baby in a santa hat
Activities, Fun & Games, Baby development, Christmas, KidsZone, Seasonal

The Best Christmas Gifts for a 1 Year Old

Your little festive elf’s first Christmas will be one of the most exciting and memorable times as a parent. However, the fun really begins once your munchkin reaches the tender age of one, becoming more active, and probably a whole lot more curious too. At this stage, Christmas goodies and the festive atmosphere become a lot more interesting for them. Though, they’re at an awkward transitional phase — no longer teeny tiny babes but not yet fully-fledged toddlers. At this age, your child needs a little more stimulation and surprise when it comes to their presents to accommodate their developing brains. So, the question is – what do you buy a one-year-old who has been spoilt rotten in the past 12 months? 

To help make the process easier, and mark this milestone age, we’ve put together a collection of goodies to keep your bub entertained, and feel special, even after the merry season ends. Whether you’re considering an educational toy that will stimulate the senses, a special keepsake, or a cuddly friend – we’ve got you covered! 

Cute baby sat by Christmas tree holding a present and wearing a Santa hat

What Do 1-Year-Olds Need? 

Once 12 months have passed, most babes become like detectives, figuring out the rules of cause and effect – there’s a reason behind them throwing food all over the floor mumma! Therefore, gifting them a toy that allows them to explore concepts a little less messily is often a great starting point. For example, talking toys where they can witness what happens as they drop, bounce, roll or stack are great educational presents. Think bouncy balls, ball runs, cars, and cups that can be stacked together, knocked down and fitted inside each other.  

1 Year Old Christmas Gifts 

Toy gifts 

Playing = learning, and therefore toys make great Christmas gifts for kids, especially at a milestone age of 1-years-old. Our favourites include: 

  • Bath toys  
A selection of bath toys from a rubber duck to a bath toy thermometer

It’s without a doubt that 1-year-olds can get grubby quickly with all their messy little mishaps. And with a bath of full toys, your babe will never want to get out! Bath books are great as they can double up as a bedtime story, helping your little one to unwind even more before snoozing. Whilst the famous rubber ducky is a classic, go the extra mile and add a certain level of learning to bath time with pouring toys such as cups, funnels and tube runs. Splashing around helps, but such toys will also help to tire your child out, so if you’re lucky enough, bedtime will be a smooth-sailing process with no teary eyes in sight. What better way to gift your little one this Christmas than with a toy that also benefits mummy and daddy too!  

  • Puzzles 

Puzzles are top Christmas gifts for kids – especially 1-year olds. Nope – we don’t mean those ridiculously complex 1000-piece puzzles! Instead, simple wooden puzzles or shape sorters, make for great developmental toys to aid your babe’s problem solving and fine motor skills.  

  • Building blocks 
Happy mum and baby playing with building blocks in front of the Christmas tree

Building blocks are great 1 year old Christmas gifts, as they will also encourage your bub to exercise their fine motor skills. From classic wooden blocks to plastic ones that are all colours of the rainbow – there are so many to choose from! And maybe you can go for building blocks in festive colours and shapes!  

Hours of building-block fun, and with their imagination running wild at this milestone age, what they build will be sure to be amazing! 

  • Musical instruments 

Music plays a huge role in our children’s development. McMaster University in Canada published a study that introducing musical toys to little ones from a very young age can have a considerable impact on their development. And their research also found that 1-year olds who interact with musical activities – smile more, communicate better and show a far more developed brain. So, 1 year old Christmas gifts that are music-related are a no-brainer really!  

Keep their little hands busy with the colourful instrument that is the Xylophone. It makes for a great first music toy, and it promotes the understanding of cause-and-effect whilst giving their motor skills practice. Or go for a percussion set featuring rattles, bells, maracas and rainbow shakers. Not only will this be super fun for them, but it’ll also develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They can jingle and shake them about to their own improvised rhythm – and who knows – maybe they can even start a band with their little buddies at play dates!  

