With the holidays fast approaching, I start to get anxiety over the need for more space. It’s true. With three kids and extended family that like to spoil them with gifts at Christmas, I am constantly having to figure out ways to purge toys and make room for new toys…
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the generosity of others, but too much is too much and has caused me to reflect on ways we can all simplify gift giving for children. I realize the newest toy, or the cutest toy can be irresistable, but there are so many other non-toy gifts we can give! Sometimes it’s the non-toy gifts that have the greatest impact.
Children soon forget about all the toys they got, and most of the time they can’t even remember who they got them from! What children do value is time and memories. I know my child can’t list off the gifts he got last Christmas, but he can give vivid details about our trip to St. Louis over a year ago. Instead of giving toys this year, why not give memories instead?
Here are some great ideas for alternative gifts this year:
1. Gift cards for ice-cream/frozen yogurt. What child doesn’t love picking out their own treats? And you can’t trip over it.
2. Memberships/passes. What are their interests? Get them passes to a local amusement park, mini golf place, museum, YMCA or a membership to the zoo. Colorado is full of awesome places that kids love to visit.
3. Concert Tickets. Find out their favorite bands/music and pick up some concert tickets. What events are coming to the area? Purchase tickets for anything from the circus to the symphony. Lots of ideas to choose from!
4. Recipe/food items. Get them a gift basket full of ingredients to make a favorite meal or dessert. Include the recipe, and offer to come help and spend the afternoon with them.
5. Crafting supplies. Find a fun art project or idea online and purchase the supplies for it. Wrap it up in a box with instructions on how to do it. Maybe even do it together.
6. Outdoor supplies. Get a gardening gift basket, fishing gear, bug catcher. etc. to encourage being outdoors and exploring nature.
7. Books. You can never go wrong with a good book! They are for every interest, genre, and age. My son still reads books he got four years ago, but I can’t say that about toys he got that long ago!
8. Coupon book of 12 one-on-one dates for the year. One coupon a month. The activities don’t have to be expensive or extravagant but should focus on making memories and spending time together. A trip to a favorite ice cream shop. An evening walk or bike ride. An early morning breakfast out when everyone else sleeps.
9. Movie Tickets! Purchase a gift card to your local theater and wrap it up with some popcorn and candy.
10. Gift card to their favorite restaurant, and make it a date night!