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Earth Friendly Gifts for a Baby Shower

 
pollinator
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Hello there permies,

My partner & I have something to share with you all. While we were recently expecting our first newborn, many of our friends & family were graciously wanting to shower us with gifts & they were asking us for our “baby registry”. I had no idea such a thing existed until a few months ago. Initially, while my heart was very much warmed by the sentiment of our friends & family wanting to support us on our new journey into parenthood, I was terrified of receiving “gifts” from some of my friends & family as I knew that they were not only not aware of the regenerative, permacultural maker, zero-waste paradigm, but that they were not even close to being on board with even the “green / eco-conscious” low-waste paradigm that preceded the current regenerative movement. What kind of “gifts” were we about to receive from these sincerely well-intentioned folks we wondered?

A side note: my partner & I do our best the create as much as we can within the maker culture of the regenerative permaculture movement. When we do consume, we do our best first check the second hand market (Craigslist, thrift stores, etc) first then - if we must - to purchase from small(-er), local, free-from-toxins (or toxin-reducing) producers. While some of our friends also try their best on this front, most of our family & friends are still very much into purchasing within big business consumer culture, oftentimes purchasing non-compostable products laced with toxins that we do our best to avoid. Most of them have not yet joined the regenerative maker culture to the extent that many of us in the permaculture movement would probably like to see. In short, ever since we got into permaculture we have been trying to balance our own production & consumption patterns while swimming up a cultural stream that – as we see it – is much more heavily weighted towards consumption than production. Now, back to our story...

While we were filled with joy about the idea of receiving baby gifts, we were terrified of receiving products produced by toxic, extractive, throw-away big industry ... terrified that many of our friends & family were about to additionally finance said toxic, extractive industry even more with their “gifts” to us because we were having a child … terrified of being paralyzed by the decision to either keep said “gifts”, donate them, or bin them – all sub-optimal choices in our minds.

Luckily, the baby registry idea actually gave us an out! With the registry, we ended up getting to choose which producers we wanted to support & what products we wanted to be made & enter our household. Granted, a couple of our friends did end up making us lovely permaculture gifts. We also received many hand-me-downs from friends and family that we joyfully accepted. THANK YOU! Most of the products on our registry emerged from the “sustainable / low-waste” paradigm – we were pretty happy with our decision to at least mitigate a great majority of the potential toxicity & potential funding of additional toxicity by choosing a registry of “green & green(-er)” products.

As my partner and I spent many hours researching these products in order to support small(-er) businesses & less-toxic industries, we figured it would be a shame to keep our heavily-researched baby registry list to ourselves. So we’ve decided to share our heavily-researched list here on permies, hoping that if you have a little one on the way and are planning a baby shower &/or a baby registry or if you're about to purchase something for someone who does have a baby on the way, that this list can be useful to you too.
Also, we have attempted to only include eco-conscious items that have many positive reviews.

If there are things you’d like to add to this list, we invite you to please post them in this thread!

Note: We are not receiving any kickbacks whatsoever from any of these producers. We simply want to share what we’ve found in our own research to help others who are in the same boat as us.
That said, if you know of any dubious greenwashing from any of these products &/or producers please mention them in this thread as a warning and hopefully as positive pressure on producers to improve their practices.

We ended up choosing to use BabyList.com to host our registry because they allow one to select which online shops that people purchase from, so as to avoid as many folks purchasing from Amazon.com as possible. There are likely other great registry hosts out there that offer this same service. This is just the one we chose.

Without further ado, here is a list of eco-conscious baby registry items that either ended up on our registry or we purchased ourselves.

BASSINETS: Note, as of this thread creation, our newborn is still co-sleeping with us.

organic crib mattress and wood cradle
Ultimate Green Baby Organic Cradle & Bassinet Mattress.

BEDDING:

Holy Lamb Organics.

BIB BANDANAS:

Baby Bandana Drool Bibs Scarves Unisex 8 Pack Gift Set for Teething and Drooling, 100% Organic Cotton, Soft and Absorbent for Boys Girls by YOOFOSS.

BLANKETS FOR BABIES:

Organic Flannel Receiving Blanket -- Field Day by ecomum.

