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Gift Guide: Baby & Kids

Nov 22, 2021

Gift Guide: Baby & Kids

Happy Monday! WOW after a very long unplanned hiatus, I am back! I had planned to be offline for just a couple of days while we were spending time with my family in Oregon, but then I got hit with a horrible bout of strep throat and it had me down for the count for DAYS. I have never been so miserable! (First round of antibiotics didn’t work, Saturday they called me in a new prescription, I’m finally starting to feel human again today!) Whew. Thanks for your patience and your well-wishes! Finally, I’m back with my next gift guide: gifts for babies and kids! 

Truthfully, we’ve always said we wanted to keep Christmas gifts minimal with our kids. I know it’s easier said than done, but we really believe in the ‘fewer, better things’ mindset. This year, she doesn’t know what Christmas is, or presents, and we absolutely do not need any more stuff around our house! It seems like a lot of parents out there feel the same way about stuff, so before we get into the gift guide, let’s touch on that a bit more! Here’s what many of you ask for instead: 

Gift Guide: Baby & Kids

Experiences as gifts: 

I have a whole gift guide coming on experiences, but as they pertain to kids, so many parents said museum passes, zoo memberships, water park passes, etc are truly the gifts that keep on giving! Or what about plane tickets for their next family vacation? Money for the Disneyworld fund? These kinds of experiences are so much more valuable than a toy, and often, cost about the same amount! Just ask parents for feedback first to ensure you’re not buying a duplicate membership or experience. 

529 plan contributions: 

Many of you mentioned this and I think it’s such a genius idea. Suggest something small, like a book or an ornament, and then in lieu of a big gift, suggest a contribution to the child’s 529 plan, if they have one. (If you don’t have one, I highly recommend looking into setting one up. The money can be used for any kind of post high school education, like college, vocational school, trade school, etc!) Some of you even said yours has the option to email a link out to contribute! That or a check, Venmo, etc so parents can deposit into their account. It might not be exciting for kids now, but they will thank you profusely when they’re older! 

Prefer to go the traditional route? (Or combine a gift with an experience?) You’ll find a lot below, curated by me, Kendall, and many of you based off your amazing suggestions on Instagram stories! Like all my gift guides, you’ll find each category broken out by budget–a mix of practical gifts, little surprise and delight, and more from both big retailers and small businesses. Just click on the budget that suits you and you’ll be taken to that section of the gift guide! 

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— > Under $50 <—

— > Under $100<—

— > 100+ <—

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Wonderbly personalized books: 

Books are the most amazing gift, and with these, it’s guaranteed you’ll never gift a repeat! I LOVE Wonderbly books! I got Neal their “June loves Daddy THIS much” book for Christmas last year (before she was born) and my best friend’s parents (who are like my second parents) got June “Peek-a-Boo June!” and it’s SO sweet. Her favorite book! ♥️ The cutest gifts for both kids and relatives since you can personalize both!

Kyte Zippies: 

A newborn baby MUST HAVE: Kyte double-zippered PJs (they zip from both the bottom and the top to make diaper changes super easy!) As a mom I don’t think I could ever be gifted too many pairs of KYTE jammies! They are the softest PJ’s you’ll ever find (and super breathable as they’re bamboo!). They come in so many cute colors, and they’re very stretchy, so they fit for a long time, too! This would make a cute AND incredibly practical gift for the littlest ones in your life (or a mom-to-be!) Another big hit are their sleep bags (for when baby gets a little older! We just transitioned June to hers and love it! So warm and soft!) Plus, I have a code! KYTEPARTNERJESS gets you 15% off! 

Arts + Crafts supplies: 

Another popular submission: more arts and crafts supplies! Parents say their kids never have enough! (Plus, it keeps them busy while they’re home on winter break! ????) They’re also super affordable–you can buy an arts and crafts kit, or get a storage box and fill it it with a random assortment! One reader said her kids once received an old briefcase full of office supplies and it was their favorite present! ????

Personalized Name Puzzle: 

These name puzzles serve as sweet keepsakes and decorations — as well as a fun toy! Would be a perfect first Christmas gift for babies/nieces/nephews/etc.! Plus, it’s on Amazon homemade so supports a small business!

