It may seem a bit early to be discussing Christmas shopping, but we have less than 100 days until the kids are opening gifts. That being said, I’m not here to talk about how I shop for my own kids. Every year I have at least 10 different people asking me for a list of things/ideas to get my kids. It’s super hard to give out a different list to each person, because my kids do not need that many toys. Everyone wants to get toys for them, when it’s a complete waste of money. I understand wanting to get them something tangible, something that they can see and get excited over in front of you. So, in order to accomplish both I have a few ideas.
This is something that I wish more people did for my kids. If you want to get them something, have it be an experience. Whether it’s a day with you at the park, a trip to a museum, tickets to the zoo (which is still open in the winter), or anything like the above. They love going to places like this, yet it doesn’t happen very often for various reasons. Be the reason that they get to do something outside of their routine.
2. Art Projects
If you want to get them a “toy” get them something that they can create. There are so many different options for both boys and girls of all ages. My oldest is into robots and I found a build-a-robot kit at a craft store. You better believe I have that bad boy stashed away for Christmas. It may not be a fancy robot, but it will get her started on her dream of building them. My toddler loves to paint. Please be mindful of ages, and don’t get a 2 year old, real paint. Crayola has some awesome options for painting with little ones. Or better yet, take them to a pottery painting studio. This will combine the first two ideas into one!
3. Future season clothing
Kids are expensive! They outgrow clothes constantly, and it adds up no matter where you buy from. Give the gift of clothes that they can wear for the rest of the winter or even in the Spring/Summer. Just be sure to ask about sizes first, and be specific with parents. Sizes vary depending on brands.
4. Night Out
This may be more for the parents, but the kids won’t care 😉. Give them a gift card for a place you will take them out one evening. Go ahead and get it scheduled with the parents beforehand and you can put the time and date on the tickets/gift card. That way the kids can do a countdown to their big night out.
5. If you must get a toy
There’s nothing wrong with getting toys, in all honestly. But there are a lot of toys that are pointless and a waste that my kids have been given. Many times those items end up at a consignment or donation center before New Year’s or at least before February. Whether you like it or not, I don’t teach hoarding and my kids have learned/are learning that if you don’t use it someone else will. Work with others and get something with many different parts. For example, if the parents are getting a play kitchen. Offer to get the play food, or a table and chairs, or even little aprons and oven mits. Kids love to pretend play, and these are toys that will be used over and over for years. If everyone pulls together to get bigger items, it will cost less for all of those involved.
Don’t be afraid to ask specific questions. Though, remember if you do ask those questions, stick with the answers given. If you don’t like what the parents are telling you, you do not have to give a gift at all. It’s not a requirement to give my kids gifts, and they know that. I remind them every year that Christmas is not about gifts. If you want to get them something but cannot afford anything, slap a bow on your head and come spend some time with them. Just be prepared for a lot of playing! I would like to state that again: my kids would rather spend time with you than get a toy that will end up in the donation box a month after the holidays.
Let’s start teaching our kids that people and relationships are more important than a “popular for the moment” toy.