Oprah's Extravagant Baby Gifts Are A Bold Power Move

Oprah Winfrey at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Oprah Winfrey at Harry and Meghan’s wedding.
Image: Getty

The forthcoming arrival of Harry and Meghan’s royal offspring has provided the world with an important reminder: Oprah Winfrey absolutely trounces everyone else on earth at giving baby gifts.


At a recent red carpet event, Oprah—who is currently working on a Netflix series about mental health with Harry—told Access Hollywood that, “I have a standard gift that I do, for people that I really care about. So, I don’t know the baby’s name, or the baby’s gender. But this baby will have enough books to last a lifetime.” Basically, Oprah is not only the aunt who gives books—she’s the aunt who gives an entire library.

Vanity Fair went looking for more detail on this standard gift, and boy, did they find it:

The best clue may be from Mindy Kaling, who gave birth to a daughter in December 2017. In an interview with USA Today while the pair was promoting A Wrinkle in Time, Kaling talked about the extremely extravagant gift she got from Oprah: a hand-carved bookshelf engraved with her daughter’s name, filled with 100 personalized books. The gift was so large that it needed to be delivered in a U-Haul.

“There’s no evidence that Oprah has given out hand-carved bookshelves to any other new parents in her friend group, but it seems to track with her statement that books will be involved,” Vanity Fair added.

My standard gift—an L.L. Bean boat tote filled with small necessities like baby Motrin—seems like much, much less of an MVP move.

Expectant mothers Oprah didn’t even know were the beneficiaries of her largesse in 2004—the same season of her show where she famously gave away cars. In a different episode, she and Cindy Crawford went to Fort Campbell, in Kentucky, and threw the “world’s biggest surprise baby shower” for 640 women who’d gotten pregnant after the 101st Airborne returned from Iraq. They all received products recommend by Crawford and other celebrity moms.

Of course, when your standard gift is an entire small library, you have to do something extra-special for your best friend. And in fact, when Gayle King gave birth, Winfrey gave her the paid-up services of a full-time nanny.


A baby shower is not a contest, but Oprah Winfrey wins every baby shower.

Senior Editor at Jezebel, specializing in books, royals, romance novels, houses, history, and the stories we tell about domesticity and femininity. Resident Windsor expert.



I have SERIOUS THOUGHTS about baby gifts.

1) Please, for the love of Goldblum, do not give stuffed animals as a baby present. New parents/babies have no use for them, and as children progress through childhood they acquire so many that they can be used to stuff furniture. (There is actually a stuffed animal storage product which is basically an empty bean-bag shell meant to be filled with 100-200 stuffed animals.)

2) Most new parents are overwhelmed, exhausted, hungry, and have to-do lists longer than their laundry mountain is tall. To that end, I do the following: a) Bring fully prepared food with lots of fresh vegetables. b) Before I drop off the food, I text and get their grocery and Target lists. Then I bring the groceries and Target items. c) When delivering the meal, I offer to hold the baby while the new parents nap and shower. While they are napping, I wear the baby in a carrier and do laundry and dishes. I look around the house for obvious tasks which need to be done, the the parents are too busy taking care of a newborn to get to. Things like burnt-out lightbulbs needing to be replaced, etc. Then, when the parents are done napping and showering, I leave so they don’t have to do the work of hosting a guest.

3) If the new parents aren’t local, consider paying for housecleaning services or a post-partum doula. Go in with friends and share the cost if your budget is smaller, maybe? Also consider laundry services - more affordable than you might expect!

I can’t count the number of friends who told me that as much as they loved the toys and books others gave them, the best gift they received was my time and help. You remember who was there for you when you were in the shit.