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Simple Pleasures: Handmade and Hand-Me-Down Baby Gifts

I'm feeling very grateful this Thanksgiving! First of all, I'm grateful that Nux Gallica, my immediate family, and I are all in good health. Unfortunately, many of my relatives and friends' relatives are not doing so well right now. Their struggles help me keep things in perspective and appreciate family and wellness.

31 weeks pregnant, right before my shower

32 weeks

And on a lighter note, I'm grateful for all the cute baby stuff that continues to shower upon me and Mr. G. Our material needs for this new baby are met, and then some.

One way we made it easier on ourselves and our friends and family to provide for the new arrival was to welcome handmade and hand-me-down items. It's fun to get bright, shiny, new things. But it can also be extra special to keep or acquire things with history, or with a hand-crafted touch.

We received a huge stack of handmade baby blankets, which are all incredibly soft, washable, and nontoxic. And they're one-of-a-kind! Some clever crafters also made Nux Gallica other cuddly and unique things, like hats, booties, a wool sleep sack, and extra-absorbent bibs. With handmade textiles, there are no scratchy seams or tags, and each piece reminds me of the kind person who spent time creating it.

It's important to keep organized for all the stuff that pours in!

Hand-me-down clothes (in good condition, of course) are also fun. We got some amazing retro outfits from Mr. G's childhood in a package from Nonna and Dedushka. They even sent us a tiny crocheted sweater that was worn by Dedushka in Austria before he came to America.

I encouraged the people I invited to my baby shower to pick up pre-owned clothes at an upscale baby consignment shop (a fancy thrift store!), which cost less than retail but are mostly never-worn or barely-used.

Clean and safe (check out modern safety standards) toys and furniture can also be more special than new, because older items tend to be simpler and sturdier. Have you been in a toy aisle lately? Some of the junk on the market is so complex, overstimulating, and chintzy that it blows my mind. If children's things are still around and in good shape after a decade or two of use, they've withstood the test of time for a reason! Antique furniture tends to be more solid and well-made than new furniture, and if it isn't valuable, or if it's already "weathered," parents don't have to worry so much about small children abusing the finish.

The futon, dresser, end table, and crib are all safety-checked, sturdy, pre-owned pieces. The crib and dresser were my own as a child. It's not difficult to update or personalize old pieces with new nontoxic finishes or paints, or with new upholstery or coverings.

Babies grow up so fast that Mr. G and I couldn't conceive of spending lots of money, or expecting others to do so, on loads of new store-bought things for our little baby. She won't care about brand names for quite awhile, but I'm sure she will appreciate the softness and warmth of all her lovingly made knits! Sometimes, the less expensive, simpler option is more useful and enjoyable.


  1. Recently i had to go to my friends baby shower party. I was confused about gift ideas., gifting bibs, and knitting caps are good, its unique present for Baby shower invitations.

    Baby Shower Invitations

  2. I wish you could publish this in every publication out there. I know so many people that register at places that are unbelievably expensive and wonder why people either didn't show up or only chose to get a gift card.

    Personally, I love gift cards, but the point is, like you said, there are handmade, gently used, and antique items that are usually of a better quality.

    Wow, I'm impressed with your attitude! And look how full the closet it already.

    BTW, your little tummy is so cute. Congratulations!

  3. Sooooooi was going to make you a blanket for beeb. I guess not! LOL Love you!

  4. Congrats! Oh you look lovely! I have to admit I enjoyed my pregnancy. And I love that little penguin you have there too. ;) When you have a few minutes do pop over to mine to pick up an award! ;)

  5. Thanks, WC! I get much more excited about baby gifts that are hand-crafted or were fun to pick out at a consignment shop than expensive status-y items--for a baby. Because the baby won't care what label is on her clothes and accessories. It's like dressing your dog in Gucci. LOL! I figured my guests would have more fun if they could go shopping with $10 and get three adorable outfits. Also, if they can choose or design the gifts themselves, it's giving from the heart instead of just the wallet.

    Esperanzita: It's true, I am stocked up on blankets! But she doesn't have much in the way of Mexican things, like rebozos or alpaca hats. ;)

    Thank you, Talei! I'm glad you enjoyed pregnancy, too. My aunt gave me that giant penguin. I was going to buy a cheap pillow at the supermarket to put there, but the penguin is even cuter! :D

  6. Great post. Especially love the closet--it is so beautifully organized! I wish I could do the same thing in my house (only not with a clothes closet... a yarn closet!)

    And I love the pics of your belly. You look fantastic!


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