When a baby comes along – it’s a wonderful thing, especially for those family and friends you love. Their happiness is intoxicating, and for many of us, buying a baby gift is how we celebrate the new arrival.
The hard questions
So, what to get? What baby gift is both useful and lovely? What child gift won’t end up as landfill? What child gift won’t they grow out of or what baby or child gift won’t they already have? And finally, what baby or child gift will both the parents love as much as the baby or child?
Now, of course I am biased because I run a business that creates investment gift cards for Baby and Child Gifts – but I am not alone in asking the above questions which were instrumental in why we started iTrust.
Teddy bears…so much more than meets the eye
Take the adorable teddy bear. It’s a safe option, every child needs at least one and you can’t go wrong on the cuteness stakes. But, if your bear isn’t the can’t live without (read sleep, feed, travel, play) favourite teddy bear then your bear is relegated to a toy box. In it goes, alongside all the other bears and soft toys that only come up for air when the toy box is turned upside down by a parent trying to encourage their child to play on their own so they can have 5 minutes to get the jobs done! (I watch my sister do it with her kids all the time…it’s hit and miss on its effectiveness to distract my niece.)
Sure that in addition to the chosen one, my nieces have a few fluffy friends that get to join in dinner time and watch Peppa Pig, but they are also chewed by the dogs and drowned in dribbles of yogurt and lord knows what else. Again it’s cute for a while, until you start to wonder, what bacteria is that bear harbouring!
Roll forward 20 years, the kids have moved on, it’s no longer cool to take teddy everywhere. What to do? It’s taken up space for so long, it feels disrespectful to throw it out – think of all the natural resources it took to make the bear in the first place and now we are going to put it in the bin, out of sight, out of mind decomposing in a giant landfill facility, somewhere that isn’t in my backyard.
The savy stock-picker
So with a teddy off the list and thinking about the future, what about buying shares for a baby or child? Great idea in principle, but there are some significant drawbacks in the initial required investment, management (have you ever tried to transfer a share from one name to another…#brainexplosion) and then lordy lord – what to buy? What will still be around in 20 years and doing well? The once blue chip AMP is a good example of why that is difficult.
Supporting every parents dream that their child is a genius
OK, so appreciating my skill isn’t picking winning stocks on a 20 year time horizon, I come back to now, and what about a toy that will help them become a stock picker in the future? Buying a plastic toy as a gift with a implied educational value demonstrates your interest in the child’s future, but the actual value may be lower than you think and environmental cost a lot higher. Plastic is essentially processed oil, which is what really ramps up the carbon footprint of a child’s birthday party. And to make matters worse, these gifts are relatively age appropriate and will add to growing mounds of landfill or plastics flooding our oceans in the not too distant future. Products like this do become worthwhile if your goal is to drive the parents nuts with unwanted clutter in their already overflowing houses – just ask my sister who is having additional cupboards built to store all the *rap that has taken over her living room. Baby Girl Gifts
The trusted bank account
Sticking money in a bank account is an old tried and tested gift for babies and children, but we would advise you go with the share option over this low return product. The banks know people like this as an idea, and they have capitalised by making child specific products; which have won the Shonkys Financial Product awards from Choice Magazine, dont just take our word for it! An example of how bad some of these products are, is that one bank makes monthly deposits compulsory to receive a slightly higher than normal interest rate, but if you miss one deposit in a 16 year period, you lose all benefits!