gifts they might actually want

I Can’t Stop Buying Steiff Stuffed Animals (on Amazon) for Babies

Steiff stuffed animals can make great (and lasting) gifts for newborns. Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of Amazon

When it comes to gifts for life events like births or weddings, I am that person who always goes off-registry. It requires more thought and time, but I find deep satisfaction in picking out something surprising that, based on other things someone asked for, I suspect they’ll like. It’s easy enough for weddings, as most people are looking for things they want to keep forever, whether for their kitchen, dining, or living spaces. But it can be far trickier for babies, because most times parents want infant bodysuits or nursery equipment or burping cloths or developmental toys that will long be disposed of or forgotten by the time the kid knows who Uncle Tony is.

I struck off-baby-registry gold, however, when I discovered that German toy-maker Steiff — whose “luxury” stuffed playthings can go for three or four digits, especially if vintage — sells some of its most adorable toys on Amazon (which admittedly isn’t the first place I turn to for unique gifts). A lot of the cutest ones are $35 or less, and although Steiff sells similarly priced toys on its own website, there’s something about buying them on Amazon that makes the process seem more convenient (likely because for Prime members like myself, many of the toys come with free two-day shipping; ones that do not can command heftier shipping fees).

The 140-year-old company invented the teddy bear — a known crib staple — so I know its stuff is nursery-friendly. Most important, as Steiff’s vintage items show, the toys last (and can even get more valuable with age), meaning they’re likely things that the new babies in my life will hold on to and can remember me by for years to come. The below sampling of Steiff stuffed animals sold by Amazon includes some of my go-tos, like the duckling and elephant, along with others that showcase the collection’s delightful range.