Holiday Gift Guide: practical gifts for babies 0-12 months that will get used a lot!

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This is a prior year's gift guide.  Please click here for the current baby gift guide.

Last year, I created one holiday gift guide last year for babies and toddlers. This year I decided to break up my guides into different categories.  This is my first 2016 guide and there are more to come!  Look out for my guides for gifts for toddlers and moms of babies.

Here are my recommendations for baby items that will get used regularly and can continue to be used beyond the first year.  I included gifts that range in price, with some particularly affordable ones at the end.  

Parklon Play Mat

I'm so happy with my Parklon playmat -- it blends with my decor, is super plush, non-toxic and BPA free.  The style that I have is called Mono Raum.  It has a geometric pattern on one side and chevron on the other.  I leave it out in the corner of my living room, my son plays on it daily and everyone mistakes it for a rug!

My son happily playing on his  Parklon  mat in his room.  I have since moved the mat to our living room and it blends in there too!  The baskets pictured are available in lots of colors  here  and  here .  

My son happily playing on his Parklon mat in his room.  I have since moved the mat to our living room and it blends in there too!  The baskets pictured are available in lots of colors here and here.  

Parklon makes lots of other style mats including foldable playmats and even kitchen mats.  I'm excited to have teamed up with Parklon to offer you 15% off any order on the Parklon site with code VERYBEST15 (valid through 12/31/16).

In case you want to read people's reviews, you can find Parklon products on Amazon and Wayfair, but the discount code will work only on the Parklon site.  

Brinware Silicone Bib, Placemat and Covered Tempered Glass Plates

Brinware makes dishwasher safe silicone feeding items in wonderfully vibrant colors.  

My son enjoying his lunch with  Brinware's bib, plate and mat .

My son enjoying his lunch with Brinware's bib, plate and mat.

I use the bib, placemat and tempered glass plates for my son.  I especially appreciate that the bib includes a big pocket to catch errant food (and drinks)!  The placemat is great for restaurants.  The plates are the perfect size for a wee one's meal!

Read Your Story: a Personalized Book Starring Your Child

I just ordered a Read Your Story book as a gift for my son.  It is an adorable personalized alphabet book, featuring your child's name and face throughout.  You can add a dedication (at no extra cost) to make it even more special. 

15% off $50+ order with code CHEERS.

My son loves books, looking at photos of himself, and identifying letters of the alphabet.  I can't wait to see his reaction to this gift.  I'm sure that he will continue to treasure it long after he has mastered his ABCs.  Click here to visit the site. 


Brushies: Silicone Finger Puppet Toothbrushes

These fun and colorful silicone puppet toothbrushes make tooth brushing fun and effective!

Brushies are the brainchild of two mom doctors.  They are recommended for kiddos four weeks to four years.  On top of making an otherwise challenging routine enjoyable, Brushies make toothbrushing more sanitary as they are dishwasher safe. 

The limited edition gift set, which includes a set of four Brushies and a story book, comes adorably wrapped to make a perfect gift!

Baby Says More™

Baby Says More™ is an online course for parents who want to learn to communicate with their babies using baby signs before the onset of spoken language.  Baby sign language can greatly reduce frustration and crying by both mom and baby!

Give your baby the gift of communication this holiday season, and give yourself the gift of knowing exactly what your baby wants with the help of the “Learn & Play”Advanced Online Baby Sign Course by Baby Says More™!  

Parasol Co Diaper Gift Subscription

My son in  Parasol Co  diapers

My son in Parasol Co diapers

Parasol Co is my choice brand of diapers.  I've been using them for my son for five months and they are amazing! They are super soft, eco-friendly, the patterns are adorable and the fit is great.  We went from multiple blow outs a week to no blowouts in months! If you are looking for a gift that will get used daily, diapers are a sure thing!

If you are looking to buy these for yourself, and not as a gift, you can use this link instead of the ones above or code BEST for 20% off your first order.  

Anything from the New Aden + Anais Metallic Collection

Aden + Anais swaddles and dream blankets have been popular for years.  I continue to use these daily for my 23 month old.  They recently released a new line that has metallic threading and each item is swoon-worthy!  I especially recommend the dream blankets (pictured below), as a child will get years of use out of it. Find other items in the collection here and here.

