The arrival of a baby is most often a thrilling event, anticipated by the parents, their families and friends. The mothers’ bellies are rubbed for good luck and dads gather to plan the future of their future Major League baseball star. Everyone is excited and can’t wait to cuddle the newborn.

It is tradition that joyful events are celebrated with laughter, cake and gifts. The coffee brews, the tea kettle whistles and the house is filled with enthusiastic visitors. At the end of the corridor is a table filled with brightly wrapped gifts and, as you eagerly approach that destination, you suddenly start to wonder if your gift is going to be good enough.

Shopping for impressive baby gifts requires consideration and the more you know about the expecting parents the easier your gift selection will be. To prepare yourself, make a list of all the things you know about the parents and their unborn child.

– Is a girl, boy or possibly twins expected?

– What is the furniture style of the baby’s room?

– Is the room lacking any key accessories, such as bedding, a changing table, or a baby monitor? Do they have a car seat, flip top diaper hamper, or travel changing mat?

– Which is the dominant color in the room?

– Have the parents picked a theme for the nursery, such as animals, racecars, Disney characters or sports?

– Is this a first-born? If the parents have other children, they may already have a bouncer, a play gym, educational toys and a colorful mobile.

– Is the family religious? In this case, certain gifts may be more appreciated than others.

If you are a dear friend, your many questions will be answered with ease, but if you are not, you may need to investigate. Do not hesitate to talk to co-workers, or call a close relative of the expecting couple. You will be surprised how eager everyone will be to share information and before you know it, you will have all the data you need to make an informed gift decision.

Now that you are familiar with the expecting parents you will have to examine your own expectations. Do you want your gift to be practical, fun or lasting?

Practical – Depending on the your budget, and the financial situation of the parents, you could consider buying diapers, clothes, bath products, a stroller, a high chair, safety locks or child safety gates.

Fun – Babies need to be stimulated, which can be achieved through baby and toddler books, musical or moving play things, or any other object that will keep the baby occupied for a while. Just make sure your gift is age appropriate and meets all safety standards.

Lasting – A nice outfit, a swing or a Baby Einstein CD are appreciated presents, but if you think about it, they will only be used for a short period of time. Fortunately there are gifts that can last for many years, even a lifetime. Included in this list are, starting a savings account or college fund, a picture album of the baby’s relatives, and personalized gifts. Many adults still have a name-engraved silver baby spoon, or their bronzed first pair of shoes.

You see, impressing new parents with an extraordinary gift is easier than you think. Just remember, despite your intense research, you may still buy the wrong high chair or bouncer seat. For that reason, always include a return receipt!

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