Organic Sea Turtle Custom Double Gauze Bamboo Muslin Swaddle, Newborn Receiving Blanket, Nursing Cover Up by CocaandB.

BOTTLES | GLASS BOTTLES: Note, as of the creation of this thread, my partner is still breastfeeding 100% of the time. That said, she will need to go back to work after her maternity leave ends, so we will use bottle... provided baby's okay with that. In the mean time my job is to burp baby after every feeding.

Hevea Glass Bottles - 2 pack.

Hevea Baby Glass Bottles (2 Pack).

2 in 1 baby glass bottle with star ball (120ml).

Natursutten BPA Free Glass Baby Bottles – 4 Ounce Set of 2.

glass baby bottle in woven holder
Baby Quoddle Plastic-Free Glass Baby Bottle.

BOTTLES MADE OF STAINLESS STEEL (& INSULATED):

stainless steel insulated baby bottle
Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Baby Bottle (available in standard or insulated).

And what's cool about this model bottle is that it can become a sippy cup when baby gets older!
Pura Kiki XL Sipper Spouts

BOTTLE NIPPLES | NATURAL RUBBER NIPPLES:

natural rubber nipple and glass baby bottle
Slow Flow/Medium Flow 100% Natural Rubber – Anti-colic, 2 pack. Softer than silicone, these nipples are made of natural rubber tapped from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree.

BURP CLOTHS:

eJoyce Baby Girls and Boys Organic Baby Burp Absorbent Cloths Set of 5, EJ-2002 by JoyceTrimming.

Kinderglück Organic Baby Burp Cloths Set by LunaberryDreams.

Organic Baby Burp Cloths by KeaBabies.

CAR SEATS: My partner & I did waaay too much research on flame retardant-free car seats... too much especially in these times of reduced vehicle travel. There were several times she was literally driven to tears having to spend so much time emailing back & forth with various manufacturers & getting greenwashed marketing spin instead of honest, transparent information. To her it felt like a waste of time that such a heavy burden had to be placed on us - the consumers - to find out what was going into these products. Good news is we finally narrowed it down to 3 models:

UPPAbaby Mesa car seat. Note: only the “Henry” & “Jordan” fabrics are flame retardant-free UPPAbaby Mesa car seats!

Nuna Pipa car seat.

Clek brand car seats also claim to have flame retardant-free models.

CARRIER FOR BABY:

Storm Nalakai Eco-Friendly Baby Goods.

CLEANING:

BunchaFarmers All Natural 100% Biodegradable Environmentally Friendly Stain Remover Stick.

CLOTHES FOR BABIES:

Babysoy Organic Cotton Solid Socks - Dragonfly, 0-6 Months.

Burt’s bees baby organic clothes & products.

Because we’re really into mycology:
organic cotton sleep and play pajamas with mushroom designs
Owlivia Organic Cotton Baby Zip Front Sleep ‘ N Play Footed Sleeper Long Sleeve Mushroom.

DIAPERS FOR BABIES: One of the best gifts we received was that of a cloth diaper service for the first few months of the baby’s life. We opted for their cheaper pre-fold cloth diapers & are loving them thus far!

DIAPER UPDATE | 5 WEEKS IN TO CLOTH DIAPERING: Our cloth diaper laundering service gift was enough for the first couple of months. SO GRATEFUL FOR THESE COUPLE OF MONTHS OF THIS SERVICE! Since we knew this, & since we can't afford to continue with the service - despite loving it - & since we are certainly going to continue with the cloth diapering route on our own, we decided to try out some of the different cloth diapering systems out there. Holy moly there are so many different types of cloth diapers! After a crazy amount of deep research, my partner decided to try the "All-In-Two Cloth Diapers". After some initial testing, she likes them. She likes the fact that after washing, when folding laundry, you simply snap in the washable inserts into the re-usable diaper covers. In most cases, be they wet diapers or smaller poo diapers, these washable inserts do the job. Also, if only the washable insert is soiled it can simply be unsnapped & put in the smell-proof diaper pale, then the diaper cover can be reused with another clean snap-in washable insert. This avoids having to overly-wash the diaper covers and wear out parts like the elastic leg gussets that help protect the baby's surroundings from poo "blow-outs". It also means that one is only dealing with a couple of buttons, meaning it is much quicker to get on baby. This is especially important in the middle of the night when folding "pre-"fold diapers on a squirming kid while half-asleep is not the easiest task on the homestead! The insert buttons ensure that the insert does not move around in the diaper.

