When you get the invitation for a friend’s baby shower, the initial “awww” can all too quickly be replaced by a much less enthusiastic “ughhh” as you realize you now have the daunting task of finding the perfect gift for a human who technically doesn’t exist yet.
Sure, you could just pick something off a registry, but damn if people don’t register for some expensive shit (it’s a good friend indeed who’s like, “Sure, I’ll buy you that $1,000 stroller). Plus, registry shopping can feel like taking the easy way out — no thought or creativity required. You want to celebrate your friend’s soon-to-be bundle of joy (aka tiny poop machine) by getting them something they can use and that you can afford, right?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed sifting through all the gimmicky, ridiculously overpriced or just plain run-of-the-mill baby items out there. Well, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of 18 affordable, gender-neutral, unique baby shower gifts every expectant parent will adore. And we’ll wager none of these innovative ideas made the registry (yet). Without a single Sophie the Giraffe or $200 pair of cashmere baby socks to be found, all of these baby items will be sure to make you feel like the reigning gift-giving queen.
A version of this story was originally published in December 2018.