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Maybe an experience, like a membership to the zoo, aquarium etc. that way you can go plenty of times and hey have more fun there then with more toys.
We sent deployed soldiers hampers in our daughter's name. If we owned instead of renting, we maybe would have planted a tree for her. First birthdays are hard!
Seeing as he won't know you haven't given him an actual present, maybe put some money in a bank account for him. Or donate to a worthy cause like SIDS and Kids.
I got my son a subscription to a baby book club. He gets a book each month and as I renew the subscription tjey continue to send age appropriate books. He is 5 now
We got our son an anatomically correct doll for his first birthday. He loves it, and carries it around with him. We also love it because it's great to teach him body parts with. He points to the doll's belly and then his own belly, And his eye and the doll's eye (he's 13 months)
We also gave him a few books. I don't think kids can have enough books!
I got my eldest a ball pit for her bday and a plastic tricycle. Both items she loved and were able to be passed down to her younger siblings.
Some coloured pencils, a colouring book, snacks they could eat (sultanas, nuts, crackers). We kept it simple.
I got my son a themed party which cost $1200 inc cakes and one was a smash cake and a trip to Disneyland 6mths later
I just bought my niece a really funky money box. I like the idea of a zoo membership for a year too