Monday, November 14, 2005

Christmas With Baby

What are you getting the kids for Christmas? It is time that everyone heard that question. When you are the parent of a baby, however, you may have a hard time answering it. What do you get a baby?

Well, first, don't overspend. Be honest with yourself. Are you getting the toys for your own amusement or for your baby's pleasure? Your baby will not remember this Christmas and will get tons of toys from adoring aunts, uncles, and grandparents. There is no need for you to go into debt to buy gifts for your baby.

When you are buying, think ahead. Since your little one grows so quickly, you should think about getting some toys that she or he will be able to use in a few months. That way, your baby is not tired of the cloth blocks and little teething rings in three days. Pick up a riding toy or a workbench that requires more coordination and skill than baby has now. That way, when your baby is ready for something more challenging, you have just the thing in your closet.

Think about wrapping small. A riding toy obviously gets its own wrapping paper, but what about smaller gifts? Our baby will be 11 months old when Christmas rolls around, and we got him a box of magnetic letters and one of magnetic numbers. We are going to open them and pour the letters into his little stocking. The fun of Christmas for babies is the noise and opening of gifts. Wrapping up grouped items will give baby more to enjoy.

Don't skimp on the wrapping paper for baby. Remember that he or she will enjoy the unwrapping of the gifts, with your help, and crinkling the paper. That means you should forego those boxes that look as if they are already wrapped. Let your baby have fun with the paper, even if it was on someone else's gift.

Think about a gift of money. While a card with $20 in it is not a good idea for your baby, think about his or her financial future. If you don't yet have a simple savings account for your baby, now is the time to get one. You will know about the gift even if baby doesn't appreciate it yet. You also can look at opening a college fund.

If you want, you can get clothes and the other "necessary" but boring gifts. Now is the time to do that, when baby can't complain. While you should get a toy or two, you also should think about using the time to buy books or clothes for your little one. These gifts are ones that you will need to buy anyway, and if you are like most families with a baby, you need to save money where you can. Remember that this Christmas with baby will be a fun one. You should cherish this time with your little one before Christmas becomes tainted with the demands of a commercialized child.


By Julia Mercer

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