Are you going to present a baby shower soon? Or have you recently been invited to one and you are not sure what to do? If so, you will be expected to give a gift to the baby to help welcome him or her into the world. That is fine, but a lot of people, particularly single men, ask themselves what it is precisely that a baby so desperately needs.

If you fall into that category or if you want to take a scatter-gun approach to giving a gift in the hope that something will be of use, then you could think about getting the baby a baby gift basket. You see, a baby gift basket contains a great deal of small objects or big items or a mixture of the two. Whatever you can come up with or afford really.

There are two ways of procuring a baby gift basket. You can either purchase one ready-made or you can buy a basket and pick-and-mix the contents yourself. So, let us suppose that you are going to avoid duplication and fill your own basket.

First the basket. A traditional wicker basket like the ones they show on toffee tins, in which a maid is carrying eggs is pretty, but also pretty costly. You could get a plastic version, but maybe the box that the gifts are in is not as important as the gifts themselves. You could make your own by lining and wrapping a suitably-sized box and finishing it with a bow.

The contents. What do babies require? Or are you going to put some things in there for the parents too? If you are going to add a few items for the parents too, I will leave that up to you as you know them better than I do, I should imagine.

What can you get for the baby then? Something instructive is a must; something to occupy the baby's attention, maybe like a mobile or a decorative abacus to string across the pram. How about music? Brahm's Lullaby is fantastic, with or without voices, in German or in English, but get it sung by a choir or a solo, but professionally-trained singer - not Lady Gaga.

Whilst choosing music remember that by the time the baby can understand the words, the CD will have been lost, scratched or worn out. Go for peaceful music, classical is best in this instance.

Other items that always come in useful are bibs, teething rings, special beakers and a small plate or dish. I do not think it is a good thing to do to get shampoos and soaps, it is better to let mum purchase them or you might be blamed for allergic reactions and dandruff. However, talcum powder is a fairly safe bet, but do not purchase anything strongly perfumed.

Personalized bedding is a good notion. If you buy a cot blanket, try to get one the same size as the cot for safety reasons. A lovely touch is to have the baby's monogram or initials embroidered on it. That does not work well for clothing, because kids grow out of them, but it is great for quilts and pillow cases.

Purchase the bedding and ask (or pay) someone to do the embroidery for you. The child will grow out of the cot, but the blanket can then be used as a comforter. Embroidered pillow cases have a similarly long life.

Some individuals give sweets and biscuits, but personally I am not in favour of helping someone to rot their teeth, encouraging a sweet tooth or overweight babies. A decent bottle of wine though is another matter, but you will need to take advice on whether it will be at its peak in twenty years time. Good Port is a safe bet. Spirits do not mature in a bottle.

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Owen Jones, the author of that article, writes on a number of topics, but is now involved with the satin baby blankets. If you want to know more, please visit our website at Woollen Blankets.
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