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first birthday gifts for the baby you buy everything for anyway

I’ve really struggled with the whole baby gift-giving situation. Yes, I want to give my kid presents on all of the gift-giving holidays, but at the same time… at this point in her little life (she’s 11 months old), she can’t distinguish between a Christmas gift and the stuffed animal dad brings home from the airport. And if she needs a new teether… I’m going to hop on Amazon and buy her a new teether, no matter the month or season! On top of that – I hate clutter and am employing every tactic I can think of to keep my house from getting overtaken by bright red, orange and green toys that play loud music and will hold her attention for all of 20 seconds.

That being said – every kid needs some birthday gifts and I have been on a mission to find a handful that she’ll:

  1. LOVE

  2. Have for more than a couple months

  3. Possibly cherish into adulthood (hey maybe one of these items will be saved in a keepsake box and handed down to her one-day baby)

Here’s what I’ve come up with – these are the presents Ava is getting from mom and dad for her first birthday this year. Fingers crossed they stay out of the donation bin for the foreseeable future!


I stumbled across these adorable modern music boxes a few months back while we were living in San Francisco. I stood in Papyrus (one of my favorite stationary stores) and stared at all of them, punching numbers into their Juke-Box-style display to hear the delicate chimes and melodies. I kept this little keepsake in the back of my mind so when it came time to buy a special gift for a very special birthday, I knew exactly what to get!

I know this isn’t really a ‘toy’ she can enjoy right away. But when she is old enough, I look forward to taking it off a special shelf and winding it up and see her eyes light up -- the same way mine did when I first laid my eyes on it in SF.


IncrediBundles – Music Toys

This is one of the gifts I am most excited to give our little musical girl. We recently enrolled Ava in music classes through Music Together, and she LOVES it! The minute the instructor puts all the shaker eggs in the middle of the circle, Ava grabs two and goes to town.

So when I first learned about IncrediBundles – an online company that sells adorable boxed and bundled gifts for your littles, all falling within a fun theme (bath time, beloved story books, sleep time, etc.), I knew I had to have one for Ava’s special day.

You have the option to bundle your own gifts, which is what I did to put together this fun music-themed gift box. They have so many fun things to choose from, including some of my go-to baby items and brands - like Sophie the Giraffe, Melissa & Doug and Aden & Anais. You can even gift someone with a year of books or a year of diapers (the ultimate baby shower gift in my opinion)!

The box I made for Ava includes a set of shaker eggs (I mean… how could I not!), a baby orchestra set, and a little glockenspiel (similar to a xylophone). We gave her this birthday gift a few weeks early and already, these are the first toys she craws to when I set her down in her play area!


Every kid needs that first bike… it’s like a right of passage! So I loved the idea of this 4-in-1 trike that can grow with Ava through the next handful of years (from 9 months to 5 years to be exact). It starts out as a push-trike but will eventually convert to a toddler-powered-and-steered tricycle. How fun is that?? I also loved the bright teal color, and even found a little pink and teal helmet to match.

I can't wait to see Ava's little face light up when she takes her first 'ride' on the trike, hears the first delicate song from her music box, or makes some music of her own.

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