It’s undeniable that the holidays become infinitely more fun when there’s a baby or small child in your life to buy gifts for. In many ways, you get to relive your childhood all over again, and watch as their faces light up when they open their presents.
But the world of children’s toys, clothing and accessories has become fraught with potential psychological implications in recent years. Parents have become more concerned about the impact certain toys or clothing choices will have on their child’s development later in life, and some child psychologists have taken to providing an in-depth analysis of toys on the market based on the messages they convey about learning, problem solving and gender identity. If you share these concerns and want to provide gender-neutral gifts for the littles ones if your life, we’ve put together some options.
Cultural Attitudes on Gender Identity Continue to Change
The dynamic between young children and gender identity has shifted dramatically throughout history. In Victorian times and earlier, children were generally viewed as a gender-neutral class of humans that weren’t yet old enough to identify as overtly female or male.
It wasn’t until around the turn of the twentieth century when Sigmund Freud published his work “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” that the cultural attitude towards children and babies began to shift. People began to impose a specific gender identity on their newborn infants by buying them gender-specific clothing — think pink for girls and blue for boys.
Today, gender dynamics have become increasingly fluid and complex in society. The pendulum is shifting once again, as people begin to reject the notion of assigning babies a gender identity from birth.
People Are Looking for Gender-Neutral Gift Options
Parents and caregivers are looking for gender-neutral options for clothing, toys and other baby items to ensure their child doesn’t feel boxed into a certain identity from a young age (and likely also because gender neutral options often come in chic, earthy tones, which have come back into vogue recently).
Ultimately, the idea behind gender-neutral parenting or just opting for clothing and toys that aren’t overly feminine or masculine can help children focus on developing positive character traits for any human — regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth.
If you or a parent in your life is on board with this idea, here are five gender-neutral holiday gifts that any young one will love:
1. Sophie La Girafe Teething Toy
Derived from natural rubber and food paint, this chic giraffe teething toy made in France has been like crack for babies since 1961. The toy is safe for babies ages 0 and up, and with its neutral design, it’s not specifically geared towards girls or boys.
2. Baby Dream Machine 5-In-1 Children’s Sleep Device
When searching for the perfect gender-neutral baby gifts, anything animal-themed is always a safe bet because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love animals? Shaped like a cute and cuddly bear, the award-winning baby dream machine is not only an adorable accessory for any baby’s nursey, but it can help infants sleep better and longer by combining a night light, red light therapy, a sound machine, a cool-mist humidifier and aromatherapy in one functional tool.
3. The Anywhere Chair
Coming in several different styles, colors and fabrics, the Anywhere Chair by Pottery Barn Kids would be the perfect gender-neutral gift to add to a new baby’s nursey or an older child’s bedroom. As one of the brand’s top sellers and their number one gift of the year, the chair is sure to be a fan favorite for any little one in your life.
4. UGG Bixbee Booties and Blanket Set
This super-soft set of terry cloth booties and a satin-trimmed blanket by UGG would delight any baby and parent. Its vanilla-white hue also makes it a luxurious yet practical gender-neutral gift option.
5. Jellycat stuffed animals
The UK-based line of ultra-soft stuffed animals, Jellycat, has made a name for itself as one of the world’s favorite collection of plushies. With almost every animal on offer from elephants to sloths, Jellycat’s stuffed toys are sure to make any baby’s face light up this holiday.