Must-Have Gifts for Your Baby’s First Christmas

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Image via Flickr/ katerha

The holidays are just a few weeks away! Your child's first Christmas is a special time — and a great opportunity to stock up on toys, clothes, and other items your little one will need over the coming year.

Check out this guide to great gifts for the littlest ones on your list. Since they can't ask Santa for items on their wish list themselves, we did our best to read their minds and come up with a great list for you to share with the big guy in red on their behalf.

bath time
Image via Haba USA

Babies tend to either love or hate bathtime. Either way, an adorable bath set can make the experience more fun. Jef Bath Set comes complete in a box with a ribbon perfect for gift-giving.

The set includes and adorable doggie-themed towel with floppy ears and a matching doggie washcloth mitt that can be used to entertain your baby while getting him clean.

Once you wrap your little one in the plush towel, have the camera ready to capture the cuteness.

toy mat
Image via HABA USA

HABA's Little Penguin Water Play Mat is a cute friend with a belly full of toys that float in water. This is a different kind of toy because it can be used to make tummy time a little more fun or to enthrall babies who are learning cause and effect.

The water drains completely when not in heavy rotation, so it will last a long time.

blocks
Image via Melissa & Doug, LLC.

Every baby needs a shape sorter. This all-wood one from Melissa & Doug will help encourage your baby to learn colors and shapes. Even before he is ready to tackle these difficult concepts, the sorter can be used to put the blocks in the box, and then he can take them back out again when the lid is removed — a personal favorite pastime of my not-quite-1-year-old.

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Image via Amazon

What baby couldn't use a little more music in his life? The Sevi Rythm & Sound Set is a great way to help him discover how to make his tunes.

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The instruments are designed to catch your little one's attention with bright colors and easy-to-use design. My baby loves shaking and banging on all of his colorful instruments.

{ MORE: How Not to Miss Photo Ops During Your Baby’s First Holiday Season }

kleynimals
Image via Kleynimals

If your baby is anything like mine, he has an intense interest in keys. But, of course, not just any keys — your keys. I've tried substitutes, but the only thing that works is Kleynimals. Made of food-grade stainless steel, Kleynimals look and feel like real keys.

Unlike real keys, these are guaranteed to be free of lead and don't have any bumps. I won't tell the babies they aren't real keys if you don't!

tents
Image via HABA USA

What do babies love to do? Play, of course! Baby's first Christmas is a good time to create a dedicated playspace. With all of my children, I've discovered that nothing delights them from a young age and for so long like a tent can.

HABA USA has some amazing tents that are great for creating a space dedicated to your child and his imagination. The Pirate's Treasure Play Tent has thoughtful details like a flag and porthole windows. Make your child's tent even cozier by adding a matching cushion and seating cube with storage. Love the idea but looking for a different style?

Check out the Caro Lini Play Tent decorated with lovely pink flowers.

horse
Image via Haba USA

Most babies can't walk by the time they reach their first Christmas, but they still like to move. A great way to keep babies in motion is with a classic rocking horse, like this easy-to-assemble one by Moover.

One big reason I like this rocking horse for little ones is the high-backed seat, raised sides, and footrest that help keep the littlest rockers in their seat rather than sliding off. It's also made of high-quality wood that will last through multiple children.

books
Image adapted via Candlewick Press

It's never too early to start a library, and Christmas is a great time to stock the nursery shelves. There are lots of good holiday-themed options for the littlest readers, including Can You Say it Too?, Jingle, Jingle and Peekaboo Presents.

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Or, send your little on a shape hunt in the adorable Have You Seen My Monster? or introduce your child to animal homes and pop-ups with the beautiful Welcome to the Neighborhood!.

Another good option is the heartwarming series of animal books by Emma Dodd, including Wish and Happy.

water toys
Image adapted via Yookidoo

Sometime during the first year, bathtime becomes playtime. That makes her first Christmas a great time to introduce some new bath toys. Yookidoo has some cute, fun, and durable options like the Fill n' Flow Spout and the Stack n' Spray Bathtime Fountain.