As for me, I personally don't mind folding the pre-folds. I have seen them empirically work to catch 98-100% of the poo during a big blow out. The inserts, on the other hand, are much thinner & cover much less of the buttocks than the pre-folds, so they cannot handle big blow outs. Plus, the pre-folds cost literally four times less than the All-In-Two inserts. All that said, I personally prefer the pre-folds and I change 3 out of every 4 diapers. By the way, that's an agreed upon arrangement as breast-feeding takes much longer than diaper changes. It's only fair that I change more diapers.
We ordered the OsoCosy unbleached organic prefold cloth diapers and are very happy so far with the product. The OsoCosy are softer than the prefolds our diaper laundering service provided.

So, we have decided to compromise on cloth diapering types. When we end our diaper laundering service, we will order 25% All-In-Two's for use when my partner changes night-time diapers, or when we are out of the house & need a quick solution. The other 75% will be the unbleached organic pre-folds which I will mostly be putting on our baby. Both All-In-Two and "regular" diaper covers work over pre-folds. Since the diaper covers hardly ever seem to get soiled it appears we only need about 7-ish covers to get us to laundry day.

That said, we have yet to try out will no longer be trying out any of the following cloth diapers but this is what we came up with from our research before we were gifted the cloth diaper laundering service, before we did too much research on different cloth diaper styles, & before we had any experience; buyer beware...

DIAPERS MADE OF CLOTH FOR BABIES:

Momgaroo 24 Organic Cloth Diapers One Size fits from newborn to toddler by Momgaroo.

Momgaroo 3 pack Organic Cloth Diapers Pocket One Size fits from newborn to 3 yrs old by Momgaroo.

Reborn Doll Collectors Organic Side Snap All in One Cloth Diaper You Choose Solid Colors AIO by PunkinSeedsCo.

ORGANIC Cotton Newborn Cloth Diaper with umbilical cord snap. by LoveusSewMuch.

Set of 2x 100% Organic Terry Baby Diapers - Washable, Reusable and Eco-Friendly by HandMadeOrganic.

Newborn AI2 Cloth Diaper Organic Cotton Ladybugs Made to Order All in Two PUL by PunkinSeedsCo.

Organic Side Snap All in One Cloth Diaper Later Gator AIO PUL Sized Made to Order by PunkinSeedsCo.

Organic Side Snap All in One Cloth Diaper Camo Moose AIO PUL Sized Made to Order by PunkinSeedsCo.

Floral Mauve Stripe Hybrid Fitted Cloth Diapers Organic Zorb Bamboo One Size fits 8-40lbs FDR Fold Down Rise Handmade by GreenGenesCloth.

Organic Bamboo One Size All in One Cloth Diaper Bramble Rose Fox 8-40 lbs. by PunkinSeedsCo.

DIAPER INSERTS FOR BABIES:

MamaBear Organic Bamboo Charcoal Fleece Reusable Cloth Wipes - Set of 10 by MamaBearBabyWear.

50 pack GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Cloth Wipes Little Wipes 8x8 1-Ply.....Your Choice of Edging Color by GinasSoftClothShop.

6 Organic bamboo cotton fleece cloth diaper inserts, super soft, super absorbent by BumBootyBumBum.

12 x 4 Hemp Organic Cotton Cloth Diaper Liners Fleece Doublers Soakers Inserts 2-ply **Flat Shipping Rate for Any Set Size by HandcraftedGoodies.

10 PACK Bamboo Charcoal Insert, Bamboo Charcoal, Bamboo, Cloth Diaper Insert, Bamboo Organic Insert, Cloth Nappy Insert, 10 Pack Inserts by UrbanBabyBoutiqueInc.

12 Organic hemp fleece wipes - cloth diapers - organic cotton washcloths: Rainbow by curlymonkey.

Set of 3 organic bamboo insert for cloth diapers, organic bamboo soaker for cloth diapers, thirsty bamboo inserts, organic soakers, boosters by Erynskidsworld.

