It takes commitment and a freakish inattention to detail to give baby gifts that are so bad, it’s epic. Basically, it takes effort to be this dumb. I know this because I gave bad baby gifts for years, and I didn’t realize quite how talented I was at this until I had a baby of my own.

Here’s how you can confuse and disappoint the expectant and new parents in your life:

1. Go off the registry. Going rogue is the best way to make sure you get a present the recipients don’t need or want. Instead, purchase something “unique” and “quirky” that perfectly represents your own style at a children’s boutique near your house but not theirs. Do not include a gift receipt.

2. Don’t “register” the gift. In other words, if you do choose something on the registry list, don’t let the store know you have purchased it so they can record it in their system. This ensures that the couple will receive multiples of the item, even if they aren’t having multiples. Don’t ask for a gift receipt.

3. Buy only newborn clothing. Get swept away in the tiny-ness of these itsy-bitsy pieces of cloth. In fact, put a onesie on your hand, hold it up so everyone in the store can see, then exclaim, “This barely fits on my hand!” Purchase several of these in a state of awe. Of course, the baby will only be that small for about four minutes. Again, don’t bother with a gift receipt.

4. Get the season wrong. For example, if the child is born in June, buy a cute, frilly bathing suit, size six months, that will fit the baby perfectly in…November. Do not do this if the family is prone to taking cruises, or quick jaunts to sunnier climates, because then the gift will be actually be good. Don’t even think about getting a gift receipt.

5. Get the gender wrong. Do this either because you aren’t paying attention or because you prefer to go with your gut on these kinds of things. If the couple isn’t finding out the gender before the birth, don’t go neutral with yellow duckies. Instead, pick a step-stool labeled, “COWBOY” or something with sparkly butterfly wings. Skip the gift receipt.

6. Forget to include a bottle of champagne, wine, or a six pack of quality ale. After all, alcohol is the only way the new parents are going to survive the first few months. On the other hand, if they don’t drink, go ahead and include some alcohol, proving that not only will you never know their offspring that well, you don’t know them very well either. Don’t include a gift receipt because that would be… well… weird.

7. Fail to give a gift all together. What you’re saying here is, hey, I know this is one of the most significant things that has ever happened to you and that your life is changing exponentially, but this does not affect me one iota. Whether this is a matter of forgetfulness or you simply don’t care, the message is loud and clear. Then again, the parents will be so exhausted and inundated with good baby gifts they probably won’t notice. If you want to really create some awkwardness and maximum confusion, though, go ahead and give them a gift receipt for something really awesome.

Good luck and happy gifting.


by Jocelyn Jane Cox

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  1. Can I just tell you how much I LOVE this!!?? Haha! And what about re-gifting that satin picture frame you got (when your own little one was born) that says “welcome to the world, Ashley Rose!” That’s perfectly awful, unless the parents are flexible and change their baby’s name– darn them!

    • Brilliant! That IS a very bad gift. I will say that I have never attempted the personalized gift bc I am sure I would spell the name wrong…but there’s always more babies to try that out on…

  2. Perfect tips! I will keep them all in mind. Next time I reach for the older baby outfits, because they are practical, I’ll stop, refocus, and head over to the itsy bitsy newborn stuff where I’ll load up! I’ll buy a Mini tuxedo, some jeans and a blazer and, of course, newborn shoes! 🙂

    • Yes, so glad you are going to change your formerly-sensible ways! Newborn shoes, love it! And Newborn boots, ice skates, ski’s, and high heels…:)

  3. These are spot on! I also like the gifts that are personalized with the baby’s name spelled incorrectly. That always warms the heart.

  4. Kitchen Gadget Reply

    This is helpful especially for those who don’t have any idea on what to give for a baby gift. Now I know next time what to (and not to) give my friends and loved ones with babies.

  5. Oh Wow !! Amazing
    Thanks for this gift ideas
    I like your post
    very beautiful

  6. Hands down, the best advice on gift giving I have read so far. Hilarious and spot on. Another favorite is to choose a theme that doesn’t even come close to what the parents have picked out on the registry, or countless stuffed animals that will sit in the corner and collect dust. I want to say that I appreciate the thought that goes into any gift, but missing the mark makes for a difficult situation all around. If you are expecting and building your registry, make sure to take the time to research the best equipment to suit your needs and then spread the word as much as possible. If you need help building a registry has some great, thorough reviews of essential baby gear.

  7. Great article that covers all of the basics. I especially love the white noise machine, since travel can completely disrupt a little one’s sleep schedule. If you don’t have a white noise machine, there are some apps that do the trick nicely as well. Traveling with a baby can be tricky, but the right gear makes it so much easier. If you are going to be out and about walking with your baby while away, the right baby carrier and/or stroller makes a world of difference too. The roamingmommy site has some helpful product reviews for being on the go with baby.

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