Maybe you’ve come to this post because you have a baby, or maybe you’ve got a niece or nephew or a mate with a baby and you literally have zero clue what – if anything – to get them for their birthday. It’s that tricky question: when they’re that little, do you even buy them anything at all? And if you do buy a one-year-old something, what will they actually use or play with? What will last them?
We’ve rounded up our pick of the best presents to buy for first birthdays or Christmases. These are the things our kids have loved receiving (or, y’know… we’ve loved receiving on their behalf). We hope you find some inspo…
We’re obsessed with the cute personalised bits from small business A Tribe Well Dressed. All items are handmade by Lindsay and include upcycled pre-loved denim jackets, alongside cool cotton sweatshirts and t-shirts. Lindsay monograms the items for you – and there’s the option for bright colours or monochrome depending on your preferences. Brilliant items that you can sell back to Lindsay once your kids have outgrown, or keep as a beautiful keepsake. Jackets start at £45, whilst sweatshirts come in at £28.
Obviously, books are a great shout – fun activity, help get kids interested in reading etc. And there are a lot of different options out there, so we thought we’d highlight a handful of our fave inclusive reads for little ones. There’s obviously the Little People, Big Dreams series gorgeous books which profile brilliant people both current and from the past (there’s everyone from Rosa Parks and Frida Kahlo to Ru Paul and David Attenborough). We’ve also both recently bought our kids Race Cars which is a book about white privilege which is aimed at toddlers.
Clothes from Lindex
One of our fave places to pick up cool and inexpensive kids clothes is Lindex – think of it as like H&M or Zara but a little less well-known. Things that are always useful include pyjamas, trousers, jumpers and cardigans but always in at least a size up so there’s plenty of time to grow into it. ARKET is another great brand that has a little-known kids section with cool, good quality basics designed to last.
Lovevery play kits
On the higher end of the price spectrum is the Lovevery play kits. You can buy kits individually (from £80) or sign up for a subscription service where age-appropriate kits are delivered every two months. The founders – Jessica and Rod – launched Lovevery to create early development experiences for babies and beyond. Each kit contains well-thought-out Montessori-inspired play items for each age, ranging from 0-12 weeks up to 36 months.
These minimal dolls make for the perfect first doll for a girl or boy (both our sons have them). We love the fact that they’re gender-accurate as opposed to an odd smooth area, and that they come in a huge range of skin tones and ethnicities. Prices start from around £14 for the smallest size, and they’re easily available via the likes of Amazon and Scanidborn. There are also clothes if you fancy accessorizing…
Monogrammed cardigan from The Little Worne Store
One of our fave Instagram shop launches of lockdown is The Little Worne Store. Glorious handknitted jumpers which can then be personalised with names on the back. Brilliantly cute but also a wonderful keepsake for years (and decades) to come. And let’s not pretend it won’t make an excellent nursery decoration too. Knits sell out quickly, so make sure you follow on Instagram to be in the know about the latest drop.
Annual pass to a local attraction
This was one that so many of you mentioned via Instagram stories and we couldn’t agree more – annual passes or even just a set of tickets to places like local farms, aquariums, outdoor play areas or even soft play are so appreciated. Partly because well…one-year-olds don’t tend to need much and experiences are often better than objects, but also because who doesn’t love a family trip out the house that isn’t just a scout around the nappy aisle at Aldi?
The IKEA kitchen is so cult amongst babies these days that it’s basically a bloody rite of passage. Thankfully you can pick one up for not much more than £25 on Facebook Marketplace and then you can give it the mother of all glow ups using all that dreamy inspo over on Pinterest. Just search ‘upcycled IKEA kitchen’ and get yourself some furniture paint and voila (although tbf if you’re time-poor and painting is not within your top 10 life skills then we reckon it looks cool all undone anyway).
Something for the parents
Even if you were beyond thrilled times 1000 to become a parent there’s no denying that first year? Yeah, pretty damn tough. If you’re buying a first birthday present for a mate’s kid then you might want to consider skipping the little one for this birthday and focusing on the parents. A good bottle of wine or chocolates is wonderful, but you know what we really want? A night – or at least an hour – off. We’d love you forever if you volunteered to babysit, even if it’s just to push our pram down to the park whilst we lie on the sofa and catch up on TV,
Water play table
One of my all-time fave small child buys is a water table. I think mine cost about £25 from Aldi and it’s just seen its fourth summer – and yes, it’s still very much played with and loved. Ours is supposed to be half water and half sand but it regularly gets switched up and is great for both kids (12 months and three and a half years). You can buy them second hand or they’re readily available from supermarkets and the likes of Argos and Amazon.