This one is a toughy. How do you ask people not to buy plastic stuff for your baby? It’s SO presumptuous that they are even going to get your precious small something in the first place when actually I am absolutely happy with ours not getting a lot at all for her first Xmas. And that’s not me being mean. I would give her the world. Right now. All ribboned up. But I want her to learn the value of things from an early age. All things. Not just stuff. But time, nature etc.
But ‘it’s her first Christmaaaaaas’ cried the fairy atop the tree. Yes but dear fairy face, let’s watch her marvel at the twinkly lights, the songs, the nip in the air, the bells, the food.
I’ve had flashbacks to years gone by when I’ve gifted people with kids loads of plastic stuff without a second thought. For our nearest and dearest little ones I would pack gift bags full of prezzies too. Probably way overboard.
For obvious reasons because come on, unless you’ve had your head in the sand this year it’s pretty obvious that plastic is complete shit, I really want to limit it around our little girl. It’s shit for our health, shit for the world and it’s oceans and animals. It never fully disappears. Tiny plastic shit is all around us. I’ve just this week heard on the radio that for the first time tiny plastic particles are being found in humans via our food. Excellent.
Now I’m no saint when it comes to plastic but I do try and I vow to keep doing better. Two of baby Elodie’s bottles are glass. I drink from a glass water bottle and I use canvas bags when I go out and food shop. I buy refill packs for our washing up liquid and hand wash. But that’s not enough, obviously.
This time of year when you set foot in any supermarket, the aisles are now chocka with plastic toys. Bright, loud, flashy ‘hello look at me little child, you want me yes?’ toys. They blurt out shrill noises and whizz and jiggle. And what babies really love are the boxes that contain them, apparently. Go figure.
Can you even find non plastic alternatives to the big items like bouncers or jumpers (we’re possibly not going to get one of these at all – until further notice – but if we did we’d likely go with a Merry Muscles from Canada). Is it viable to find wooden or cloth or at least recycled alternatives to toys that play music?
And stacking cups, the old baby fave apparently and mostly bright plastic. I’ve found these ones that I’m putting on our list by Green Toys as they are at least 100% recycled from plastic milk containers and have no BPA, phthalates etc.
I know. The mind boggles. The more you look into things the more you think ‘ok I’ll just wrap up this here leaf, Merrrrrrry Christmas’.
So a few nights ago I rather nervously jotted out a little message to some family members to give them the heads up that a lovely book would be the best gift for our girl or perhaps a little wooden toy. She loves books. One little gift is also more special than a bag load too. I get that now. The minute there’s loads of gifts, the next one always makes the last one that bit more disposable right? Like unwrapping one with an eye on the next rather than savouring the one you’re currently unwrapping. Does that make sense?
And ahem. Our baby won’t be unwrapping much this year anyway as for the foreseeable her dimpled little hands are reserved for balling up and shoving in her dribbly mouth.
I wonder if the message was met with an eye roll and thoughts about me being too over the top. But I’m actually trying to be the exact opposite. I’m making it easier no? One gift. A book or something not very plastic, if at all. Easy? And if that’s over the top, then YouTube something about ‘plastic’ and ‘oceans’ and maybe that’ll make our wishes easier to digest. Unlike plastic. Poor whales.
Elodie will have plastic toys, of course. She already does, including some I bought (well gift receipt exchanged) recently as she really loved a musical rainmaker in one of her little baby classes. We’ll probably buy her some more over the years especially if they are good for development and should no eco and health friendly alternatives be available. But I want us to do our bit as much as we can right from the off.
So here’s some ideas for baby gifts that aren’t too plasticy and that aren’t crap. AND that don’t cost the earth, in more ways than one. You could buy a push/pull toy for £2.50. Job done.
Books; Stories are magic. And Christmas is all about that. I need to actually get some books for her that feature actual photos rather than cartoons to add to the mix. Although I do love gorgeous illustrations.
Pull/push toys; Lovely little wooden ones like this from Babipur. Or this from Scandiborn…one of my favourite sites!
Recycled plastic stuff; Still plastic but made into something else instead of landfill. Green Toys are fab for this. I’m loving this push elephant toy and the stacking cups above…
Blocks and stacking; wooden, cloth…Look at these cuties from Natural Baby Shower
Instruments; Shakers, tambourines, xylophones. Fun, fun, fun, Ask me again when Elodie wont let go of a tambourine, like me many moons ago in the main title photo of this blog post.
Cloth stuff; Silk scarves for peepo and great for sensory development. And of course, Taggies.
Bathtime fun; rubber like these from Babipur…or wooden like these absolutely gorgeous ones by Plan Toys, stocked at Kidly, another fave store.
Jigsaws or shape sorter things; like this beaut from fair trade store, Lanka Kade
Developmental toys; This looks amazing by Muro, for 12m+. Or maybe a classic Skwish – we already have this and she LOVES it. Wooden stacking rings are also a classic, like these at Green Tulip. Loads of great options from Beaming Baby too.
Montessori style stuff; Zips and Velcro boards like this. Or maybe an object permanence box like this from Absorbent Minds (for older little ones, this isn’t seen as a toy but an educational thingy…)
Clothing; loads of options and at time of publishing this, a fab sale on at Ethical Superstore for organic and fair trade clothing. Plus H&M, John Lewis and Gap for other organic fabric options.
Other stores to note Conscious Craft and Great Little Trading Company
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