DIAPERS | "BIODEGRADABLE" DIAPERS: We also did some deep research on "compostable / biodegradable" diapers. The blog post Safe Disposable Diaper Guide by Maia James was the best resource we found on this subject. We haven't tried any of these out yet as we are cloth diapering for the time being.

DIAPERS | WIPES FOR BABY BOTTOM: We haven't bought anything like these wipes yet. Instead, we took some old bed sheets - the same ones my partner gave birth on actually - & cut them up into rectangular baby wipes using fabric scissors. We then made our own baby wipe solution & I'm happy to report that this strategy is working amazingly well.

Cloth wipes - Organic Cotton Flannel - Set of 12 - Perfect for Baby or Family by WeeEssentials.

Washable Organic Bamboo Wipes and Bag by JackandFred.

Flannel Baby Wipes Organic - Diaper Wipes - Washable Cloth Wipes - Gifts For Babies - Cloth Baby Wipes - Family Wipes by BeastiesBabies.

Organic Cotton and Bamboo Velour OBV Little Wipes 8x8 1-Ply for Baby, Wash Cloth by GinasSoftClothShop.

DIAPERS | WIPE SOLUTION FOR BABY BOTTOM:

We ended up following this TheDIYMommy.com blog post in order to make our own baby bottom wipe solution and we love it!

DIAPER BALM:

Earth Mama Organic Diaper Balm.

LOUNGER: For me, this has been the most useful thing for our newborn thus far. Very easy for them to relax in & be easily transported around.

organic cotton infant lounger
Suggle Me Organic Infant Lounger.

MATTRESSES FOR BABIES:

Naturepedic certified organic baby crib mattresses.

NIPPLE CARE:

Nipple cream by Mother Love. Another source: Nipple cream by Mother Love at Radiant Belly.

NURSING PADS: My partner says she absolutely loves these. We wash them in our sink for re-use.

Organic Washable Breast Pads Reusable Nursing Pads for Breastfeeding with Carry Bag.

PACIFIERS:

Colour Pop Silicone & Wood Pacifier Clip - Golden Glow.

PERINEAL ICE & HEAT PACKS:

Gentlepack Reusable Perineal Ice & Heat Packs with Washable Sleeves for Postpartum & Pregnancy.

TOWELS:

Organic Bamboo Hooded Bath Towel for Infants and Toddlers 600GSM | Soft, Absorbent, Hypoallergenic | 35in x 35 in.

100% Organic Cotton Terry Baby Hooded Bath Towel & Washcloth Set, Receiving / Swaddling Blanket, Double Layer, Hypoallergenic, Super Soft.

Organic Bamboo Terry Hooded Baby Towel, Medium Large size 30x30" (76x76cm) Swaddling Bath Wrap, Your choice of thread color.

Organic Cotton Hooded Towel for Babies and Toddlers by natemia.

WEBSITES | BIBLOGRAPHY | RESOURCES:
     
Clean Collective, The “Australia’s strictest toxin-free shop & savviest source of zero-waste solutions. natural, organic, eco-friendly products & information without the greenwashing. enjoy eco & healthy living with us. We've done the research and engaged the experts to ensure our ingredients and materials policy is the strictest in Australia so you can feel good about your shopping. We give you a chance to remove six pieces of plastic from the ocean with every purchase to help make real, tangible change.
We bring together the information and solutions to create a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle. Our eco and healthy living blog is here to support you in creating healthier and kinder habits that will benefit your health and the planet, while our retail store is here to provide you with the solutions to the issues discussed in our blog. We’re a shop with a difference, a community with a mission, a vote for a better future.
Our natural skincare range boasts castile soap, natural soap, natural deodorant, natural toothpaste, natural insect repellent, natural sunscreen, charcoal teeth whitening, natural face masks and more.  We even stock ingredients and essential oils for those looking to make DIY skincare products.
Explore our baby range and you’ll find baby nappies (including cloth nappies, nappy covers and swim nappies), baby care products and organic baby products ranging from baby sunscreen to glass baby bottles. We’ve got everything you might need for your bub or an upcoming baby shower gift right here.
We stock all the ingredients you could need to make homemade cleaning products as well as pre-made natural cleaning products for your kitchen, bathroom, laundry and beyond. Be sure to check out the eco-friendly sponges, soapberries and dryer balls if you’re looking for extra eco ninja credits!
If it’s zero waste tools you’re after, navigate over to our war on waste collection. Here, you’ll find beeswax wraps, water bottles, coffee cups, reusable shopping bags and reusable grocery bags, reusable nappies, straws and so much more.
Whether you’re browsing our blog or shopping for solutions, you’re part of a global driving force for a better future. Thank you for being here.”

