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Four gifts for Christmas

This post is part of our guest blogger series. Learn more about the author, Jennifer Madigan, below.

There was always a rule in my family when it came to Christmas and birthday gifts: you couldn’t ask for something you needed, it had to be something you wanted but wouldn’t buy for yourself. A perfect example of this is the growler caddy for your bicycle my parents bought my husband on his most recent birthday. Who needs a leather case to carry a growler of beer on a bike? Nobody. Who loves the idea? My craft-brew-loving husband!

As I got older — especially once I became a mother — it became harder to come up with those ideas. There were more things on my list that I needed, but maybe couldn’t quite justify buying – mostly for the kids. And the kids always need new things and have way too many toys.

So we are trying something new. Four gifts: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.

Something they want…

Here is where the toys come in. I say the fewer, the better. When you’re shopping, it’s easy to forget you aren’t the only one buying for the child and get carried away.

This year, we told family we would be very happy with second-hand toys. There are so many fantastic things out there with plenty of life left. Whether it’s a hand-me-down from my nephews or a used item bought at a consignment store, it makes us happy to know we are giving a toy new life.

That said, not everyone is on board with that idea. Another possibility: shop small and find some unique toys and gifts the kids will love. I picked up a sweet stuffed animal for baby g during a recent craft sale and love the fact that my purchase supported somebody local.


Left to right: Cate and Levi stuffed animals made from reclaimed wool, Bannor Toys‘ wooden toy camera, Tnee’s Tpee

Another way to avoid too much stuff is to give the gift of experiences. A family membership to one of the local museums, or indoor playgrounds provides something to do for the whole year. Or maybe mom and dad would like to take baby to a music class or swimming lesson. These are the gifts that keep on giving.

For mom, a great experience gift could be a day at a local spa or a mommy-and-me class. I loved my Salsa Baby classes when big G was a newborn but they were expensive, so I was excited to receive a set of passes for Christmas that year!

Something they need…

On baby’s list: cloth diapers, obviously!

Although cloth diapers save you money in the long run, the upfront cost can seem daunting. Ideally, you want a full set of the diapers you love the most, not a mishmash stash of different diapers. I’m sure I’m not the only one who bought a bunch before landing on my favorite, and it can be hard to justify spending more money when you already have a small pile of diapers. But man, I love my Mother ease Wizard Duos and would be overjoyed to find a 12-pack under the tree with baby g’s name on it. I mean… that’s what baby g wants (he told me). It would simplify things around the house and make cloth diapering at daycare a real possibility.

Either way, I can almost guarantee the cloth diapering mama on your list would love some extras; whether it’s some new covers, the next size liners, or a complete set.

For mama: a diaper sprayer. I know, it’s not the most appealing gift idea but trust me, it will be used, and appreciated! Buy her a day at the spa and a diaper sprayer, and the two will balance each other out.

Mother ease Air Flow Cover - Rainbow of colorswizard-duo-12-diaper-package_1024x1024diapersprayer1_1024x1024

Left to right: Mother ease Air Flow Covers, Wizard Duo 2.0 12-pack, and Diaper Sprayer

Something to wear…

A swim diaper. Whether you are a cloth-diapering family or not, a swim diaper just makes sense! The sole job of a swim diaper is to contain solids not liquid, and I don’t see how a disposable can do it as well as the Mother ease swim wear. Plus they’re so cute you don’t have to put a bathing suit on top.

This is also another great chance to buy local and support a small shop making products in Canada or the U.S. Clothes from these shops are more expensive (and often way cooler) than the big department stores, so it’s likely a treat to get a piece from their collections. Just don’t forget to ask mom and dad about sizes!

For mom: a great diaper bag. You carry the thing around everywhere you go every single day, so you want to make sure you love it. I received a really nice purse on my first Christmas with big G, which I started using as my diaper bag and it was fantastic. Before baby g arrived, I bought myself a gorgeous tote to carry all my stuff around. There are a lot of great functional bags out there, many more beautiful purses, and now a lot of bags that manage to be both.

 ek-sleep-sack mon-petit

Left to right: Mother ease swim diaper in tiny bubbles, Electrik Kids shark sleep sack, Mon Petit Shoes

Something to read…

I’m so happy both my children love books and I want to foster that at every turn, so I love the idea of putting a book under the tree.

Some of my favorites:

good-books-004 good-books-007 good-books-016

Stocking stuffers…

I can’t forget the stockings! My husband’s family is much more practical when it comes to stockings; they fill them up with toothpaste, soaps, razors and other necessities. This was new to me, but I have warmed up to the idea (though, I still have to remind myself he isn’t trying to send me a message by filling my sock with body wash, toothpaste, and minty gum!).

For a cloth-diapered baby, a stocking would be a great place for some cloth diaper accessories.

Flushable bamboo diaper liners. When baby starts solids, these make clean up so much easier! I don’t diaper without them now. Of course, Mother ease makes reusable stay-dry liners as well. But I’ll be honest, for the dirty jobs, I like picking up the liner and dropping the whole package in the toilet. Even if the baby on your list isn’t at this stage, the parents will thank you later!

Wet bags. You always want a few of these. Not only are they great for your dirty cloth diapers on the go, but they will also serve the family well at daycare and swimming lessons.

Breathable diaper pail mesh liner. The benefit to this over a large wet bag is you can toss the whole thing in the machine and diapers make their way out in the wash. Plus the bag won’t block the drum if it gets stuck along the sides.

Bottom line: I think necessities can make their way under the tree and be much appreciated – especially if it means less junk makes its way into the home.

Jennifer Madigan is a Canadian cloth-diapering, coffee-loving mother of two. She documents her adventures in parenting at www.mommystrying.ca


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