Among my close friends and relatives, 2019 is shaping up to be a watershed year for giving birth. One couple I know just welcomed a daughter, another had twin boys, and before the end of the year, three more are expecting four babies among them (one of the three is expecting twins).
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). Many of the items are less than $30, 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, but ones that do not can command heftier shipping fees).
The 139-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.
Steiff stuffed animals I’ve bought
This puppy is similar, but not identical to, the stuffed dog I got for one of my friends’ twin boys.
I picked up this happy amphibian for their other son.
I got this sweet-looking duckling for another friend’s baby girl, but like most stuffed animals, it would be appropriate for boys, too.
Steiff stuffed animals I want to buy
There’s something unique about this charming piglet, which would certainly stand out among the other stuffed animals in a baby’s menagerie.
My cousin and his wife are expecting twin girls this summer, and this little lamb seems like the perfect companion for one of them.
This tiny mouse would make a great gift for the other (I like that it’s a different style from the lamb but shares a common color).
This handsome husky really showcases the brand’s craftsmanship. It seems suited for a baby boy.
The longer hair on this teddy bear gives it a really soft-looking quality that makes you want to just snuggle up with it.
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