EcoBambino “Located in beautiful Downtown, San Luis Obispo, EcoBambino’s brick-colored storefront stands out on historic Monterey Street. The 2,500 square-foot space with its squeaky hardwood floor, is filled with natural and eco-friendly products for children.
At EcoBambino, we strive to enrich children’s lives with products that support healthy growth, and inspire thinking, learning, and creativity. We believe in creating a healthy environment for children, while also working to preserve our planet.
The products we carry in our store have been carefully selected using a list of criteria. We examine brands from many angles in hopes of selecting a well-rounded assortment of products to fit into a range of product categories such as Baby Gear, Feeding Supplies, Clothing, Bedding, Toys, Diapering, Furniture, and more. To give you an idea of what we mean, here are some possible questions we ask about a product and its manufacturer before bringing it into our store.
Product: Is it made from natural and renewable materials? Where is it made? Is it free from known harmful chemicals and exceed safety standards? Is it innovative and educational? Does it have longevity (grow with the family?) Is it made in an environmentally safe and responsible way?
Manufacturer: What certifications do they have? How socially responsible are they? Do they work to preserve our planet through financial contribution or other sustainable practices? Do they give back to community organizations?
We care about the products filling our shelves, but we also care deeply about the families who visit our store. We value our customers and want to give them a positive, memorable shopping experience, whether through our website or in person.”

Eco Girl Shop “Eco Girl Shop is a female-owned low-waste company specializing in carefully selected earth-conscious products. Whether you are looking for something plastic-free, packaging-free, cruelty-free, or organic, you’re sure to find something special. We believe that simple, conscious living helps to create a happy life and an awesome future for everyone. Thank you for choosing to be more eco-friendly!”
     
Gimme The Good Stuff “Gimme the Good Stuff helps busy, conscientious parents easily avoid toxic products in their homes through our in-home consulting service, personalized shopping guides, and online store. We simplify the process of navigating the confusing world of “natural” products, and our readers, customers, and clients enjoy peace of mind and confidence that their home is a safe, healthy place for their families.”

Safe Baby Healthy Child “Our renowned group of holistic health experts, chosen for their pediatric experience, knowledge and integrity, offer in-depth insights and trusted solutions to parents and parents-to-be who are committed to helping their child thrive in mind, body, spirit and soul. “There are solutions that all parents can apply to correct, enhance and protect their child’s health, starting with pre-conception preparation and throughout childhood. The stunning increase in primary childhood disorders during recent years must galvanize all parents into action.” -Safe Baby Healthy Child’s Dr. Murray Clarke.

Tot, The “The Tot makes it simple to discover safe, quality products for families at every life stage. We create the best content and hand-pick products that pass our high safety standards and are designed to last. We will always be transparent in where our products are sourced and the materials that are used. We don’t compromise and neither should you. Introducing The Tot Test: Not all products are made equal. Materials and chemical ingredients are mostly untested, largely unregulated and labels can be misleading. Companies continue to mass produce using harmful materials that are cheaper to source and more readily available. These carry a toxic burden that will wreak havoc on our bodies. Children are particularly susceptible. This is why we created The Tot Test.”

And thanks to our permie friend who made us this baby blanket!


PS- We left out any links to Amazon.com for the following reasons.
 
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Posts like this make this forum great.  Thanks for taking the time.
 
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You are already amazing parents.  Great job, and thanks for sharing.
 
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Amazing list!

