We’ve moved!!

July 29, 2012

If you’ve been wondering where we’ve been, well…Minimalist Mama Gifts is now Minimalista Mama! After a few months of moving around, we’re excited about our new name and final location. Come join us at the new site – we’re looking forward to seeing you there!

In the process, we’ve combined Minimalist Mama Gifts with her sister sites Minimalist Mama Expecting (for pregnant parents) and Minimalist Mama (for already-parents). All the sites still have their own sections, so you can find your new home by just clicking on the category that’s right for you. Or you can see all the great stuff for everyone by just browsing around the home page. We really hope you like it!

Minimalist Merge!

June 18, 2012

In a week or so, Minimalist Mama Gifts will have a whole new look and feel and a ton more content: we’re merging with Minimalist Mama and Minimalist Mama Expecting!

Keeping the three sites separate no longer made sense since a lot of the recommendations have been great for expectant parents, new parents and gift givers and I was posting some of the same content on all three sites. That’s just silliness – and we don’t want anyone to miss out! (If you find that you just want to see the posts for your track, the new site will still have separate areas for just pregnant mamas, just new mamas or just the lovely people who give them presents.)

I’m really excited and I hope you like the changes too! (If you want a sneak peak, check it out here. Otherwise, we’ll see you when we go live!)

The Baby Shower

May 4, 2012

Let me be 100% clear: for a baby shower, you should buy off the registry. Period.

I can’t stress enough how you should NOT take matters into your own hands and buy the expectant mama what you think she needs vs. what she has painstakingly decided she needs. I know you have brilliant ideas, impeccable taste and maybe even your own recent experience to draw on, but you should still get her something off her registry. It’s a sign of respect to the trouble she went to in creating her own very personal idea of what she wants for her baby.

If you’ve had a bridal or baby shower yourself, you know what I’m talking about: do not be her Aunt Myrtle, showing up with the serving dish built especially for eggplant that she believes every kitchen needs and that you will take directly to the Salvation Army.

Also, it is 100% irrelevant if you think your friend is wrong about that diaper disposal unit she chose for her nursery. Offer your two cents about a better one gently over email if you must, but if that one you hate is still showing up on her registry in a week or two either get it for her or find something else. If you’re right, she’ll know soon enough + there’ll be no damage to your friendship in the process ’cause you got her something she didn’t want!

There. I’m done. I’m just trying to set you and Mama up for success.

Of course, once you’ve hit your mark and gotten her something she wants, there’s no restriction on adding in that book your baby loved, that onesie you couldn’t resist or any other amazingly cuddly items you couldn’t not buy. “You totally, 100% must have this even though you don’t realize it yet!” items are also always welcome as additions. Or as, “Yay! Your baby arrived!” presents. That’s what I do. It calms down my, “I’m helping!” gene.

Haba Toys

April 12, 2012

Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of tons of colors and noises for infants. The way I see it, if you’re new to everything, everything is interesting. Also, babies are sensitive and easily overwhelmed. So, let’s save the, “Go big or go home!” for later, along with the annoying electronic music and noises attached to so many garish baby toys. I’m betting The Real Housewives of New Jersey all had big, loud baby toys, don’t you think?

It figures then that I fell in love with Haba’s wooden toys. They’re well-made, whimsical, and none of them have scary faces or irritating noises. Also, for you gift givers, they’re not sold in chain stores, so you have an excellent chance of being that person who got little Bertram something truly special.

Haba isn’t the cheapest collection out there – they’re about $5-15 more than their Fisher Price-type counterparts – but I think they’re worth the extra cost in style and durability. If you live in San Francisco, Ark Toys and Ambassador Toys both carry a selection, as will other small European-centric nationwide. Definitely support your local businesses if you can, but a broader selection (and slightly lower prices usually) are available online. Moolka carries tons, as does Padilly, and, of course, Amazon, although their collection is a little harder to sift and sort.

Haba Baby Toys at Moolka, $4 – $200 (!) Also available: older kids toys: just use their filters in the left nav.

Padilly is more difficult to navigate and has fewer sorting options but they carry some Haba that I haven’t found elsewhere.

My Toy Box offers a 10% discount on Haba and has a decent collection, but their site design is unpleasant, so maybe shop elsewhere and then compare prices here.

Here’s the deal: baby bedding – bumpers, comforters, quilts – is not a good shower gift. I’m sorry to break this to you. I know: that bumper and tiny matching quilt with the giraffes are so, so cute, but there it is. Just don’t do it.

If mom and dad registered for a set, OK, maybe, but I’d rather you picked out something else for them, just in case they come to their senses.

Serena and Lily Leo bumperWhy? Because babies do not sleep under blankets or baby-sized comforters. They sleep in swaddles and, a little later, in zip-up sleep sacks, both of which stay on their fidgety selves better than a blanket and neither of which are considered a suffocation hazard in the crib. Bumpers, no matter how adorable, are also a definite “no” and are listed as suffocation risks by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Mama will not use any of the above for Junior in his bed, so move along down the aisle unless you are OK with your gift going un-used. (Or worse: I’ll admit that I dropped off a couple at Goodwill. We just didn’t have the space to store them and they’d have been too small for our daughter by the time it was safe to use them.)

Receiving blankets? Yes. Swaddling blankets? Yes, please! Soft fitted crib sheets from the baby registry? Hello! A soft fuzzy blanket big enough and tough enough to use on the floor for playtime or in the stroller for a walk? Fine. Not very soft or thick mini quilts that won’t provide much warmth out in the weather or down on the floor? Nope. A full-size quilt that you have no expectation you will see on Baby’s bed until she is at least four? Fine. She will appreciate it then, as will her mom. We have a gorgeous one from my aunt – hand quilted, no less – that could not be more perfect for a little girl’s room. When she’s in a toddler bed, that is. (Please note the emphasis on “full-size” so it will still fit her bed by the time she can use it!)

OK, I’m done. I’m so sorry if you had your heart set on sending a tiny comforter. I know you meant well and just thought it would be wonderful and adorable. But do the right thing and get little Murgatroyd something else wonderful and adorable instead. Really.

Just a quick reference over to Minimalist Mama’s home site for a round-up of the best San Francisco toy stores.

If you like to do your toy shopping in person and you live near West Portal (or are looking to buy for a number of upcoming occasions and it’s worth it to make the schlep), definitely, definitely, definitely hit Ambassador Toys’ West Portal location (186 West Portal Ave.) You’ll find something for every kid on your list, no matter what your budget or the kiddie’s preference. Really. It’s like the mother ship of fantastic, quality, original toys.

Enjoy!