Personalized Baby Gift Ideas

What’s the best gift to get for a personalised baby? No, hang on, that’s not right. What’s the best personalised gift to get for a baby? That’s better!

Nowadays you can buy most things with added personalisation. When buying for a baby remember that the baby is unlikely to care! The personalisation is for the benefit of the parents or possibly the child when it gets older; some people like to hang on to old baby gear for nostalgic reasons.

So the best baby gifts will be ones that last and have an emotional attraction. There’s nothing wrong with purely practical or short term gifts like dummies (pacifiers) or drinking bottles, and these can be personalized as well as anything else, but the lack the ‘Ahh’ factor. Here are a few ideas for longer lasting personalized baby gifts.

  • The baby blanket is a classic and many parents hang on to one of these for a long time. Variations on this theme include towels, bath robes and fleeces.

  • Another item of clothing that works well as a baby gift is footwear – there’s a definite cuteness factor to a tiny pair of shoes or booties. Babies grow quickly so will likely outgrow any clothing very quickly. In the case of personalised clothing that’s actually an advantage as it means it can be moved to the ‘memory box’ before it’s ruined!

  • Dolls, bears, plush dragons etc are an interesting idea, the problem is what name do you put on them? It seems a bit strange to put the child’s name! If the personalisation allows for enough characters you could try something like “Molly’s Best Friend” or “Rory’s First Bear”.

  • In this day of digital everything a photograph book might seem outdated. However many of us still like to flip through physical printed photos. You can buy many different personalised photo albums with baby themes.

  • Another idea that seems old fashioned but is still popular is cutlery, the traditional spoon being the best known example. This is sometimes used as a Christening gift but there’s no reason it should be restricted to that ceremony. And they don’t have to be made of silver!

  • I mentioned the ‘memory box’ earlier. Many people keep one of these – so why not give one as a gift? A keepsake box can make a great little gift and personalisation – maybe with the baby’s name and date of birth – turns an ordinary box into something special.

Whatever you choose, your first priority should be to ensure that it’s safe for the baby, so always buy quality from a reputable dealer.

Halloween Food Ideas

Halloween is great fun with costumes and parties galore. And, of course, food is a big part of that. Kids obviously get Halloween candy. But what about the adults? Here are some ideas for Halloween food and catering.

Do It Yourself

If you have the time and skill then you can produce spectacular dishes with the help of Halloween jelly moulds, cookie cutters, etc.

Don’t forget to add lurid edible food colouring! Black, red and bright green work well.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without presents; Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without pumpkins. Pumpkin pie is a classic, personally I like some nice spicy pumpkin soup to warm me up on a chilly evening. There are loads of pumpkin recipes for you to experiment with.

Unexpected Candy

Those sugary insects don’t just have to be for the kids. They can be used with adult meals as well. If you’re hosting a full dinner then you could garnish the pudding with a few body parts.

You can also use Halloween candy in unexpected places. How would your guests react to biting into a sandwich and discovering a spider (or half a spider…)? Or maybe mix a few rats and frogs in with the bowls of snacks!

Drinks

No party is complete without drinks, whether alcoholic or not. For the adults you can use special Halloween themed cocktail recipes. If you’d rather avoid the alcohol then any juice drink can be made more interesting by adding Halloween themed ice.

Accessories

As well as the food itself you can also buy a wide variety of Halloween themed accessories to add to the atmosphere – for example
plastic picks, napkins, paper plates etc. Just make sure your guests know what is edible and what isn’t!

Dumb Supper

If you have the time to prepare and a receptive guest list then the ultimate in Halloween dining is the ‘dumb supper’. This is an ancient tradition that involves a meal eaten in silence at midnight. For more information on this see Dumb Supper @ Festivology.


Christmas Decorating Ideas

If you’re like me then somehow Christmas catches you by surprise every year. I always say “next year I’ll get everything done in advance”, but I never do. So here are some ideas for easy, last minute Christmas decorating:

Seasonal Foliage

Holly, berries and pine cones all give a seasonal feel and can be found for free – just make sure you have permission to gather them. For a jollier look you can use red or metallic indoor spray paint on them. Or if you don’t live where this sort of thing grows can always buy artificial holly instead.

Candles

One upon a time candles were just for providing light. Now they’re items of decor in their own right. Not only can you buy candles that look cheerful and Christmasy, you can buy ones that smell Christmasy. Mulled wine is the one I like best, I find it very evocative of the Christmas spirit as well as pleasant in its own right. Always take all safety precautions when using candles.

Seasonal Appliques

I prefer to use the word “applique” or “decal” rather than “sticker” because I’m talking about the sort you can remove easily. You can buy packs of Christmas themed stick ‘n’ peel decals at very affordable prices and some can even be stored for use next year. Another advantage is that they’re simple enough for kids to use, letting them feel part of the holiday decorating. Just make sure you really do get ones that will come off easily! As always, remember to check out the reviews before you buy.

Ribbons and Bows

Almost anything can be made to look seasonal if it’s wrapped up like a gift! Different people like different colours, but red and gold are a classic combination for Christmas. Try using some Christmasy ribbons and bows on cushions, chair backs, doors, etc. Crafters can probably think of more advanced uses and ways to incorporate a seasonal feel into other projects. Be careful not to place ribbons or bows on electrical equipment or anything else that could be a fire risk.

Mini Trees

Not everyone has the space – or the desire – for a full blown Xmas tree, natural or artificial. However a miniature Christmas tree or two placed on a strategic shelf or tabletop can be extremely effective addition to the decor. Some come pre-decorated or even prelit.

Cards

There are many more ways to display your Christmas cards than simple putting them on shelves – there are a variety of greeting card holders available to buy, from plain to intricately decorated. If you’re especially creative then you could combine your favourite to form a display or even a hanging mobile. Or you could just string them together with twine and hang them at appropriate points.

And there’s no need to restrict yourself to the cards you’ve received this year. If you get a particularly attractive card you can keep it for next year. As well as extra decoration, this provides a growing string of memories.

Don’t forget about the cards you’ve bought yourself to send. I always buy far too many. So rather than let them go to waste I use them for decoration as well.

Dolls’ Houses

Why should the full size house be the only one to be decorated for Christmas? If you or a child has a dollhouse or other miniature building it can be great fun to decorate that as well. Almost anything you can get for a full size house can also be bought in miniature, from sacks of toys to Christmas trees. Make sure you double check the size to make sure that whatever you buy fits the scale of the doll house.

Whatever decorations you choose, please be very careful. Keep anything flammable away from danger spots and take special care to make sure that children and animals can’t get caught up or otherwise hurt themselves.