Wednesday, November 30, 2016

10 Gift Ideas for Kids (That Aren't Toys!)

When we moved there was one natural byproduct of packing up all of our belongings that we loved and which was totally necessary: We purged. We got rid of SO much stuff... probably half of our belongings were donated or tossed into a giant dumpster. Now that Christmas is around the corner, the last thing we want to do is bring in a ton of stuff again. Neither Eric nor I want to get stuck in that rut!

Our children are so blessed with generous family members, and the influx of gifts we get with as many kids as we have can be overwhelming at this time of year. If you're like me and you're wanting a less toy crazy year, then you've come to the right place. Today I'm sharing a plethora of ideas for fun gifts you can get that are not traditional toys which may be tossed in a box or forgotten! That's not to say our children won't receive any toys at all, but the older I get, the more I realize that I would much prefer to make memories than have more things!

So let's get to it - 10 categories and dozens of ideas for great gifts this holiday season!

1. Experience gifts

Why not start with a bang? These are my favorite! Tickets to a show, a weekend getaway with the family - buy an experience for your kids that they will be able to look forward to beyond Christmas Day and that the entire family can enjoy together. The Lion King is coming to our area soon, for example. You could buy a stuffed Simba and attach the tickets to him! Is a Disney on Ice coming up soon? Have a favorite indoor waterpark to spend the weekend at? There are many ways to present the gift in a fun way, but ultimately the real gift is about making memories!

2. Subscription gifts 

Kids love getting mail, and subscription gifts are truly the gifts that keep on giving. There are a ton of magazines that kids love...does your child have a hobby? I bet there's a magazine for that! There are even fun subscription boxes for kids now, or sign them up for a book club. Just remember that you might have to include a little note that explains the gift. One year when we were dating I bought Eric a subscription to TIME magazine, and he thought the whole gift was a single magazine wrapped in a red ribbon, haha.

3. Membership gifts

Okay, so maybe this one is my favorite! If your family has a favorite local spot, then you should consider getting a membership to enjoy some perks all year round. The zoo, an aquarium, an amusement park, a children's museum - what a great way to encourage more memory making. Perhaps this is something you wouldn't ordinarily shell out the extra cash for, but this could be a much better value than a toy that may be forgotten in a few weeks. Our children might be receiving annual passes to Six Flags this year. Ho ho ho....

4. Something fun for their room

I love gifts that are fun but also practical! An anywhere chair or beanbag, furniture, or even fun new bedding or pillows. Our kids got new comforters one year and you would have thought they won the lottery! Would your kids love a giant wall decal of their favorite character? And can you stomach that? Haha. Grace wants a lava lamp this year. I think she might just get one!

5. Fun clothes or accessories 

I'm not talking regular clothes, though some of your older kids might actually appreciate that! I mean something a little out of the ordinary or extra. All of my kids are getting new bathrobes and slippers this year, for example. I think they will love them! But also included in this category would be a jersey or hat from your kid's favorite sports team, or even a purse or cute tote for the girl in your life that you know would appreciate it. If it's for a little girl, the more sparkles the better!

6. Hobby equipment 

Sports gear, a tumbling mat, new paints or art materials, an instrument - encourage your kid's hobbies this year! Some of these things can be quite expensive and/or not something you would buy ordinarily, but they would make very special gifts. Only...if you decide to get your child a new drum set or something, don't come after me in January, okay? :)

7. Gift baskets

We see these all of the time at auctions and we think to give them as gifts for adults, but there are so many things you could put together in a gift basket for a child, too. A movie night is always popular, with one or two new movies, a few snacks and popcorn, maybe even a new blanket to cuddle up with. You could get really creative! I love the idea of a "kids spa" basket filled with fun things for the bath. This could even include something like new towels - bonus points if they are personalized. Kids love their names on stuff!

8. Sleepover essentials

Does your child like trips to grandma and grandpa's or staying at a friend's house? A new duffle bag, cool pillows, a sleeping bag, or even a new little suitcase can be both practical and fun. If it's in your child's favorite color, design, or has their favorite character on it you will be golden. And once again, many of these items can be made extra special by being personalized!

9. Jewelry 

Jewelry isn't something we normally think to give to children, but there are some instances where it's totally appropriate. My kids seem to have a special interest in watches. A nice kid watch or one with their favorite character would make a great gift or stocking stuffer. My girls love things with their initial or birthstone. An older child might appreciate nice sunglasses. If you choose to give something that isn't costume jewelry, mom or dad can always keep it aside for special occasions. Kids adore having special things that only come out at special times. Don't forget a jewelry box or keepsake box if they don't have one!

10. Shared Memories gifts

Since we're pretty big on memories around here, I can't forget to include gifts that allow your kids to share memories, or for you to share memories with your kids. A kids camera or even a real one would be a great way for them to document their everyday life. An older child might appreciate a nice journal for them to write their memories down. A photo album is awesome - either empty for them to fill or one that you have already created and put together for them. In this digital age we sometimes forget to print and appreciate our pictures, but my girls LOVE looking through old albums - not on a computer screen, but something that is actually tangible, in their hands. Maybe this year you could create photo books for more people than just grandma and grandpa - your kids would love them, too!

I hope this gives you a good starting point for original gift ideas this year! I know I am still very much in the throws of tracking things down for our kiddos. But I am determined to keep this year in check and make sure that we are remembering the real reason for the season.

I didn't think this was possible, but more than ever I am realizing the importance of family and spending time with the ones we's such a short time, after all. Our kids won't remember many of the toys they get years from now, but this year we can create or encourage memories that will last a lifetime!

1 comment:

Stefanie said...

Love these ideas!!


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