I’ve been wanting to do a post about Christmas presents for kids for a while now. Problem is that each child has their own quirks and preferences, we all have own budgets, and who knows which child has what, so these lists are usually not particularly helpful. Instead, I’m going to let you know how we make our Christmas lists for our kids.
We usually give our children lots of little things for Christmas. The big things are left for birthday presents during the year. This list is just to give you some ideas, if you think of anything to add, please leave a comment to let us all know!
We divide the presents into categories and try to get something from a few different categories.
Something educational. This could include things like puzzles, word-search books, books – including chapter books, picture books, where’s wally or spot that books (you get the idea). I personally love books for gifts 🙂 There are heaps of good kids board games that are educational, check out places like Australian Geographic for science experiment kits, solar system charts and models, world globes, maps etc. Try a hobby shop for model building. Maps and educational posters can be good too. Also consider reference books. Many years ago, we picked up an animal reference book from kmart for $9. 8 years later, my son still pulls that book out to look through it. Choose ones that have pictures and text that is simple enough for your child, but not so simple that they will grow out of it within the year. Role play toys for the young ones are great too, like doctor kits, dress ups. You could also buy a cookbook and give homemade vouchers for cooking lessons which involve some one-on-one time with your child. What about an ice cream maker or popcorn maker? You may not think these things are educational, but it teaches them independence and confidence in the kitchen which are important skills to learn. These are great family gifts too, if you prefer to wrap a present for the whole family or even if you have to buy for another family.
Something sporty. Balls, obviously, but think of something your child doesn’t have. Do they like AFL (aussie rules football)? Try giving them a grid iron ball. What about a baseball, glove and bat. That way the whole family can join in! Pop up soccer goals are always good. Roller blades/skates. Skateboard, toboggan, snow gear, gloves, etc., scooter, bike helmet or bike accessories like a new bell or basket. What about water sports, floaties, beach balls, surf boards, body boards, goggles, bathers, beach towels. Maybe your child is starting a new sport in the new year, give them something related to that sport for Christmas.
Music/Computer iTunes cards (you can often find these 20% off, so these work out really economical), you can either pre-download and burn a personalized CD (that way you can censor what the kids are listening too if you need too), or buy a CD for a band/group or a compilation CD. If the budget stretches, mp3 players, musical instruments if they are interested in them. New movies and TV series are great to have on hand for the holiday season. Computer games, depending on what/if they have consuls. Club penguin memberships or other online games if your kids play those.
Quiet entertainment This can include craft supplies, notebooks and a new set of pens/pencils/textas, also, again jigsaw puzzles and many things listed under educational.
Essentials Often Christmas morning is a frenzy of present unwrapping, and the kids want more and more presents to unwrap. I remember that feeling. So we wrap up things that they need like socks/undies, a new outfit, shoes, hats, bed linen, sunglasses, pyjamas, hair accessories, even toothbrushes!! Not exciting stuff, but maybe your child likes a particular sport team, you may choose to buy a cap for that team etc.
Fun We give each child a small amount of money to buy each other a gift. They will often buy a novelty toy for their siblings. Nerf guns, barbies, dress ups. For these types of gifts, I find giving them a store catalogue and let them look through it. See what excites them, and take note. If they are old enough, get them to write a Christmas list. Usually they will note the popular toy of the season – well my kids do anyway! If you are stuck, most toy stores will be able to help you out with what is popular. Things like jewelry for girls falls into this category too.
Experience Some years, we get to Christmas and think, they really do not need or want anything! Buy an experience instead, print something off the computer to put under the tree to represent the experience. Maybe some theatre tickets. Make a night of getting dressed up and going out to dinner first. We did this when Mary Poppins came to Melbourne, Australia, and the kids loved it. Otherwise, you could get a family zoo pass to your city zoo, aquarium or museum. During school holidays, there are many small independent theatres that run productions for kids, and the tickets are usually around the cost of a cinema ticket.
Favourite things A little bag of goodies that they love, like a favourite chocolate, a bottle of bubble for the bath, or a new key ring to hang off their school bag. Maybe a new mug just for them to use with some nice tea or hot chocolate powder. Something little that fills the stocking.
Budget friendly ideas Remember to keep it simple. Look in local thrift stores, and local online buy/swap/sell sites. Many people do a big clean out in preparation for Christmas. Be creative – make vouchers for the kids for cooking lessons, breakfast in bed, home beauty treatments, a play at a playground of child’s choice, followed by a babycino at a local café, give a dvd with a popcorn and milkshake voucher. Make a sewing kit out of your own bits and pieces. If I have clothes that are ready for the bin, due to wear or staining, I always cut off buttons and these are great for craft activities and for sewing kits for the kids. I am finding kmart is really cheap for novelty gifts, and great for things like boards games, dvd’s, appliances, beach towels and cool kids clothes. Check out the reject shop too for some great buys. Make a jar with cookie ingredients layered, and a recipe attached to it, you know the ones often listed as good teacher gifts? Sorry, so many of my ideas come back to food 😉
I hope this has been a helpful for you leading up to Christmas! What are you getting your kids this Christmas?