Clutter-free Gifts for Babies
- A session of a class to do together, such as Music Together, which starts as young as newborn. My-gym – parent participation classes start at 6 weeks old
- A new tradition. Now that you’re the parent, you can establish how your baby celebrates the holidays. Applesauce and pankcakes for breakfast? Jammies all day? You pick – and write it in a card.
- A membership to a baby-friendly playspace, where you can drop in. Little Gym and Gymboree are national chains with both set classes and open hours for members.
- Infant massage class. Check your local yoga studios or lactation consultants if you don’t know where one is held. There is a national association, too. Check out LiddleKidz.com.
- Stuff that’s already in your house. How to handle stocking stuffing for your baby? Make it overflow with items from your drawers and cupboards: a wooden spoon, a red plastic cup (intended for use with kegs), a discarded wallet or keychain.
Clutter-free Gifts for Toddlers
- Local zoo membership. Your zoo may have reciprocal arrangements at other zoos in case Grandma and Papa live far away.
- Some new borrowed toys from a toy lending library (they exist!) or a friend. You won’t have to store that Sit and Spin forever!
- Swim lessons. The prospect of a weekly swimming pool visit will either thrill or terrify your child.
- A wall or nook of her own. If your baby occupies a corner of your room, consider wall decals to mark the area. If she’s got your old office, paint an accent wall to brighten her quarters.
- Children’s Museum. Locally, we love the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Many of these also have reciprocal relationships with other museums and zoos. Make sure you know all the perks!
Clutter-free Gifts for Little Kids
- Tickets to a concert (Pollstar.com has listings for Rookie Mom faves Justin Roberts and the rockin’ kids band The Sippy Cups)
- Subscription to a website. Something like Playhouse Disney offers online games that don’t take up room in your house.
- A major outing. Are you ready for Disneyland, The Nutcracker, or some other big adventure? Make a big deal out of putting it on the calendar.
- Music lessons. For preschoolers, seek out a class that is focused on rhythm and movement. No sheet music necessary.
- Ride tickets for local destination. The carousel at the zoo, or train tickets. Put the purchased tickets (or fake homemade ones) together with a picture of the ride.
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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.