There’s a certain moment in your life when you realize that you’re not only buying gifts for your friends anymore—you’re buying things for their children. If you’re anything like us, you might also end up forgetting the precise day of those august occasions. Don’t just get ready: stay ready. We asked our child-rearing teammates to put together a stockpile of ideas for your “in case of emergency” gift shelf as well as a few “absolutely nots.” Discretion, after all, is the better part of gift-giving.
Gift ideas for babies and kids up to 12 months
1. and 2. Jellycat stuffed animals and matching crinkle books: We love babies, but they haven’t yet started on the Times Book Review. If you want to give a book, give one that’s textural and stimulating and give them one that comes with a matching soft toy. These cute and cuddly choices come highly recommended.
3. Zutano booties: “Don’t be fooled by the name,” says one office parent. “These are amazing socks that snap on and STAY on.” They come in different season-appropriate fabrics and a rainbow of colors, too, so you’ll be giving a gift that’s right for any time of the year and any kind of half-pint fashionista.
Don’t ever give: any musical toys, “unless you wish to never speak to your friends again.”
Gift ideas for kids and toddlers aged one to three
4. Llama Llama books: Where the littlest readers love books with a bit of hands-on thrill, two year-olds are now ready for something with a bit more lyricism and prosody. The Llama Llama series has fans in our office and in the ATL.
5. Sesame Street Elmo Go Letters: This is the age where slightly more interactive and educational games and toys become a great idea. These letters are made for one year-old hands, and are the perfect gift offering at a Sesame Street-themed party.
6. Zingo and Sneaky Squirrel: If you’re buying something for a kid on the higher end of one-to-three, these two games come with strong reviews from our office parents: “They’re fun, they encourage cooperation, they’re good for kids who aren’t yet readers, and the pieces are durable.”
Don’t ever give: “Legos. The pieces are too small for this age range. Give Duplos instead!”
“Bouncy balls, or anything that can be thrown—unless you plan on paying for property damage.”