I’ve got a rather unusual idea to present: should you even bother with many Christmas presents for really little kids — that is, those toddler age and under?

Now, that might seem a radical concept, completely at odds with the meaning of Christmas… but if you think so, I’d gently argue that you’ve forgotten the meaning of Christmas.

Am I being horrible? I don’t think so. I think that you just have to realize one thing: baby’s first Christmas isn’t about presents. It’s about fitting them into the fabric of your family traditions, and showering them with love and affection.


You have to realize that teeny, tiny kids are still learning how the world works. So do you really think they’re going to understand the difference between getting a half dozen presents and getting 30? Not likely. It’s the getting presents at all that matters.

And let’s be honest here. Don’t they usually enjoy ripping off the paper and tearing open the package more than they enjoy the Christmas gifts themselves? Isn’t it true that what they really like is the big deal everyone makes of them opening the presents?

Bah. Humbug.

Honestly, I’m not trying to be Ms. Scrooge here. There are some great gifts for babies out there, and some of these newfangled gifts for toddlers… well, I’d probably play with them, too. But does it make sense to give a one-year-old everything on Earth, when they have no Earthly idea what to do with it?

If you do buy your tiny tot a bunch of gifts, I’d suggest that you make them educational toys, especially the soft, plushy kind that they can hug and love on, and of course simple books that you can read to them. Maybe a onesie or two, or a musical mobile would be nice.

See, it won’t be long before they start seeing things on TV and saying, “I want that!” In the meanwhile, get them things they need, things that will help them understand how to handle this bewildering world that they’ve found themselves in.

The true meaning of Christmas

Christmas is intended as a celebration of life –and of the ultimate sacrifice that the only perfect human to walk the Earth made to save the rest of us. It’s also an intensely personal way of maintaining our traditions and sharing ourselves with our families.

If one of your ways of celebrating Christmas is showering the little kids with gifts, that’s fine! But please realize that what you’re doing is making yourself happy. What babies really crave is the attention, all the hugs and kisses… not the Christmas presents.


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