Reader Steve writes in with a question. I know a lot of you have Amish friends and may have faced this situation:
I LOVE your website — I often find myself poring through it in the hope of finding a new or different slant on things. We recently bought a house in Lancaster County (PA) and have become friendly with the Amish family that lives very close by. I have the greatest respect for the Amish and the choices they have made, and feel honored to have these folks among those I call friends. They just had a baby (their seventh!) and we would like to give them something appropriate. The other kids range in age from 5 to 17, and the new mom and dad certainly have plenty of help with the little one (and the grandparents and unmarried aunt live right next door).
I guess we fall into a category that I have seen described on the website about wanting to make sure we give a culturally appropriate gift. We have given some gifts for the mom in return for some help she has given us, but we have no idea what to get for a baby — and a seventh baby at that! I suspect that these folks would be among the more “modern” Amish typical of Lancaster County — they are NOT farmers, the baby was born in the hospital, they subscribe to the local newspaper, they use power lawn and garden tools, etc. SO I was wondering if you, or any of your readers might be able to provide us for some tips for gifts!
If you didn’t catch it before, I previously did a post on buying gifts for Amish friends, with suggestions for men, women, and children (but not babies).
In that post I covered a few main things to keep in mind – like using common sense and considering the church standards of the family you’re giving a gift to.
Probably the easiest bet in this case, if you have one available, is to visit an Amish-run dry goods or variety store in the community where your Amish friends live.
Items you find in those stores are going to be what Amish in that community use and give each other.
Since the Amish are practical, gifts like baby blankets or simple toys can be a good bet.
Clothing obviously is another matter since the Amish have their own dress code (and since some Amish babies, both boys and girls, wear dresses for the first year or so, making diaper changing easier).
And on that note, diapers are another useful item (some use cloth, others use disposable diapers – if your friends are on the more progressive side then disposable should be good).
Another idea that comes to mind is something commemorating the baby’s birth. For instance, some Amish families hang framed print images with the child’s name and birth date.
And thinking a little outside the box, what about something for the whole family that also makes mom’s job a little easier?
For instance, you could treat them to an order of take-out pizza. The bigger the family, the bigger the cost on this one, but eating off the regular home “menu” is always a treat, and lightens the load for at least one evening.
Any other ideas?