Toys can be wonderful, but they can also be a mother’s nemesis when they begin to take over the home and end up stabbing you in the foot on the daily. A common practice in many family homes’ is the Gift of Four: 1. Something they want 2. Something they need 3. Something to wear 4. Something to read. Just a reminder for the young ones especially, if you’re going to give toys, try to go for things that encourage the imagination and physical activity, meaning staying away from battery operated ones, screens, and stationary toys. If you are up for something completely different, here are some meaningful gift ideas for children that are not toys.
How about the gift of music? Places like Musicology offer classes that can be purchased as a gift. Opportunities like this also offer the added bonus to build in bonding time for you and your little one. You could also consider dance, yoga, or even swim classes, to name a few.
Tickets to local attractions
We are so fortunate to have great places for kids to explore like Odysea, The Musical Instrument Museum, The Children’s Museum, and more. You could also consider tickets to the symphony, or a play at ASU Gammage for older children (Mamma Mia! is showing through the month of December).
Start or add to a 529 Plan. It’s time to start saving for that smart kiddo of yours to go to college! Or gift a piggy bank so they may begin to practice the “art” of saving.
Anyone with a child of toddler age and older knows that crafts and activities are your friend! Check out Lakeshore Learning, Michael’s, or any dollar store nearby to stock up on arts and crafts supplies. Jazz it up by creating a personalized storage container for their new materials.
Dress up clothes
This is fantastic for little ones, encouraging imaginary play and hours of delight. You don’t have to buy clothes specifically made for dress up. Have fun pulling from your own closet (think hats, dresses you’ll no longer wear, scrubs, etc.) or check out baby re-sale stores that often have novelty clothing items that were worn once.
Gift of giving
Teach your child about the importance of giving to others by allowing your child to pick out a charity to make a donation to. Or even teach your child to give personally by selecting toys and items that can be donated to those in need. For older children, get them involved by practicing acts of service. There are several local charities that welcome families to volunteer together.
Four legs and a nose
How about a furry friend?! I know it’s so cliche to give a pet for Christmas, but seriously, aside from babies, they’re the cutest! My most memorable Christmas of all was coming downstairs to find out Santa had left me a dog bed for my puppy that was born that month; I cannot recall any other presents I was gifted at Christmas except for this one. There are so many four-legged friends that need forever homes. Check out the Arizona Humane Society, local shelters, or adoption days that can be found most weekends over the month of December at your local big box pet stores.
Hopefully this list inspires and excites you for the joy that these gifts will bring your littles (and you!).
From my family to yours, wishing you the happiest of holidays!