Quick Holiday Gifts for 12-24 Month-Olds


gifts for toddlerI fell into the trap of buying too much for Gordon’s first Christmas. I knew better, but, I still couldn’t resist buying the toys, the clothes, the books, the stuff … and after the seventh unwrapping (which his Dad did), I looked at the boxes and Gordon rolling in the paper and said, “He really did just need the wrapping paper, didn’t he?” 

For this age group, my advice is to choose one or two gifts, because it’s not about remembering that perfect present when you’re just rolling across the floor or waddling down a hallway. But, I know sometimes we love the giving of the gifts, and need some ideas for friends and family who also love to give. Even if that means giving something they will grow into. 

Here are my go-to categories for my 18-month-old this year.  

Something to Wear Outside 

Winter play outside is good for the soul. But, it can get chilly for littles under two. This one-piece and two-piece base layers are my favorites for keeping their little bodies warm, without having to wear bulky clothing under a waterproof snowsuit.

Headgear that covers the noggin, neck and face in one-piece? Yes, please! This balaclava (face mask) is my go-to ‘hat’ because it wicks away moisture (win!) and keeps their little necks and cheeks warm while covering their heads (triple win)! While it’s too large for one year-olds, it’s something they can grow into by the age of two.

Mittens that STAY ON can make or break an outdoor experience. While these toddler and baby fuzzy fleece mittens are not waterproof (3M thinsulate are my favorites for that) — littles can easily figure out how to put them on (score!) and keep their fingers warm. They make for an easy stocking stuffer, too! 

What’s as bad as cold fingers? Frozen toes! Before tightening those winter boots, I grab a pair of wool socks (another great stocking stuffer) to keep those wiggly toes warm. While I love SmartWool, these socks are another affordable option that wick moisture and provide great warmth. Just know they are thick so they can make boots fit tight.

Finally, think ahead to our muddy spring and dirty summer … snow pants are just too much material and too warm. Carhartt canvas overalls will save their clothes! Easy to pull-on, pull-off and keep their bodies dry — and wash up beautifully! On warm summer days, I just strap on a diaper, put on the overalls and get outside.

Something New To Read

I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of reading to children (language development, imaginary play, cultural awareness), so books as gifts is always a good idea. 

For 12-24 month-olds, Usborne (somebody’s usually hosting an online party) has awesome touch ’n feel books for sensory development, but these Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot books are my recent favorite. Texture, sound, and cause-and-effect make it engaging for 18 month-olds. 

This year, I’m gifting a cookbook for toddlers and including some ingredients to make on Christmas Day. Kids love to eat food that looks fun, and this book will give us time together in the kitchen throughout 2021.

Something to Ride 

This age is active! Toddlers are either trying to find their feet, or have found them but need to find their balance! Something to push (like a sit-to-stand learning walker) or ride on toy (like this) can give them to boost to stay moving and build their confidence.

If you have the room and it’s in-budget, this Up & Down Roller Coaster combines a ride-on toy and slide in one. Our boys play on it for hours. We also love any slide for indoor winter play. It promotes balance, coordination and turn-taking (if there’s more than one kid!).

We’ll be gifting our son a balance bike this year to work on gross-motor skills with hopes of skipping training wheels in a few years. Plus, who doesn’t want to ride a bike indoors this winter?? I’ve also looked at the Strider bike with rocking bases and even heard 12 month-olds can make use of it (a rocking horse and bike in-one!).

Something to Stuff the Stocking

For families who celebrate with stocking stuffers, 12-24 month-olds may enjoy toothbrushes (teething toys), bath bombs, shaving cream (for bath sensory time), bubbles for Spring (always a hit) and yogurt bites … but really, just tissue paper will be exciting to rip and tear, rip and tear. Throw a roll of toilet paper in there if it fits (or don’t, in case the stores run out again…!)

The list of gifts can get really long if I’m not mindful of what I’m giving and why I’m giving it. Kids will remember how we made them feel during the holiday season rather than what they got, so let’s make our gifts count. What’s on your list and why are you giving it? I want to hear them in the comments below!

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Marnie and her husband, Brent — Minnesota natives and high school sweethearts — call Rochester home with their two boys, Gordon (born June 2017) and Crosby (born July 2019). A stay-at-home Mom, Marnie finds herself babbling, giggling and singing like a baby all while teaching her sons how to grow. To stay sharp and connected, Marnie freelances for marketing communication services where she exercises her brain in new ways. A passionate do-it-yourselfer, she finds herself behind a pair of safety goggles, prepping for wood, tile and art projects. Marnie loves designing spaces and shopping for home decor and her pantry is full of homemade canned goods. Her happy place? Up North at their family cabin on Lake Carlos near Alexandria.