I love how you have something on there for everyone's gift-giving style. I know when I go to baby showers, there's a lot of people (myself included!) that really enjoy giving certain things. Some people REALLY LOVE giving cute baby clothes, so even if I really didn't want/need new baby clothes (thrift store and hand-me-downs was good enough for me!), I put things on the list to make it fun for those people to buy baby clothes.

I also love giving baby toys, and figured other people might as well, so I added a bunch of wooden/cotton/wool toys to my list. Here's some of the wooden/natural toys I found. It's hard to find good ones--because even wood toys can be coated with paints or lacquers you don't want them chewing on.

wooden rattle

wooden teething rattle

Teething rings (handy to put on linen or leather cord as a teething necklace)

wooden non-toxic teething rings

These stacking rings are STILL a huge hit with my kids (who are now 4 and 7). I like the beautiful colors and the rainbow order

naturally colored wood stacking rings

The same company (Wonderworld) also makes the little shape puzzle box:

natural wood rainbow shape sorter

and also a rainbow rattle

natural wood rainbow rattle

This wooden peek-a-boo was a lot of fun for both my kids and my nieces:

wooden peek-a-boo ball

Another company we've bought wooden toys from is Plan Toys. They have blocks, wooden play food and play kitchen items, doll houses, and a lot more. This little rainbow car was one of the things we'd gotten for our son:

wooden non-toxic natural rainbow car

Some other places to look for natural baby toys:

Nova Naturals, which offers wooden toys as well as organic cotton toys, like this froggy blanket toy

organic cotton froggie blanket stuffed animal

(their store has lots of natural art and craft supplies, clothing, and a lot more, too)

Haba Toys, Melissa and Doug, as well as Hape Toys, all make wooden toys, but I'm not so sure about their finishes and stains/paints. It's been a while since I looked into such things! I feel good about buying them for my older kids, but some might want to do more research before getting them for babies who stick things in their mouths, or just because you want to make sure you're avoiding toxic gunk. The advantage to these companies (as well as Plan Toys) is that they are on amazon, and for some families it's easier to do an amazon baby registry.  (I.e. some families are a bit lower on the eco scale and really want registries through one store, like Target or Amazon. I think buying from small companies is so much better when possible!)

Another option is teething necklaces, made for the parent to wear. You can get them in all wooden beads, cotton-covered beads, &/or silicone beads. These were three I made for my kids and my nieces (I ordered the supplies from USA Silicone Bead Supply):

silicone and wooden teething necklaces
there's lots of teething necklaces to be found on etsy, amazon, and elsewhere
 
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This is such a great post Mike! Thank you for taking the time to do all of this research and sharing this compilation of ecofriendly baby gifts and supplies.

This could not have come at a better time either. I just had several friends each welcome a new tiny human into the world. I was happy to see this thread pop up in my dailyish email, thanks Nicole.

Now to send this thread to several groups of friends in hopes of spreading the infection.
 
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Thank you so much for this! My husband and I are planning to open the option for babies very soon, but I've been consistently worried at the thought of well-meaning yet unwanted gifts.

We're planning on naming ceremonies rather than baby showers (I recently learned you're only supposed to have one of those, not one per kid), and though we want to make an emphasis that it's not about gifts, this list, I'm sure, will come wonderfully in handy, especially the car seats!!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Nichole Rock wrote:
We're planning on naming ceremonies rather than baby showers (I recently learned you're only supposed to have one of those, not one per kid),



Only one baby shower ever?? I think I had three for my first (one at a family reunion with my extended family, one with close friends that live near us, and one at work). With my second, we just had one baby shower with family+friends+old coworkers.

If people want to throw a baby shower, I think they totally can. And as many people as want to throw a party for the baby can! I think maybe the thing people are more finicky about is that you don't throw the shower yourself. You have sister or best friend or mom or coworker throw the party.

But, maybe this varies by region? In the pacific northwest, we're pretty laid back about social conventions. Maybe some places are more formal than here?
 
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Nichole Rock wrote:I recently learned you're only supposed to have one of those, not one per kid


Just curious, why only one?  I had one for each, and multiple for the first one.  Best present? Homemade crocheted blankets specific to the child.  The (now-grown) kids still have them.
 
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Wow, this list is an excellent resource! Thank you for sharing it!
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