This toy is recommended for 12 months and up, but I'm all for planning ahead (plus a nine month old can enjoy it closely supervised).  If you are going to get only one toy for a one year old, this activity cube should be it. Solid, amazing quality and so many activities for different ages and stages. I see my son evolving in how he uses it over time. He got it at 11 months and is now 23 months and uses it pretty much daily (and it is still in perfect condition). Every kid who comes over loves it. It is one of my go-to first birthday gifts.

Pipsquigz Silicone Toys

Pipsquigz are silicone rattles that can suction to smooth surfaces.  My son and all of his little friends got a ton of use out of these, especially when they were teething.  We brought them to all of our playdates.  When other babies mouthed them I didn't mind at all, I just tossed them in the dishwasher when we got home.  

Green Toys Sorting and Stacking Toys


Green Toys are made in the USA of 100% recycled plastic and contain no phthalates.  Most (if not all) of the toys are dishwasher safe, which I interpret to mean they can also double as bath toys. 

Green Toys makes a few sorting and stacking toys, which can be purchased individually or as a bundle. Click here for the bundle, here for the sorter and here for the stacking toys.  

Grimm's Wooden Toys

Grimm's makes phenomenal quality wooden toys.  The color is from certified non toxic water based stains. No worrisome paint or lacquer.  Grimm's toys are sure to become heirlooms and double as decor!  You can't go wrong with any of their toys (here are a whole bunch), but here are three that I particularly like and have given as gifts:

VTech Walker

I have a love hate relationship with this toy.  It is bright colored plastic, lights up and plays many different sounds and songs.  My first thought when I initially turned it on was "could this give my baby a seizure?"  So for weeks I had the sound and lights disabled.  Eventually I enabled it.  The piece with all the fun parts comes off, so you can place it on the floor and reattach it once your bub is ready for a walker.  

Click through the image for the color of your choice.

The Vtech walker is a great gift to give as it is inexpensive but looks substantial and will get a ton of use.  

Organic Baby Paper

Babies will entertain themselves for hours with this simple crinkly toy.  

Musical Instruments

Musical instruments make a classic gift and will get plenty of use!  My son has the first five pictured below (click through the images for details) and has played with the others at classes and friends' homes.  See my post on our festive and affordable first birthday party for more details on the instruments and how I found them.  

If you prefer to gift a pre-assembled set of instruments, here are some great options:

Noggin Stik

I didn't have this, but when I polled my Facebook deals group of 5,500 moms for their favorite baby gift, the Noggin Stik got a lot of votes.  Apparently babies can't get enough of it!

Sassy Wonder Wheel

The Wonder Wheel is another toy that my group members recommended, especially for using on a high chair tray.

Personalized Executive Chair from Land of Nod

My son received this wonderful chair as a baby gift.  At about eight months he developed an attachment to it and started having his morning milk in it.  He continues to use it daily at 23 months, especially to "read" his books.  I expect him to continue to enjoy it for a few years (I can even squeeze myself into it, which he finds hilarious).  The slipcover can be removed and washes beauifuly.

My son reading in his  Executive Chair .  Also pictured is  this bookshelf , which fits with any decor and has a small physical and visual footprint.  

My son reading in his Executive Chair.  Also pictured is this bookshelf, which fits with any decor and has a small physical and visual footprint.  

Like the Playmat that I mentioned above, this chair sits in my living room and blends into my decor. The chair comes in many fabrics and styles, see them all here

A friend shared with me that this site drop ships thousands of Land of Nod items, offers free shipping and returns and right now you get $20 OFF your purchase of $75+ with promo code PALZDM4C0S.

More Ideas

I included other great classic baby gift ideas in last year's gift guide.  

I hope that you enjoyed this post.  Please look out for my upcoming guides on gifts for moms and gifts for toddlers!  Also be sure to follow along in my Facebook deals group, where I post deals on my favorite and popular products for the entire family.

This post was sponsored by some of the brands featured in the post.  All opinions are my own.