Yes, yes, the precious new baby is gift enough.
That doesn't mean the overwhelmed (in a good way), anxious (in a good way), zombie-like (there's no good way) person keeping that baby alive doesn't deserve a treat this holiday season. But what do you buy someone whose entire world suddenly shifted from "me" to "we"?
From practical to pampering, these thoughtful gift ideas will make any new parent feel just as happy and grateful as they do at nap time.
1. Printed photos of their baby
Each holiday season, new parents use a ton of time (and their one free hand) to build beautiful photo memory gifts for family and friends. Photo ornaments for the grandparents, albums for aunties, curated Christmas cards for extended family and friends.
But who, we ask, is making sure new parents have actual printed photo memories of their own children? No one. Except you, you extremely thoughtful person.
Want to keep things simple or don't have enough photos for an album? Just print one great photo and put it in a lovely frame.
2. More photo storage
There's a good chance that, before their child's first birthday, a new parent will have accumulated so many photos on their phone that they've deleted all their apps, including weather and maps.
So do them a big favour and help them store more photos of "baby's first time smearing avocado in her hair" by gifting them a subscription to Dropbox Professional, an external storage device for their phone, or offer to upgrade their phone's storage for them.
Parents will spend hours of their day (and night) feeding their babies for the first few months of their lives, and that's a lot of time staring at nothing (er, we mean, their precious baby's face) if they don't already have cable or Netflix.
So, hook them up with a subscription (and a set of headphones)! They'll thank you the next time baby won't sleep unless he's held from 2 a.m. to dawn (disclaimer: HuffPost Canada bears no responsibility if a new parent decides to thank you literally between the hours of 2 a.m. and dawn).
4. A mobile spa that comes to them
So, a lot of you who are looking for ideas probably had some kind of spa visit or massage on your radar, and bless your heart for that. But here's the thing: during those first few months with a baby, leaving the house can sometimes be more stress than it's worth (with or without the baby).
Enter the genius of the mobile spa. Lots of cities have them (here are some options for Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver), and this way the parents can take turns watching the baby while the other gets pampered.
5. Dinner options
Keeping a baby alive is enough work without also worrying about what to put on the table each night, which is why so many new parents live off takeout or spend their weekends and evenings batch cooking.
Give them the gift of time by signing them up for a healthy meal delivery service such as SupperWorks, a meal kit delivery service such as Hello Fresh or Chef's Plate, or getting them gift cards to their favourite takeout restaurant.
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Another item that falls off the priority list once you have a baby is scrubbing the mildew out of the damn tub. So help a new mom or dad feel like they aren't living in utter squalor with a gift certificate to a housecleaning service such as Molly Maid. Anyone who ever said money can't buy happiness has never seen a sleep-deprived mom ugly cry while running her hands along a sparkling counter top.
7. Stroller mittens
Anyone who has ever spent their days alone with baby knows that sometimes you just need to get out of the house, no matter the weather. And for, oh, six months out of the year, it's probably going to be uncomfortably cold out.
Goodbye, having to choose between frostbitten fingers and the ability to attend to your baby quickly, hello, stroller gloves. We like that this brand is called "7 A.M.," which is about the time each day that a parent decides they need a "break" from chasing after their crawler and straps them into their stroller for a walk to the coffee shop, TBH.
8. A stylish diaper bag
They'll be carrying it with them everywhere for at least a year, so why not get a new mom or dad a diaper bag with some style? That way at least something about them will look put together at playgroup.
This Tiba + Marl Mabel Tote from Poppys Collection comes with all the bells and whistles of a diaper bag, but is sleek enough to double as a work or weekend bag. Prefer a backpack style? Poppys Collection has one of those, too.
9. A fancy coffee maker
Hey, remember brunch? Well, that's a pretty distant memory for anyone with a cluster-feeding baby, a toddler going through a "I CAN SCREAM NOW" phase, or any parent just too damn tired to get out the door.
Get mom or dad a cappuccino machine so they can take a gulp of something hot and frothy, close their eyes for just a minute, and pretend they're in their favourite neighbourhood bistro when they're actually spoon-feeding their child applesauce.
