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10 Free (and Nearly Free) Holiday Gifts for Baby

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Let's be honest: Your baby doesn't care about presents. So why waste time and money buying fancy toys and clothes at this age? Instead relish wrapping up these free or nearly free gifts. Your baby will have a blast tearing off the wrapping paper and you'll get some great photos. Happy Holidays!

1. Boxes, Boxes, and More Boxes

christmas baby in a box

Who were those very first parents to discover their baby cared more for the box that the toy came in than the toy itself? Year after year, new sets of parents observe the same behavior in their little ones: Boxes are fascinating, most baby toys are take-them-or-leave-them. This year, be part of a new generation: Just gift the box!

2. Confetti

gold confetti

What's better to a baby than an empty box? One filled with lightweight, grab-by-the-handful-and throw-it-in-the-air confetti! Wrap up a container filled with zig zag paper confetti or streamers—you can purchase it or make your own. It's a little messy, but completely safe and sure to be tons of fun for your little one.

3. Homemade Rag Doll

a girl rag doll

Even beginning crafters can make a simple rag doll from materials you might already have in-house. Don't worry if your baby doesn't take to it immediately, it's a sweet gesture to make her something for her first or second Christmas, and she might very well form an attachment to it as she gets bigger. Photo from Blue Whimsy on Etsy.

4. Measuring Cups

You could buy stacking cups, or just wrap up a set of your measuring cups. Then sit back to watch your baby happily and repeatedly nest and un-nest and bang them around.

5. Interactive Board Books

little snowman board book

Although they aren't free, inexpensive interactive board books like the Finger Puppet Books are a great gift for your baby. The sturdy books provide entertainment, education, and quality time with mama all in one!

6. A Set of Scarves

a colorful set of scarves

 

Silky, flimsy, endlessly wavable fashion scarves pose inexpensive fun for babies, who are happy to pull them from a box, toss them into the air, chew on them, and (eventually) dance and even run around with them. You should be able to pick up a handful for cheap at a local consignment store--or dig some out of your own closet. Just be sure to supervise in case your little one gets tangled in them.

7. A Music Mix

mom and baby clapping to music

Sometimes being a new mom can make you feel a little nuts. Take a breather, grab a handful of nuts, and enjoy a snack that will help your supply. Cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts are the most popular choices for giving your milk a boost—they’re also high in good fats and antioxidants.

Read labels and go for raw nuts when possible. Many commercially available nuts are heavily oiled and salted—opt for low sodium, or salt-free versions when possible.Put together a mix of upbeat tunes that you like and name it "Baby's Dance Mix." Crank it up and get down with your baby—you'll both remember the songs and dancing together to the music far longer than you'd recall any plastic toy you gave him!

8. Wrapping Paper

rolls of wrapping paper

Like baby's affinity for the box rather than the contents, unwrapping presents usually bests the present itself! She might need a little encouragement to get started, but when your baby discovers she can rip, crumple, throw, crawl over, and rip some more, wrapping paper and opening presents might just become one of her favorite things. One caution: ribbons can present a choking hazard, so be careful letting baby play with those.

9. A Baby Bag

a diaper bag

Your baby probably enjoys emptying the diaper bag if you'll let him, so why not give him his own? Fill a tote bag with things like an old wallet (complete with expired credit and store loyalty cards to remove and examine), a few small baby toys, and some clothes your little one has outgrown. Set out appealingly on the floor, your little one won't be able to resist emptying and exploring her very own bag of stuff.

10. A Loving, Present Mother

a mom playing with her baby

What your baby wants most of all is love and attention from his beloved mama. This holiday, commit to giving your little one your undivided attention—that means TV off, no peeking at your phone—for a set amount of time (even 15 minutes is good) every day in the coming year. This one makes a great annual gift!

 
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