The Best First Birthday Gifts That Aren’t Toys

With two kids, both of whom have a slew of friends, I’ve been buying up milestone birthday gifts like nobody’s business. It seems like there’s a birthday party (or 10) every weekend around these parts lately.  I love coming up with creative and unique gift ideas for milestone birthdays. My favourite milestone birthday of them all is the first birthday.

Since my youngest son just celebrated his first birthday, I revisited some of my favourite first birthday gift ideas. My kids get enough toys for their birthdays, so I like to find non-toy gifts for them that they’ll actually love. Here are a few 1st birthday gifts I’ve purchased for my kids (and others!) that were truly loved and used to no-end.

Growth Chart


Land of Nod growth chart, starting at $49

A personalised growth chart is the perfect first birthday gift, because the birthday kid is probably just starting to stand and maybe even walk. It is a great time to start charting yearly or bi-yearly measurements. Plus, they are so cute, right? There are so many gender neutral options as well, and my favourites are from The Land of Nod.

Personalised Doll from Sophie & Lili

handmade customized doll from sophie and lill

Sophie & Lili dolls, starting at $20

I think both boys and girls alike would love a personalised doll from Sophie & Lili. What I love about giving them as a first birthday gift is the doll would look like the child as a one year old, and then as they grow they continue to play with and carry around their doll, which is actually themselves when they were much littler. This is also a great gift for bigger kids, too.

Personalised Storybook


I See Me personalized books, $34,99

What kid doesn’t love to see their name and read about themselves in a favourite book or adventure? I got this personalised book from I See Me! for my Calvin for his first birthday, and it is adorable and incorporates his whole name in a very educational and creative way. It makes such a great and affordable gift idea!

First Birthday Crown

opposite of far crowns

Opposite of Far Crown, $20

Customise a crown with a name or number for a child’s first birthday with one of these adorable crowns from one of my favourite makers, Opposite of Far. A crown also make for some cute birthday photos if you put it on your little one for their cake smash!

Customised Memory Box

palomas nest memory box

Paloma’s Nest memory box, $78

I find that the grandparents often want to get a gift that is meaningful and personal. The memory box from Paloma’s Nest is perfect! It is a beautiful heirloom that you can use to collect memories and treasures, like a snippet from baby’s first haircut, your child’s first tooth, their hospital bracelet, and anything you like over the years. I have one for both of my sons, and they are such a treasure.

Personalised Superhero Cape

pip and bean superhero cape

Pip and Bean Superhero Cape, starting at $32

While a one year old won’t understand or even wear the cape right away, he or she will be ready for one soon enough, especially if they have an older sibling. Plus, what is cuter than your little one in a cape and a diaper? They make for some adorable photos. I love how Pip and Bean make them fun for both girls and boys, and you can customise them with just an initial or their whole name.

First Book of Names and Faces

pinhole press book of names and faces

Pinhole Press Big Book of Names and Faces, starting at $29.99

I love the idea of creating a book of important people and things in a child’s life, and Pinhole Press has the perfect option in their Big Book of Names and Faces. This is especially wonderful if you live far away from loved ones.

What are your favourite first birthday gift ideas?

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