10. A good blender
If they don't have one yet, most parents will need a good blender soon. From about age six months on, babies can start eating solid foods, which (unless a parent does baby-led weaning), tends to involve a ton of purees.
Even when a kid outgrows mush, smoothies are a popular and nutritious snack option. Plus now mom can make a margarita when baby naps in the summer.
11. A baby first aid class for you
This one's for you, grandma and grandpa. Yes, we know you raised healthy children of your own (thank you for that, by the way), but first aid techniques and safety standards are constantly changing.
If you really want your darling grandkids to have their first solo sleepover at your place, do your anxious kids a favour and bone up on baby proofing and infant CPR with an Emergency Child Care First Aid course by the Canadian Red Cross.
The gift of peace of mind, plus an offer to babysit, might be just what a new mom or dad needed to relax enough to make you another grandbaby (just don't tell them that's why you're doing this).
12. Snow clearing
All a new parent really wants is sleep. Precious, precious sleep. And while you can't wrap that up, you can give them more time in the morning all winter by signing them up for a snow removal service.
Every minute they're not shoveling their car out is another minute they can lay their head down before they have to start their day. And if their baby wakes up at 5 a.m., well, maybe the saved time will mean a hot shower for once.
13. Nice leisurewear
A new parent often barely has time to get dressed (sometimes they're doing it one handed), and spends a large part of their day bent over, running after babies who can suddenly move at lightning speed, and covered in bodily fluids that sometimes include their own.
This is not the time to be fighting with a pair of skinny jeans. Casual, comfortable clothing that can still pass for socially-acceptable "outside the house" wear — such as these lululemon athletica "On The Fly" pants — can go a long way toward making a new parent feel like a human again.
14. Non-slip winter boots
If you think walking on slippery sidewalks is nerve-wracking, try doing it with a baby in your arms and you'll understand why most parents look like they're dressed for an Arctic expedition during winter months.
Help a new parent leave the house a little more comfortably with a great pair of non-slip boots. These Sperry Women's Powder Valley Arctic Grip Winter Boots are one of the best no-slip boots on the market.
15. An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is the kitchen appliance de jour, and for good reason: it's a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and pressure cooker in one. But, most importantly to new parents, it's two to six times faster than a slow cooker. That sounds like the possibility of dinner on the table to us! You can pick one up at most household or department stores such as Canadian Tire, Walmart, or The Bay.
16. Moisture-rich lotions
Winter is dry enough, but add all the hand washing, baby bathing, dish washing, and bottle sterilizing that comes with parenthood and you're looking at some serious dry hands.
Plus, sleep deprivation does our skin no favours, and if a mom is breastfeeding then she's basically as brittle as a dried leaf until summer. Treat new parents to a luxe lotion such as this MoroccanOil Body Butter from Sephora so they can re-hydrate from head to toe.
17. New sheets
In case you haven't already picked up on this, parents are a tired people. So make the sleep they do get as soothing as possible with a fantastic set of new sheets, the softer the better. Plus, the more sheets they own, the less laundry they have to do, so it's truly the gift that keeps on giving.
18. A book for dad
Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada is for dad and baby to read together, which is always a nice bonding moment. And it's by comedian and actor Jimmy Fallon, which dad will surely appreciate.
The cute board book helps dad with his not-so-secret campaign to ensure the baby's first word is "Dada," and if it works — bam, best gift ever (for dad, anyway).
19. A book for mom
Granted, the title might come off a little harsh, so you need to know the mom has a sense of humour. And this probably shouldn't be gifted by, say, a mother-in-law (it could seem like a not-so-cryptic message), but Montreal blogger Bunmi Laditan's foray into fiction is extremely relatable, laugh-out-loud funny, and light enough that even the most tired and harried mom will be happy to devour it.
20. A museum pass
Winter is long, but the list of indoor activities to keep a baby or toddler entertained is short. A family pass to a local museum or museums (often they come in a pack) will give a new parent options on days when they just want out of the house, but can't face another mall walk.
A lot of museums are interactive and have special toddler areas, so little ones will have fun, too. And if baby is too little to do anything but sleep in the stroller, the parents will have something to look at while they stretch their legs. And museums almost always have cafeterias = coffeeeee.
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