Beyond the First Birthday – A Practical Gift Guide for One-Year-Old Girls

So you are the good friend or family member of a person whose child is celebrating her first birthday. You want a present that is out of the “box” because God knows that child has a living room filled with stuffed animals and a closet that would put the any fashion diva or hotel heiress to shame. Here are some gift ideas for the little diva you will feel good about giving and the parent will actually enjoy getting.

Bedroom Accessories

I know it was my case that my girls were ready to be out of their cribs and into their “big girl” beds shortly after they turned one. I suggest contributing to the décor with something practical and not too extravagant like a Princess sheet set or a lamp (princess themed of course). Always a hit is a personalized wall hanging, remember it doesn’t have to be anything huge and removable decals may be best. Be sure to confer with the parents about this one so color selection and items are appropriate.


You may have mixed feeling about this, but I found that my kids loved when I read to them. I enjoyed when I took one of their books off the shelf and someone had written “from the Smiths, Happy 1st birthday”. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Board books are great for this age because she can handle them herself without less risk of torn pages. My one-year-olds also liked interactive books where they could turn the flaps or pull the tabs to reveal “surprises”. Some books that I enjoyed reading to my girls include: Pat Them Gently, Good Night Moon, Runaway Bunny, I’ll Love You Forever, Tickle My Toes and Where the Wild Things Are.

Toy Storage

Stick with a toy shelf or toy bins. I like these better than the toy box which has become cluttered with stuff on the top and no one knows what is really in the bottom of it. I bought a shelf with bins not too long ago from Toys-R-Us for less than $50. You can also search online to get the bins in pastel or primary colors to match the room decor.

Seasonal Items

Now I know this might sound weird, but I like to buy rain coat, umbrella, and/or rain boots for the summer birthdays. Keep in mind you want to buy bigger than the size they are currently in and hopefully she will get more than one rainy season out of it. Western Chief makes a whole line of themed rain gear that is affordable and well made (I got mine on

Remember to purchase items for the upcoming season. For a winter/spring birthday I suggest swimwear, a pack of swim diapers, swim vest or floating ring, and sunscreen. I personally have mixed feelings on the swim suits. More conservative one pieces offer entirely more coverage from the sun, but I like the little bikinis because they are cute and easy to change swim diapers in. I recommend you add cover-up if you go the bikini route.

For my fall birthdays I like to check with the parents and see if they need boots or hats and mittens (I live in Michigan; we never have enough mittens). Stick to mittens instead of gloves for any child less than three, and hats for a one-year-old need to tie or Velcro® underneath the chin if you ever want to keep it on. My personal preference in hats is the more brightly colored or crazy pattern it is the easier to spot my child. One of my kids has a hippo hat, another has a highlighter-yellow fuzzy hat and the last has a pink and purple zebra print.

Personalized Photo Gift

One of my girlfriends made a scrapbook for my daughter of her fist year. Unbeknownst to me she used some of her own photos of the outings we went on together and then added a bunch from my own Facebook photos. I was so deeply touched. My niece also received a collage photo frame of photos from her first year which was a big hit. There are multiple photo printing sites online and you can print and pick-up most of the paper collages and posters at the large pharmacy chains with photo services either the same or next-day.

Place settings

I know, it sounds silly, but my kids loved having their own little plate, cup and bowl. I always seemed to be losing the matching silverware. Make it extra special by getting the child’s favorite character or color. If you really want this to be a parent-favorite; find one that is not only dishwasher but microwave safe. Before you spend hours searching for the perfect set, let me share that almost all the kids’ favorite character sets will come in melamine, which is not microwave-safe. If you search for microwavable and BPA-free as your keywords, there may be more out there as the movement for safer materials continues. One of the best I’ve found so far is Philips AVENT BPA-Free dishes for toddlers.

That’s all folks, at least for now. Hopefully you find something for the little princess that will get a lot of use and a big smile from Mom and Dad, too!


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