Reindeer surprise balls: 

These are so fun as a party favor, stocking stuffer, or just a festive little surprise for any kiddo! Each contains a party hat, joke, self-adhesive mustache, 2 temporary tattoos (you’ll get either a reindeer, santa, snowman, star, holly or a Christmas tree), and a multi-colored friendship bracelet!

Little mice ornaments: 

Virtu is one of my favorite little local boutiques in Bucktown, and they carry the SWEETEST ornaments! My favorite are their mice ornaments. My granny always got my sister and I an ornament every year and my favorites were always little mice. These remind me of her and I plan to get June several over the years for her collection! I think an ornament is always a sweet gift idea for little kids! (There are lots to suit every personality!)

Melissa & Doug reusable sticker books: 

Apparently kids go crazy for these, and they’re a fun activity to keep them occupied during the winter months!

Personalized Kids’ Rolling Pin:

How cute is this rolling pin for kids to make their own special cookies? Perfect for baking dough or play dough!

Bunny Mixer: 

Adding to the baking theme, this bunny mixer is adorable for kids to practice their baking skills!

Highlights magazine: 

HIGHLIGHTS! Who knew this still existed!? I didn’t until many of you told me so! It says ages 6-12 but seeing as 12 year olds these days act like 16 year olds I’d guess it’s more appropriate for maybe 6-10 year olds. ???? A year’s subscription is under $30 and is full of fun educational content they’ll look forward to every month!

Chicago Apparel: I always love including Alice & Wonder items in my other gift guides, because they have the best selection of creative gifts — and their babies and kids selection is no different! Perfect for Chicago kiddos!

Rainbow Rolling Play Dough Set: Speaking of play dough… this set will surely be a hit for toddlers. It’s all-natural, plant-based play dough and comes in six color jars!

Magnetic Wooden Alphabet Letters: 

These wooden alphabet letters are aesthetically pleasing for adults and fun and safe for toddlers!

Musical Llama Toy: I just got this for my daughter’s first birthday and it’s a hit! Perfect for making music, playing — and it’s so pretty to look at!

Hanna Andersson Holiday PJ’s: 

From the incredible quality to the sweet patterns, Hanna Andersson jammies are the best! I love that they are cute enough to wear during the day (I get the ones without feet so they look more daytime to me? IDK ????) and they last forever! These are definitely the ultimate hand-me-down pieces. (We were first introduced to them when Danielle handed down Margot and Kate’s Hannas to us!) SO many of you have messaged me saying you have saved your Hanna jammies throughout the years to pass onto your own littles, nieces, nephews, and grandkids! ???? Warms my heart! I also LOVE my adult Hanna jammies and they’re my #1 recco for family holiday jams too!

Personalized Embroidered Sweater: The only thing cuter than babies and little kids in chunky sweaters is when the sweaters are embroidered with their names! There are a bunch of talented Etsy makers who create these, but this maker had a great name displayed! ????

Melissa & Doug Ice Cream Set: 

I can’t tell you how many people have told me about this ice cream set. I don’t know what it is about it, but apparently its every kids favorite toy! Melissa and Doug is a really great brand that makes awesome imagination-sparking toys (that are also cute to look at!)

Mini mouse + cheese “bowling” game: 

I secretly want this just for me. I know my niece and nephew would FLIP at this little game! The mouse is a little zoomy toy–pull him back, let him go, and see how many cheeses he can knock down! (They’ll enjoy playing with the little pieces separately too!) This would be fun to bring any kids to keep them occupied during a holiday party! The best part? It’s only $20!

Evereden Baby Cleanse + Hydrate Set: 

The best practical AND pretty gift for a new baby! We use these products everyday on June and they’re my absolute favorite–now they come in a cute set (part of their 30% off Cyber Week sale!) and also includes a pretty little gift bag! They’re SO gentle (baby skin can get so dry so easily!) and I love that they’re nontoxic, developed by moms in medicine–specifically dermatologists and pediatricians! Full review on all their products here. 


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Cuddle + Kind Dolls: 

These dolls are the sweetest — and they make the world a better place! Handmade and fair trade, every doll purchased provides 10 meals for children in need. You can learn more about that here.

There are so many adorable animals to choose from — and each comes in two sizes!


Lovevery Playkits

Another SUPER popular answer–this is such a great Montessori-style toy company that makes great gifts for babies through young kids. They also make June’s play gym which is probably the #1 baby thing we use every day. It keeps her entertained, learning, and is perfect for tummy time!

