Dear Boston Mamas: Unique Baby Shower Gifts

pregnancy.jpgToday's Dear Boston Mamas question comes from Janelle via Twitter. Janelle asked me for some ideas for unique baby shower gifts. Having enjoyed a baby shower for Violet earlier this year and given my minimalist tendencies, my preference definitely leans towards practical, but sometimes practical also equals unique! Here are some of my favorite ideas -- spanning practical and pretty.

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Hi Janelle,

Thanks for your query, which I couldn't answer through Twitter because my response would never fit in 140 characters! Here are some of my favorite ideas for unique baby shower gifts, in no particular order.

1. When we were expecting my first daughter Laurel, my in-laws knew we wanted to go with cloth diapering and gifted us with a cloth diaper service for 6 months. It was the perfect gift for this eco-friendly mom-to-be who didn't want to worry about more laundry (beyond little onesies and things)!

2. When I was on my pseudo-maternity leave, my friend Amy Turn Sharp wrote a lovely guest post sharing her four favorite baby things; I think the organic baby rattles she recommended are really unique. (And yay for supporting indie businesses!)

3. The nested birthstone rings from Luna & Stella make for a really pretty gift. What I love is that you can continue to add on rings if/when you expand your family.

4. While I was pregnant with Violet, I made a belly cast with one of the belly cast kits from Belly Vita and Laurel painted it. The cast sits on our dining room cabinets and we get comments on it constantly; it's a really special way to commemorate pregnancy.

5. I'm a big fan of usable gifts and I love the soaps and other delights at Abe's Market and Soaptopia. They'd be lovely in a little self care basket.

6. And speaking of baskets, I think a gift basket loaded with children's books would be a fantastic gift for an expecting mom. You can see Boston Mamas book picks here, and also, my friend Gabrielle of Design Mom recently posted a wonderful list of her top 50 picture books (she has 6 kids so she speaks from experience!).

7. We've been getting a ton of use out our Oshi Mat with baby Violet. It's a different sort of pick than a typical play gym mat and I love that it's smaller and less of an eyesore too! The mat also is eco-friendly and comes with a travel bag -- it came in handy this weekend when we were visiting family who are well out of the baby zone.

8. My friend Gretchen Rubin made an excellent case for having professional photographs taken of your newborn. If your friend is local, there are lots of wonderful photographers (all mamas!) in my Boston Mamas mamapreneur business network. Otherwise, look up family photographers where your friend lives and get her a gift certificate to go towards a photo session.

9. When a friend of mine was coping with cancer treatment, another friend coordinated weekly dinner drop offs via Lotsa Helping Hands. I think coordinating a group of friends/family for dinner drop offs would be a fantastic and unique gift for a new mom. We were immensely grateful for dinner drop offs after Violet was born.

10. Also in the services department, a gift certificate for a house cleaning would be fantastic. Because the last thing a new mom wants to do is chase dust bunnies.

11. I'm a designer so perhaps I'm a bit biased, but I love personalized thank you cards. If you want to go the extra mile, include a package of stamps and a nice pen so your friend has all of her correspondence needs in one place when she's writing her thank you cards.

12. Never underestimate the power of a gift certificate for a mani/pedi or general spa treatment. I received a couple of these at my baby shower and it has been fantastic cashing them in!

13. I think a Moses basket makes for a really special gift. I gifted a girlfriend with a higher end model several years ago, but another thoughtful alternative would be to get a less expensive model (the one pictured at the above link is only $30) and load it with something like diapers. Super cute, special, and functional.

14. Finally, I will say that for my second daughter, a girlfriend hosted a secondhand baby shower for me, which was just fantastically eco-friendly and saved us tons of money. And one of the super awesome generous gifts? A hand me down jogging stroller. Perfect for this running mama.

I hope these ideas are helpful Janelle -- I'd love to hear what you decide on for a gift!

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Image credit: Stuart Miles via

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Have a question for Christine? Drop her a line! And of course feel free to comment in if you have recommendations beyond those made above.