The words we hear most often from the women we feature are these four: “It takes a village.” Sharing our hard-earned, well-researched, trial-and-error motherhood wisdom and experiences with each other, whether it be about potty training or new mom essentials, is one meaningful way we can create more time and less stress in all of our lives. That’s why we are so excited to introduce THE LIST, where we invite in-the-know mamas to share their tried-and-true tips for everything from the best gifts for little ones, hand-picked by a cult-favorite designer (see below!), to the best healthy snack ideas straight from a best-selling cookbook author. We like to think of THE LIST as a customized, painstakingly crafted mama cheat sheet written just for you. 

For our first installment of THE LIST, we turned to the lovely Jessie Randall, of beloved accessories brand Loeffler Randall, to share her go-to gifts for the little ones in her life. For any mom who panics when that Paperless Post kid’s birthday party-invite pops up, this guide is for you. Here, Jessie shares her gift-giving secrets and top 26 favorite ideas for littles—from newborn to age nine.

Jessie’s Gift-Giving Secrets…

THE GLOW: You have three kids which means you attend countless kids’ birthday parties each year—what is the first thing you consider when looking for a gift for a child?

JESSIE RANDALL: “If the child is a baby, then I’m going for something that I love and that the mom will love; something chic and elegant and beautiful to look at. Once the kids get older, I have to think about what THEY actually want and I can’t just gift incredibly beautiful wooden toys anymore. I like to gift things that inspire creative play since I think that’s so important. Also, kids love experiences and parents love when kids get an experience vs. yet another piece of junk. I like to offer to take the child out to the movies, a climbing gym, ice skating. Think of something your child or the child you’re gifting to will enjoy doing.”

TG: What are your thoughts on getting clothes as gifts for kids?

JR: “I think it’s an age thing, and also a preference thing. My daughter would probably love to get a special fashion item as a gift but my boys would be bummed out by it. I remember one Christmas where my parents got every present for my brother and me from Lands End. Getting five turtlenecks from Lands End is not an exciting gift for an eight year old. And if you are gifting clothing to an older child, I think a gift card is the way to go so they can choose.”

TG: What are your thoughts on store bought vs. handmade gifts for kids?

JR: “Handmade gifts are always the most special. One time I knit matching hats for Harry and two of his little friends. I love taking the time to make something special like that. But again, once the kids get older they really want the Lego Batman more than the painstakingly sewn Liberty quilt.”

TG: Do you generally include a handmade or store bought card?

JR: “I like to have the kids make the cards. It’s more special that way; and then I get to see their impossibly cute handwriting in action.”

TG: How do you balance your desire to get something cool/unique vs. something a kid will actually love?

JR: “It’s always the inner struggle right? Do you get something you love? Or something you know they will love? I think in the end, while difficult, it’s always better to get a gift the child actually wants. It’s not a gift for you! It’s for them. (That’s why I highly recommend the Pokemon figurine collection and carrying case gift because it’s a slam dunk.) But that said, cool and unique gifts are usually big hits!”

TG: With your own kids, what is your approach to buying toys for them and how do you deal with the inevitable clutter?

JR: “For Christmas, we try to get each child one nice bigger gift, and I try to hand-make them each one gift, and then we try desperately to keep the junk to a minimum but it’s always a struggle. My kids always want stuffed animals above anything else and we are swimming in them at this point!”