that Christmas is a very child-focused time of year, there are actually some aspects of the festive season which are basically the very opposite of ideal for a toddler:

  • Not touching stuff: we put the tree up over the weekend. I wasn’t that bothered about having one and pointed out the potential for disaster when combining a 15 month old and a huge prickly thing adorned with lots of glass things – but Dylan insisted and said I was being a grinch. Two days in and I’m already pretty fed up of the whole ‘NO. DON’T TOUCH. BE CAREFUL’ routine – it’s just one more thing in our house that I have to try and stop Alexandra destroying. It’s also very sweet that she likes to take the baubles off the tree and present them to me with a sticky outstretched hand while saying ‘there’. But equally slightly undermines the amount of time I spent placing the damn things on the tree in the first place.
  • Waiting: if you’ve ever met/owned/been within 50 foot of a toddler, you’ll know they don’t do waiting. Patience is not one of their many virtues, that’s why they have to make them cute. So the very concept of waiting to open presents, waiting for Santa to come, waiting to open a new advent calendar door each day rather than eating them in one go, it just doesn’t really fit. Cue much pointing at the advent calendar – when actually she should be grateful because mommy didn’t get one AGAIN this year (not bitter).
  • Busy shops: sitting in the pram while it’s not moving is not one of Alex’s strong points anymore, gone are the days when she’d merrily sit down and look around for ages. Now she can walk she just wants to be off exploring. So when the shops are so busy that you’re at a standstill for 20 minutes while Mabel decides which card to send to her great niece in Australia, it can be a pretty testing time for all involved.
  • Men with beards: No one likes to sit on an old, fat man’s knee (well maybe some people do). We actively discourage this for 11 months of the year then suddenly in December, that’s it kid you go tell that grumpy man fuming at his wife for volunteering him for this what you’d like to open on Christmas Day.

Harriet and Alexandra x