Gifting for an infant can be a little tricky, you want to help out the family but you also can't help but get the cute little outfits and fun toys. When Michael was a newborn we got four of the same outfits all in the same size..... what were the odds! Honestly we had clothes for days... too bad they were only for the 0-3 month days :) Who could blame them?? All those small clothes are so much cuter than the big stuff. Definitely had to do some returning and exchanging. So here are some things that I think are great infant gifts!!
Why bonds? Well because it is low risk, you can get them in fairly reasonable denominations starting at twenty dollars up to five thousand. So you really don't need a ton of money to make an investment for the little guy or gal. The only downside is that after December, 2011 they won't be issuing paper bonds any longer (i.e. you cant just go to the bank and purchase a bond you will have to purchase them on the internet and print out a "certificate").
Well this is on my christmas list and to be quite honest I really should have asked for this from the get go, a convertible carseat (5lbs-65lbs), front strap adjusters (comes in soo handy) and cup holders. We had gotten a graco travel system as a gift but unfortunately my son is already too tall for it and getting him in and out without easy access to adjusting the straps is really a pain. These big ticket items can be a little pricey and unexpected (I didn't even think about him outgrowing his car seat! I thought that was a one time deal). Christmas for the baby doesn't really need to be "for the baby"... as long as there is something wrapped in paper you are doing good.
If you rather buy toys think about age approproiateness. Usually the 1yr toys don't work for 4 month olds. If you need a little help check out http://www.ebeanstalk.com/ its a great site that has ratings and awesome toy ideas! My son is 6 months and is obsessed with his baby einstein bouncer and any sort of rattle/teether.
My best advice is to ask mom and dad what they need. Mike and I are trying to focus on saving for baby Mike's college education so family members have been sending cash or bonds. Buying for baby can be pretty easy but you want to get something that baby, mom or dad will find useful and you don't know the family situation so just ask!