Village Train Play Set: 

There’s something so classic and nostalgic about train sets for the holidays! I love the details and colors of this one!

Botanist Kit Carry Case: 

For the little green thumbs in your life! This case comes with a flower press, magnifying glass, notebook and boxes to preserve tiny treasures. Plus, the case is darling!

Personalizable Children’s Apron & Mitt Set: 

How cute is this French-themed apron and mitt set for little chefs who love to get creative in the kitchen?! It also comes with free personalization to make it extra special!

Microkickboard scooter: 

Every little kid I know is obsessed with this scooter! I always see kids zooming around our neighborhood on them–my nephew was using his almost immediately after he started walking! Such a great gift for under $100–parents will also appreciate them for getting the zoomies out. ????

Rainbow Stacker: Great baby gift idea! These stackers are great for building skills during play and look beautiful displayed on a shelf when not in use. There are so many color options/sizes to choose from, too! Kelly and Shaheen got June one of these and I can’t wait until she’s big enough to use it! (Until then, it looks so cute in her nursery!)

Through The Woods Kids Croquet Set:

This croquet set would make a great gift for any little one on your list and will entertain the whole family over the holidays!

Barefoot Dreams Baby Blanket: 

I love my Barefoot Dreams blanket, I brought it to the hospital when June was born! One of my best friends Ally gifted June her own baby version and it’s our absolute favorite. So thick and cozy! Would make the BEST gift!

Activity Walker: For babies on the verge of walking or will be in the near future, an activity walker is a great gift idea! They can use it for support to walk around as well as play with the activities while seated.

Starter Ukulele: 

For any kid who is interested in music, a ukulele is an awesome starter instrument, and this little starter set looks like a great one! (Also comes in more fun colors!) It’s a small soprano ukulele, good for little hands, and even comes with a strap, picks, and online lessons! (You’ll also want to make sure to get them a tuner to go with it!)



Maisonette Personalized Stocking Stuffer Box: 

I LOVE Maisonette and they created the coolest little stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift idea I’ve ever seen! You can transfer into a stocking or pull one or two small gifts out each night of Hanukkah. The pretty customized box includes:

– Holiday Pop It

– Instant Snow Kit

– LCD Writing Tablet

– Hot Chocolate Spoon

– Boxed Wooden Pencil Set

– Holiday Activity Book

– Holiday Charade Game

– Crystal Growing Science Experiment



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Play kitchen: 

The play kitchen suggestion came up over and over again as your #1 favorite “big” gift item! Thankfully they have come a long way and they make so many cute, aesthetically pleasing versions you’ll be happy to have on display in your house! This one from Maisonette is my favorite (and 30% off at $130!)–and also how cute is this super retro one from Crate & Barrel!?

Gathr all-purpose mats: 

Amazing play mats, picnic mats, tablecloths, and even double as adorable tapestries when not in use–many of you recommended these mats! I’ve been wanting one for June but I can’t decide on which pattern/color to get–they’re all so cute! I think I love the world map one best!

Rattan “Strolley”: 

This would also be a great thing to gift in relation to the play kitchen! Converts from a doll stroller to a trolley with a simple flip of a lid. Perfect for pretend play, dolls or to push around /store toys. It’s hand-woven and looks beautiful when not in use, too!

Balance Bike:

Another show-stopper holiday gift idea is a balance bike! (Perfect for 3-5 year olds!) I love Banwood Bikes’ traditional designs and they come in the most beautiful colors!

Pikler Triangle: 

I had never heard of these Montessori climbing structures until asking friends with toddlers for gift ideas! (So many of you recommended this too!) You can find them for sale everywhere, but I was having a hard time finding one that was guaranteed delivery by Christmas, so if you’re having this problem–this store sells on Amazon and offers Prime shipping! They are suitable for kids as young as 6 months!


Museums, zoos, aquariums, movies–this was the #1 most requested gift by parents on Instagram stories were experiences they could do together! (Make sure to check with parents first to see what they already have!) This is definitely the gift that keeps on giving! If you’re local, the Chicago Children’s Museum is supposed to be amazing!


Hope you liked my first annual baby and kids gift guide, and thanks for all your great suggestions!

xoxo Jess

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