What’s a good gift for an Amish baby?
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.
Or in a similar vein – even something like a mug or plate with the baby’s name and date of birth. Amish people tend to be big on these items which mark important dates like births and wedding days.
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?
Amish Baby Gift
I gave an Amish baby a very fancy pink gown with matching panties, blanket, silver rattle,hat and booties.
The family was thrilled and I received a very nice thank you note in time.
Neat, thanks for sharing Carolyn!
Since the Amish in the community where I grew up, shop at Walmart, I have given Walmart gift cards so they can buy what they need and they are always appreciative. For example, I once gave a $50 Walmart gift card and in their thank you note, they told me they put it toward a baby stroller.
A home made dinner like a big lasagna or roast chicken enough for the entire family is always appreciated. Thick baby towels are a treat in Amish homes. I have also purchased small gifts for the other children celebrating their new sibling (markers, crayons, etc.) which was also welcomed.
Great ideas, thanks Judith!
kid’s Tupperware, battery operated nightlight, hooded towels, baby soap
Amish baby gift
A set of the LITTLE HOUSE books.
Great question!! We bought all the makings for ice cream sundaes for everyone (but make sure they’re home or they may not have a place to keep the ice cream cold), pizza gift certificates (gotten in town at local places), bubbles, colored pencils, and paper for the older ones, and diapers for the baby. It’s so hard to know what to do so I asked my Amish friend when we brought the gifts. She said diapers are always good because they used cloth and disposable when they go out. I think a meal is always good for a break when there’s a new baby. Oh, and Wal-Mart gift cards – the Amish near us love Wal-Mart!
Some nice ideas, Beth.
Amish Baby Gift
Just last month I had to buy a baby gift for an Amish friend from PA (they live in Narvon). It was their first baby and after searching many hours on the internet, I ended up going with a very large pack of diapers (plain white ones). I figured that even if she has too many, I’m pretty positive there will be another baby on the way soon enough and she could use them for the next baby. She had mentioned that they do use disposable diapers when they go out. I am in Connecticut, so it was easy to use Amazon to buy and ship the diapers. I also thought that a Walmart gift card would be good. I normally wouldn’t give a such an impersonal gift, but I truly believe that the Amish would appreciate a gift like that (gift card).
Wal-Mart gift cards for Amish
Gift card sounds very practical. And only slightly less useful than cash. You can’t really go wrong with Wal-Mart, quite a popular store with Amish – as long as they have one within reasonable distance (and given how prevalent Wal-Mart is – close to 5,000 US locations – that’s a pretty safe bet). The only thing that comes to mind is that the plainest Amish (thinking about Swartzentruber) do not generally hire vehicles for things like shopping trips so helps if there is one within buggying distance.
I was spending the day with my amish friend and her daughter and daughter-in-law. Both were new mothers. We went to the outlets in Lancaster County. Both the daughter and d-i-l were buying blankets as baby gifts for someone else. When we left that store they pulled the blankets out to show us. No pretty pink or blue or yellow. Both had chosen a blanket of gray and white. I felt like that was due to them being OOA whereas I would have gotten something more colorful, not thinking. They themselves wear some pretty colorful dresses, all of them except my friend who tends to wear mostly dark dresses.
If you want to get something for the other kids some appropriate stickers would be nice. I asked one time what I could buy for her youngest who was turning five years old and she said stickers.
One can never go wrong with the gift of cloth diapers. I used them myself and they are also great for baths, burping babies, wiping faces. Nice post.
Interesting idea, my only thought was I’d hope the diaper cloths used for traditional purposes would be a different batch than those used for wiping faces, etc 🙂
Plain and Simple Baby Gifts
We’ve given our Amish friends a box of disposable diapers, pacifiers, rattles, baby spoons, bibs etc. Just common must-have items for a newborn. Even lotions and baby soaps and shampoos are in order. Nothing too fancy!
Sounds very practical.
I got our Amish friends kids a bubble machine…something I knew they would all like, all ages. They have 8 now…I jokingly told the mother she may be running out of names. She said she hasn’t used “Sue” yet..my wife’s name. We will see how that works out
Kids of all cultures seem to love bubble machines. I see bubble makers in action in the summer in the tourist area near where I live, with kids running around like crazy. Still some wonder to be found in something as simple as a little water, soap and air.
Hoping your wife gets the honor!