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baby's first christmas

'The ukulele is still in its box': 11 parents on the most impractical gifts they bought for new babies

‘I insisted that the 10-week old wrote a Santa letter.’

WHEN IT COMES to being pregnant, or parenting a newborn, everyone’s just figuring things out as they go. That’s why it can be so helpful to hear how other people are getting through the mess of it all, from the first nappy change to the countless sleepless nights.

Our Newborn and Baby Parents Panel is made up of parents and parents-to-be, all raising little ones aged up to 24 months.


As the parent of a brand new bundle of joy, it’s natural you’d want to spoil them a little. Even if they’re five weeks old and too young to care about (and use) the elaborately crafted wooden rocking horse, or the personalised GAA jersey. 

We asked parents for the gifts they couldn’t help picking up for their new arrival…

A ukulele for a newborn: I had visions of me and my little girl (not yet one) playing music and singing together, so I bought a ukulele. It’s still sitting in its box under the stairs… I may have to give it a few years.

- Valerie Murray

Her very own O’Neill’s football: A mini All-Ireland football is the one thing that my husband has insisted on getting our baby girl for Christmas. She isn’t even crawling but he insists that she’ll be playing with it very soon. To get her ready he even bought her two tennis ball-sized soft O’Neills balls which she can use now… to get practicing on her handling skills! He did want to get one to give her as soon as she was born, but Christmas has been the compromise.

- Kathryn Walsh

And another one: We took a trip to the O’Neills Factory to pick up a ‘My First Gaelic Football’ for our nine month old! My husband was in his element bringing him around the shop and showing him everything. Baby was oblivious so definitely more of a present for Daddy but it was very sweet. Let’s just hope he’s into football now!

- Mairéad McHugh

shutterstock_1568293177 Shutterstock / Aliaksandra Spirydovich Shutterstock / Aliaksandra Spirydovich / Aliaksandra Spirydovich

A Vtech Pet Hotel, which ended up in storage for 2.5 years: For our oldest girl’s first Christmas my partner insisted on getting her the Vtech Pet Hotel. All she could do was to use it to pull herself up to standing because she wasn’t even walking at that stage! In the end I packed it away and it made a great present for her third birthday this year.

- Amy Molyneaux

A tiny armchair, for when he can sit up by himself: The one thing we couldn’t resist for my almost five-month-old was a tiny armchair. He won’t be able to sit properly in it for a long time, but I tell myself the spend was justified as it will be used eventually. Think of all the cute pictures I can get while he sits in it – even if I have to prop him up…

- Laura Ryan

I insisted that the 10 week old wrote a letter to Santa: Her 8 year old cousin took on the task of writing it for her. It was hilarious as he was so serious about it. “I usually say I’ve been good but can we say that about the baby? She cries a lot.” In the end Aoibhe’s first letter to Santa said “I try to be good, so can I please have a baby gym?”

- Aisling Drake

A wardrobe full of Christmas themed baby looks: I have gone a bit overboard on Christmas outfits for our seven month old. I got personalised pyjamas to be worn Christmas Eve, waiting for Santa to come, and then any number of outfits to be worn over the season! My husband will go mad if I buy any more. But she only has her first Christmas once.

- Niamh Roche


An elaborate handmade mobile for his cot: In addition to the Polar Express book I bought that I’ve just realized is way too long and complicated to entertain a five month old, I’ve also purchased an elaborate handmade cot mobile that I’ve no idea if he’ll even notice. It’s more a gift for myself and my husband to make the nursery as special and precious as possible.

- Kristi Paris

A toddler-sized rocking elephant: In October, I bought a rocking horse-style elephant for my baby. It has straps on it, so I convinced myself she’d be ready for it by Christmas. She’ll be five months old on Christmas week, and she’s nowhere near able to sit in it. But she’ll grow into it!

- Claire Kodjo

The full Man U kit: Last year for my baby’s first Christmas we bought him a personalised Manchester United kit and Adidas runners. He was definitely too young to care but he looked so cute in them!

- Julie Ann Walsh

More: 16 products that’ll keep your baby cosy this winter, as recommended by parents>

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