When my brother told me that he and his girlfriend were going to be parents, all the cogs in my brain started to turn – this was going to be my first niece or nephew. I knew I needed to think of a gift that wouldn’t only be practical, but also meaningful. The little bundle of joy was going to have 4 aunts and 1 uncle and my goal was to cement my status as the number 1 aunt from early on, so I got thinking of what to buy for the perfect newborn gift.
Gifting the newborn a silver spoon has been a tradition all over Europe for a long time. It should bring the receiver happiness and wealth throughout their life. Both my siblings and I have one, engraved with our name, sitting in a cupboard and hopefully working its magic. I believe it’s a lovely keepsake, but although practical, unlikely to be used a lot and seriously unlikely to be handed down (unless your child carries your name). Besides, I knew that’s something the baby’s grandparents would take care of.
Discussing the newest arrival with my family I learnt that after the big news was announced my grandmother had already put her knitting needles to work. The softest yarn had been found and she had started making a tiny pair of booties for the little one. That’s what she does and has always done. Not a single year will go by without a pair of hand-knitted and intricately patterned warm socks for us older grandchildren and the cutest little booties for the youngest. That’s her way of showing us love and although for many years I couldn’t appreciate the time and work she puts into it, in latter years I’ve started to try and follow in her footsteps – quite a task.
The Seal of Approval
Coming from a cold country, I can say knitted works are another traditional present from here and not only for babies. Our snowy Christmas markets consist of stalls filled with mittens, scarves, socks, hats (the rest is occupied by delicious mulled wine, gingerbread and woodcrafts). A lot like Little Lolas, in which every dress is inspired by a beautiful location, our handcrafts take inspiration from the folklore patterns and in vibrant colours and stripy patterns. Providing a nice memory and making you feel closer to the place. For example, when I introduced my Spanish boyfriend to my family, he got the seal of approval in the shape of a pair of socks. Of course in my country’s flag colours. It didn’t work out between us, but at least he has a lovely memory from his visit.
When the bairn was born, quite a traditional gift he received was a crochet baby blanket. This was later used every month when the new parents took milestone pictures. I visited many baby stores and touched more than enough soft-asclouds blankets, I had to admit they were lovely, but seeing the handmade one was a different deal. I feel like there’s more love and thought put into handmade things and you know they will outlive all the storebought ones.
Creating my own gift
After some deliberation, I decided on my perfect gift for the newborn, which of course, would also come with a back story. When my sister was young, she had a soft activity book where a bear could go to different rooms and she could play with velcro and buttons etc. Inspired by that I created my own soft activity book. The main character was the dog my brother and I used to have when we were younger. Every page was a different location dedicated to the family and the profession of my brother and his girlfriend. The dog could be put into the arms of my brother while the girlfriend was holding the baby, he could even visit Zaragoza’s famous sight – the Basilica de Pilar.
The book finished with a bed where you could tuck the dog in along with a tiny white teddy bear like my brother used to have when he was little. Not to toot my own horn, it went down quite well and now that my nephew is older, he enjoys playing with it. My hope is that if they decide to have another child, they could use it as well. After all the best gifts are those we can see used time and time again.
I love how wide the selection is for baby things, you can buy everything to make babies lives more comfortable or even more adorable. Looking at my own family and friends, the things that are saved or passed down are always ones with attached meaning. Whether it comes from being handmade or being bought after thoughtful consideration, finding the perfect gift for a newborn definitely requires a lot of attention.