{ MORE: Baby Product Recalls – November 2016 }

fox
Image via Oribel

No one wants to spend a fortune on Christmas gifts that their little one will outgrow. Get a gift that can be used multiple ways to ensure it will last. Peripop is a cool creation that has won some top awards.

Peripop starts off as a play mat that grows with your child to become a blanket for the stroller or bed and can even be stuffed with old clothes to become a large stuffed animal or backrest. Bright colors and friendly animal faces appeal to young kids.

seat
Image via Oribel

The Oribel PortaPlay Activity Center is a great gift that will grow with your baby. It's a pretty incredible concept.

First, the activity center starts off as a jumparoo with lots of toys attached to keep baby's interest. Once baby no longer needs to jump, remove the seat and place a wooden tabletop in the center, but leave the toys attached.

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When your child gets to be a little older, you can remove the toys to create an all-purpose toddler table for drawing, building, snacking, or whatever your little one desires.

As a bonus, the pretty turquoises, greens, and browns of the activity center fit into nearly every decor.

play house
Image via Step2

Why are little ones so fascinated with balls? I don't know, but it seems to be true of all babies everywhere. This Wonderfun Ballhouse from Step2 has balls galore, from the ones that pop out of the roof to the ones that slide through tunnels on the sides.

The Ballhouse will last for years as your little one grows into a toddler who wants a playhouse for imaginary play. The Wonderfun Ballhouse is a good size for inside or out. It's great for twins or mixed-age siblings since it has so many activities for multiple children to use at once.

ele fun
Image via Geoffrey, LLC.

Speaking of little ones and balls, this Playskool Poppin' Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper delights babies for hours on end with its 10 different tunes and balls that seem to pop out of its trunk as if by magic.

Babies can work on their hand-eye coordination as they try to catch the balls and place them back in the elephant to watch them pop up again.

Elmo
Image via Hasbro.com

If you have an Elmo fan in your house, Play All Day Elmo is a must-have toy this holiday season. This Elmo reacts to your child with a squeaking nose, a giggle when he's tickled, and over 150 other responses.

Play All Day Elmo can even play games like Pat-A-Cake and Red Light, Green Light. Choose toddler or preschool mode to change to more complex interactions as your child gets a little older.

{ MORE: Putting Up Christmas Decorations Early Is Good for Your Health }

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scooter
Image adapted via Micro Kickboard

If your baby is nearing the year-old mark on his first Christmas, a Micro Mini2Go Kick Scooter makes a great gift. Little kids start off on the ride-on seat, complete with a removable storage bin. After your baby is ready to scoot at about age 2, remove the seat and use the scooter as a stand-on way to get around. It can be used indoors or out.

shirts
Image via Rockin Baby

There is no doubt about it: babies grow quickly. That means it is very likely that the smallest one on your Christmas list could very likely use some new clothes. I'm in love with the clothes from Rockin' Baby, not just because they are super soft, durable, and cute, but also because, for each clothing item purchased, an item is given to a baby in need. That's like giving two gifts at the same time.

As a bonus, Rockin' Baby makes lots of cute outfits for older kids that coordinate well with their baby outfits to ensure adorable Christmas-day photos when the kids change into their new duds.

parking structure
Image via WADER QUALITY TOYS

Around their first birthday, many babies become fascinated with things on wheels. For the first Christmas, go big with the loaded Wader Park Tower play set. This garage has everything from multiple ramps and an elevator to gas pumps and more. Smaller versions that are just as fun are available for smaller spaces.

stroller toy
Image via TinyLove

This Tiny Love Take Along Arch is a great gift because of its flexibility. Lots of toys accompany an arch that can be attached to a stroller or car seat — or it can be used on their own.

stools
Image adapted via Ezzi International, LLC.

After the excitement of the first Christmas is over, you may wonder where you will put all of her great new toys. This adorable storage solution from Zuzu Parade is a storage container cleverly designed as a plush toy that little ones can ride. The ability to use a Zuzu as a toy makes it a perfect gift that little ones and parents will both appreciate.

{ MORE: Holiday Birthdays: How to Make Them Special }

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Must-Have Gifts for Your Baby’s First Christmas

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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