I know so many struggle with Christmas gift ideas for families in the NICU so I thought this would be a great topic to cover. Christmas can be a really tough time to celebrate when you don’t feel like celebrating much. My son, Neil, was born 10 weeks prematurely so we spent his first Christmas in hospital. My mum made every effort to still make Christmas special but it was still very low key.

Mummy's Christmas cuddle with her premature baby
Christmas cuddle with my preemie

We went to the hospital in the morning and were overwhelmed by the amount of gifts that surrounded Neil’s incubator. Every available bit of space had gifts! We double checked that everyone had the same and were happy to distribute to others but the nurses assured us all the babies had the same amount. Small businesses and parents who had been on the unit in the past bought in all the gifts. It really helped to make our Christmas Day feel a bit more special. Here are a few of the gifts.

Nappies and cotton balls

Size 0 nappies and cotton balls! These might seem boring to some but they are absolute essentials for a premature baby. Size 0 nappies can be difficult to get hold of, they are the smallest size available and not the most commonly bought in supermarkets so they don’t tend to stock this size in the quantities that they do other sizes. Nappies and cotton balls are basic but fantastic gifts as it felt like a relief to not go hunting for them over the Christmas period.

size 0 nappies and cotton balls
Christmas gift idea: size 0 nappies and cotton balls

Personalised Christmas decorations

Personalised Christmas decorations make fantastic keepsake gifts. Someone took the time to find out all the names of the babies on the unit and personalised gorgeous wooden decorations. Another person made ceramic dove decorations with the year and the neonatal unit details. These decorations meant a lot at the time as we could make the incubator more festive and they have been wonderful additions to our tree at home.

Food parcel

Food parcels for me and my husband were greatly appreciated too. Hot chocolate sets, biscuits and sweets were some of the amazing gifts found in ours. These kept us going on our visits and offering them round to other parents and nurses were great for starting conversations. Also we had meals that we could re-heat which were so helpful.


Books were another great gift. We built up a good little library over the 10 weeks that we were there. If you follow my book of the month blogs and posts you will know the amazing benefits of reading to a premature baby. I have gotten to know these authors and love their books, you can find them on the gift page – click here.

Lisa holding children's books. Photography credit: Vivienne Guy
Lisa holding children’s books. Photography credit: Vivienne Guy

Memory frame/scrap book

A large photo frame or a scrap book. A popular idea is to make a keepsake frame or scrapbook, I know so many parents of premature babies making these a few months after they have left the neonatal unit. They add premature baby nappies, the little hats they wear at the hospital, the hospital ID bracelet, first vests, photographs etc.

If you are still wondering what to get then visit the gift page for a few more Christmas gift ideas or inspiration!

I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and I hope that you are surrounded by the ones you love.