  • Cuddly friends
Cuddly elephant, bunny and teddy toy placed in a nursery

Not so much a learning curve but a great helping hand nonetheless – a soft, cuddly stuffed friend makes for a sweet present. Getting your little rebel to sleep can be a task in itself. Cuddly toys will become a fantastic companion for your cherub. And you can even get ones that come with white and pink noise features to help lull your babe to sleep – like Mia from myHummy. A present like this is sure to help your child fall into a peaceful slumber. Not only is this the cutest gift for your angel, but it’s also a present for mummy and daddy too! You may get some well-deserved rest now your little one has a buddy to help them snooze.  

  • Dolls 

Gifting your little one with dolls is a great chance for bonding, and if you’re on the hunt for 1 year old baby girl Christmas gifts – this is the one! If your cutie is really showing an interest in dolls, you may also want to get some accessories to go with the dolls. For example, a stroller, a few different outfits, nappies or a bottle. Chances are you’ll have to get stuck in too with caring for the doll, to show your sweetheart how it’s done. This in itself is a great chance to bond with your child, especially if you’re planning on adding another babe to the family soon! 

Activity gifts 

  • Play area 

What better way to celebrate Christmas than giving your tot their very own play area – whether that’s an activity centre or activity gym – they’ll have endless fun either way! With many different variations, for example, a ball pit and trampoline, your bub will be sure to have endless fun, all-year-round. A gift like this will aid your sweetheart through all stages of development. The ball pit will strengthen those teeny, tiny muscles, whilst the trampoline will help their balance. Once they’re strong and can hold their balance, they can jump about freely, without the safety handlebar – yay!  

  • Balance bikes and tricycles 
Mum helping little boy in helmet on his balance bike

If your babe is already walking, it may not be long before they’re ready for their first set of wheels. And there’s nothing more delightful than giving your child the gift of two-wheeled independence. It’s not always easy to nail it the first time. However, balance bikes will make it all the easier, and plus it’s a super cool present to gift a 1-year-old with! And if you’re looking for Christmas gifts for a 1-year-old boy, you could even buy a mini motorcycle. Trust us – your little boy will love zooming around on this!  

Balance bikes and tricycles make for fab presents as they will stand the test of time, especially if you pick one that can convert into a proper bike when they’re older. And if they’re not quite at this stage yet, a ride-on toy like a rocking horse is a great alternative.  

Unique gifts 

  • Subscription 

Gifting your bub a subscription is a thoughtful way to spread out the gift of giving over a specific period of time. Most subscription services let you build your own bundle and you’ll be in control to subscribe for as little/long as you’d like. From toys to crafts, there is something for every little one out there! Whether you go for The Little Sensory Box’s playbox to help with your cherub’s development or something to help them snooze at night with Bookabees books – this Christmas gift will be one that keeps on giving!  

  • Keepsake 
Little girl sat on vanity table looking at jewellery

Whilst it may not be used daily, a trinket can be a lovely reminder of your sweetheart’s first year. You could gift them with an engraved Christmas decoration, music box, jewellery box, or a silver coin for their birth year. These are all perfectly sentimental presents to gift your bub with.  

  • Invest in their future 

If you’re really struggling with Christmas gifts for kids, especially at their milestone age of 1 years old, give them something that will benefit them later in life. A smart gift could be to open a savings account for your little one. Whilst it may not be as fun as a toy would be, it’s definitely something that they’ll thank you for in the future. And, over time, it may even build up into a nice lump sum, that you can gift them with on another milestone birthday like their 18th or 21st!  

From educational toys to unique subscriptions, your little one will be spoilt for choice this Christmas! Remember that the festivities, especially with a 1-year-old babe, are all about making a lifetime of memories. And Santa showering your cutie with any of the Christmas gifts for kids above will be sure to deliver them a very merry Christmas! Ho ho ho – Merry Christmas!  

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