how we do gifts for our kids, and a few out-of-the-box ideas

Abby here… thought I’d just start this whole thing off with a cute pic of my two.  I love this, because I see their personalities so much in this photo.

Ohh… and don’t forget to sign up for this weeks World Market gift card giveaway!

But back to the post… Within the next week or so, Jeanne and I will be sharing some gift ideas that we think your friends and loved ones might think are pretty awesome.  But before we go there, I wanted to stop in with how my husband and I do (or sort of don’t do) gifts for our little ones!

The truth is, my children don’t need anything… especially more toys.  For the first time, my 3 1/2 year old is well aware that it is Christmas time  and there will be presents under the tree.  My 15 month old is still oblivious to the whole she-bang.  So… don’t judge me… but we probably won’t get my 15 month any gifts.  I know… GASP.

We were the same when my oldest was a baby.  In fact, I think last year was the first year we actually bought him a gift, and if I remember right it was a Lego flashlight.

Now don’t get my wrong.  I really love buying gifts.  If I could I would drown my friends and family with gifts they would love.

But back to the kids.  I buy those little ones things they need (and sometimes want) ALL THE TIME.  When they are little enough and more interested in a cardboard box than what is actually inside it… I say run with it.

But then they start growing up, and they become very aware of this whole gift receiving business.  Even though it can be shocking how greedy small 3 year olds can be, I’m pretty excited about buying him a few special gifts this year.  We plan to always keep things simple, because I really don’t want my kids to perceive Christmas to be all about the gifts.

And although I really love stores like Target and such, I’m hoping to steer clear of those places when it comes to gifts for him.  To be honest, I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the exact same toys we have purchased from Target at a thrift store for a fraction of the price.  Not to mention, I am so over plastic toys!

But Christmas is still almost a month away and I haven’t figured out what I’ll get him.  Once I figure it out I’ll be sure to share!

In the meantime, I thought i’d share a few gift ideas for little ones that are little out of the ordinary.

  • Give a memory.  Maybe you could give a toddler 2 tickets to the zoo.  Now I know, a toddler might not understand that 2 pieces of paper will translate into a special date to see lots of animals, so maybe throw in a stuffed zebra to hold them over.  All I know is my kids are much more likely to remember trips to the park or making cookies with grandma over what gift they may have received last year.
  • Make a book.  For my son’s 3rd birthday I made him a personalized ABC book with all pictures of him.  I had a groupon from MyPublisher to get it printed, and the whole thing ended up costing less than $20 including shipping.  Quick note: I was planning on doing a detailed post on this ABC book this afternoon, but it turns out the special place I put the book to keep the baby from ripping the pages out is super special, because I can’t remember.  Boo! I will find it!
  • DIY something.  I made this large “ruler” by loosely following this tutorial for measuring my boys’ height, and my 3 year old really loves it in his room.
  • Pinterest is full of tutorials for doll houses and homemade play kitchens.  Getting creative will not only save money, but you will end up with something much more meaningful!
  • Perhaps your looking for a gift for a baby… Diapers! While they may not be all that exciting, I guarantee the parents will be thankful.  Not to mention the baby won’t notice!  On a slightly different note, with our first child we didn’t use cloth till he was a little older.  One of the showers some friends threw for us was a “diaper shower” where folks just brought diapers.  It was AMAZING and I didn’t have to buy diapers for months.
  • Purchase lessons for a child… the gift that keeps on giving!  Maybe you are looking for a gift for a boy who loves soccer.  Bless him (and his parents) by covering the cost to join the soccer team.  Same goes for ballet, piano, karate, gymnastics etc.  It would also be nice to buy a a child a pass to a local children’s museum.  Think outside the box!

And don’t let shopping stress you out.  There’s no reason to suck all the joy out of Christmas time over stressing over gifts!  Keep it simple and spend the holidays enjoying your friends and family!

How do you do gifts for your kids?  Do you have a method to the madness?

-Abby

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