Babies, that is. Or at least it seems as though the little screamers are being born in my crowd constantly. And I'm sure you have your own fecund group, demanding gifts for their newborns.
Of course, you're not buying for the baby. The baby is barely beyond amoeba and can't even SEE what you've given it for months yet. You're buying a gift for the parent. While there's endless registry items to choose from, on occasion something more personal is required (anyone can charge a Bugaboo Frog). Something that's unusual, quirky, and brings a smile to parent and baby alike.
Like a letter from artist Susan Arena's "Joe's Alphabet." Originally a series of 24 paintings (one for each letter, duh) and painted in honor of her son Joe's arrival, Arena transformed her canvases into gorgeous, affordable prints for baby's room. Arena's themes are mostly animals, but resonate with a sense of mystery and menace rather than mere cuteness (sort of like childhood itself). Match a letter up with Baby's first or last name. Frame it or don't. They look great virtually anywhere; I have one (the letter "E," featuring a very demure and retiring elephant) on my daughter's bedroom door. The only downside is you'll have to wait until you know the kid's name to make your choice. But don't worry; the baby will never know the gift was late.
Go to www.susanarena.com to check out all the letters from A to Z.