The holidays can be a stressful time of year. Cooking and party planning can create logistical nightmares. Traveling to meet friends and family can become an ordeal. For new parents, the stress of the holidays is often more extreme. A new baby means new routines, increased travel difficulties and less sleep. But the right gift can help alleviate that stress. Here are some gift ideas to help the new parents in your life have a happy holiday season.
*Taking Care of the Basics
During the first few months after the baby is born, parents can get overwhelmed due to a lack of time, energy and sleep. You can alleviate the resulting stress by helping them take care of basic things around the house, like groceries and cleaning. Prepare meals for them that can be frozen and reheated when needed. As an added convenience, divide the meal up into two-portion sizes.
If you are not a cook, buy the new parents a gift certificate to a local grocery or a grocery-delivery service. Most grocers will list such services on their website. Look for an in-house service, such as Safeway's, or links to a separate company, such as Peapod.
New parents can fall behind on housecleaning after the birth of a child. If you live nearby, you could volunteer to clean. Alternatively, arrange for a housecleaning service, either in advance of the birth or a short time after. Consider carpet-cleaning services, such as Stanley Steemer, that provide a long-lasting, deep clean, or hire a maid service to clean the entire house or specific rooms, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
*A Quiet Night at Home
New parents cannot go out to restaurants or movies like they did before the baby. But you can help them enjoy a special evening together at home. Netflix offers a range of gift subscriptions to its online library of streaming TV shows and movies, eliminating any need to go pick up a video rental. Similarly, an Amazon.com gift certificate can be used to buy a new DVD or Blu-ray, or to rent something from Amazon's Instant Video library.
Consider buying the new parents a gift basket to go along with the entertainment. Many stores and online retailers offer baskets filled with cheese, chocolates or other treats. You can also help the new parents unwind after a long day by choosing a basket containing the new parents' favorite adult beverages and the appropriate glassware.
When the new parents feel comfortable going out again, give them a memorable date night. Consider the new parents' interests, hobbies and dreams. Perhaps they would like a gift certificate to a new restaurant in town or an old favorite. Or maybe they would like tickets to see a play, comedian or band. If you think they would like to try something new, pay for two spots in a cooking or dance class.
Most spas offer a couple's session that is a perfect stress-reliever for new parents. And, of course, volunteering to baby-sit during the date or arranging for a babysitter will go a long way toward letting the new parents focus on themselves for a few hours.
*Keeping in Touch
Lastly, you can help new parents keep in touch with far-off family members. The Logitech HD Pro C920 allows new parents to chat online in full HD 1080p, and the webcam's dual stereo microphones allow for crystal-clear sound. The Sony Bloggie Live HD camera allows new parents to stream HD video live to your social networks or personal blog, or you can record and upload those videos later.
After a quick setup, the Eye-Fi Connect X2 SDHC wireless flash memory card allows parents to upload 2 to 8 gigabytes of photos to your computer without any cords, plugs or adapters. Also, a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger will eliminate many missed moments.
When buying a gift for new parents, focus on the little things. Your gift can become the extra set of hands new parents need in a moment of stress or exhaustion. It can be the spark that helps rekindle the romance between the parents. Or it can be the glue that brings a distant family together.